Cover image for Prelude to bruise
Prelude to bruise
Jones, Saeed., author.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Poems. Selections
Publication Information:
Minneapolis : Coffee House Press, 2014.
Physical Description:
xii, 103 pages ; 21 cm
Anthracite -- Insomniac -- Closet of red -- Blue dress -- Isaac, after Mount Moriah -- Pretending to drown -- Boy in a stolen evening gown -- Boy at edge of woods -- Terrible Boy -- Daedalus, after Icarus -- Boy in a whalebone corset -- Boy found inside a wolf -- Boy at threshold -- After the first shot -- Last call -- "Don't let the sun set on you" -- Prelude to a bruise -- Coyote cry -- Jasper, 1998 -- Lower Ninth -- Drag -- Kudzu -- Beheaded kingdom -- Thralldom -- Cruel body -- Thallium -- He thinks he can leave me -- Secondhand (smoke) -- Body & Kentucky bourbon -- Eclipse of my third life -- Guilt -- Sleeping arrangements -- Apologia -- Ketamine & company -- Thralldom II -- Skin like brick dust -- Kingdom of trick, kingdom of drug -- Blue prelude -- In Nashville -- Highway 407 -- Meridian -- Mercy -- Mississippi drowning -- Casket sharp -- Dominion -- Fabulist -- Room without a ghost -- Dirge -- After last night -- Hour between dog & wolf -- Postapocalyptic heartbeat -- History, according to Boy -- Last portrait as Boy.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3610.O6279 P74 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS3610.O6279 P74 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Praise for Saeed Jones:

"Jones is the kind of writer who's more than wanted: he's desperately needed." -- FlavorWire

"This book leaves your body transformed in a way that poetry should." -- ElevenEleven

"I get shout-happy when I read these poems; they are the gospel; they are the good news of the sustaining power of imagination, tenderness, and outright joy." --D. A. Powell

"Prelude to Bruise works its tempestuous mojo just under the skin, wreaking a sweet havoc and rearranging the pulse. These poems don't dole out mercy. Mr. Jones undoubtedly dipped his pen in fierce before crafting these stanzas that rock like backslap. Straighten your skirt, children. The doors of the church are open." --Patricia Smith

"It's a big book, a major book. A game-changer. Dazzling, brutal, real. Not just brilliant, caustic, and impassioned but a work that brings history--in which the personal and political are inter-constitutive--to the immediate moment. Jones takes a reader deep into lived experience, into a charged world divided among unstable yet entrenched lines: racial, gendered, political, sexual, familial. Here we absorb each quiet resistance, each whoop of joy, a knowledge of violence and of desire, anunbearable ache/loss/yearning. This is not just a 'new voice' but a new song, a new way of singing, a new music made of deep grief's wildfire, of burning intelligence and of all-feeling heart, scorched and seared. In a poem, Jones says, 'Boy's body is a song only he can hear.' But now that we have this book, we can all hear it. And it's unforgettable." --Brenda Shaughnessy

"Inside each hunger, each desire, speaks the voice of a boy that admits 'I've always wanted to be dangerous.' This is not a threat but a promise to break away from the affliction of silence, to make audible the stories that trouble the dimensions of masculinity and discomfort the polite conversations about race. With impressive grace, Saeed Jones situates the queer black body at the center, where his visibility and vulnerability nurture emotional strength and the irrepressible energy to claim those spaces that were once denied or withheld from him. Prelude to a Bruise is a daring debut." --Rigoberto González

From "Sleeping Arrangement":

Take your hand out
from under my pillow.

And take your sheets with you.
Drag them under. Make pretend ghosts.

I can't have you rattling the bed springs
so keep still, keep quiet.

Mistake yourself for shadows.
Learn the lullabies of lint.

Saeed Jones works as the editor of BuzzfeedLGBT.

Author Notes

Saeed Jones is the author of the chapbook When the Only Light is Fire (2011, Sibling Rivalry Press). His work has appeared in Best Gay Stories 2013 , Guernica , Ebony Magazine , The Rumpus , Hayden's Ferry Review and West Branch among other publications. Jones received his MFA in Creative Writing at Rutgers University Newark and is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and Queer / Arts / Mentors. He works as the editor of BuzzfeedLGBT and lives in Harlem.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In his debut collection, Jones has crafted a fever dream, something akin to magic. A dark night of the soul presented as the finest of evening gowns, these poems pulse with an elemental sensuality that recalls Rimbaud's "Venus Anadyomene" and the best of Southern Gothic writing. Using a personal symbology of femininity, violence, and the history of black America, Jones weaves a coming-of-age tale that is both terrible and revelatory. The open mouths of flowers become sex organs, screaming faces, and dying lovers. In one poem he juxtaposes a revelatory sexual experience with the coincidental collapse of a nearby building, as "First, a few loose bricks,/ then decades crashed to the street." Here, "there're always more/ corseted ghosts" haunting a land with the constant reminder: "YOU BETTER RUN/ IF YOU CAN READ/ THIS SIGN." The beauty this collection contains is overwhelming, with the potential to drown the reader even as it holds the promise of redemption. "There is a tornado inside," and at every moment it threatens to loose from the page into the world at large and take everything away with it. Solid from start to finish, possessing amazing energy and focus, a bold new voice in poetry has announced itself: "I am not a boy. I am not/ your boy. I am not." (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

In these searing, searching meditations on masculinity, race, and love, poet and Buzzfeed LGBT editor Jones peels back layers of beauty and pain. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Anthracitep. xi
1 Insomniacp. 1
Closet of Redp. 2
The Blue Dressp. 3
Isaac, after Mount Moriahp. 4
Pretending to Drownp. 5
Boy in a Stolen Evening Gownp. 7
Boy at Edge of Woodsp. 8
Terrible Boyp. 9
Daedalus, after Icarusp. 11
Boy in a Whalebone Corsetp. 12
Boy Found inside a Wolfp. 13
Boy at Thresholdp. 14
After the First Shotp. 15
Last Callp. 16
2 "Don't Let the Sun Set on You"p. 19
Prelude to Bruisep. 21
Coyote Cryp. 23
Jasper, 1998p. 24
Lower Ninthp. 28
Dragp. 29
Kudzup. 30
Beheaded Kingdomp. 31
Thralldomp. 34
Cruel Bodyp. 35
Thalliump. 36
He Thinks He Can Leave Mep. 37
3 Secondhand (Smoke)p. 41
Body & Kentucky Bourbonp. 42
Eclipse of My Third Lifep. 44
Guiltp. 45
Sleeping Arrangementp. 47
Apologiap. 49
Ketamine & Companyp. 50
Thralldom IIp. 52
Skin Like Brick Dustp. 53
Kingdom of Trick, Kingdom of Drugp. 54
Blue Preludep. 58
In Nashvillep. 59
4 Highway 407p. 63
Meridianp. 66
Mercyp. 68
Mississippi Drowningp. 69
Casket Sharpp. 71
Dominionp. 72
The Fabulistp. 73
Room without a Ghostp. 74
Dirgep. 75
After Last Lightp. 76
Hour between Dog & Wolfp. 77
Post apocalyptic Heartbeatp. 78
5 History, according to Boyp. 85
6 Last Portrait as Boyp. 99
Notesp. 101
Acknowledgmentsp. 103