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Jill Jones

Three poems:

This Is Not Dove Cottage / ‘La Vida Loca’ / The Sweet Space

This Is Not Dove Cottage

The house is talking dirty, it’s that time of night
when heat goes off the naked ceiling,
& closer & closer, step by step,
wood gets hold of the plaster,

& it’s better to be with you in Sydney.
My books, sure, are large with lakes & grandeur,
tramping the vale’s good for thinking,
but the heat of your arm is more than thought.

I wish the house would smile,
I wish Wordsworth had
had a sense of humour, or stayed with his
French maîtresse, what was her name — Annette

we could talk then, take our time, lakes are
far from here & air fills with
irregular ticks, you are far from here,
the house fills with dirty noisy cold, somewhere

there’s a joke in this that never made it back
into revolution, bon hiver is
stretching the point,
what is your hand doing over there?

‘La Vida Loca’

‘I wanted to get lost in the city’
someone came up the drive

‘I guess you two know each other’
it’ll take time

we’ll make a long story even longer
going to sleep stretches the night

enjoying the acrobat music
needing to move, ‘to do nothing’

it was a lot of work to finish high school
one day I picked up the phone

I flew to Mexico City
next Friday I debuted in this show

in the first six months I realised
‘talk to me yeah baby’

after the show I hopped a plane, went to Italy
‘like, every woman in history’

living la vida loca
imagine the press release

‘I stopped for a second’
I’ll die and think about those days

I need to play with my dogs
I look in the mirror in a Japanese hotel

what became of the weeklong party?

The Sweet Space

Some days I’m here, some days I’m gone,
stumbling about that sweet space between
rooms, not a castaway, not a trickster
of those early morning dreams
who still accuses another from another
time of leaving the room too early, not
an inscription, grave or plaint
in the moon-myth light I could almost
believe, were I a believer in stars
heisted through a window, a lightfoot
mistaken in time, stronger than shadow
but, all the same, not the same
as I once came in the room,
shouldering some kind of burden, not quite
the truth, the whole story, but this real second,
as divisions merge, as time runs away
with the spoon, the soup, the drug,
whatever’s soothing, to arrange datelines
so you’re out of it
’s calculus of woozy syntaxes, gab fests
covering lies, time passing along the needs
for another story, but one plus one doesn’t get you
one, get you out of here, whatever
they call it, here, meters tick, caskets
are laid, and someone, not me, chucks
a wheelie at the bend, as if the car’s out of control,
which isn’t a sign of anything else,
though the screech is now in the mind,
while I’ve got beyond
what I was saying, which had nothing
to do with where I was going, but look
ahead, there’s expectation wearing its mask,
as if I’m a pedlar of woes, schlepping
the ridgy-didge.

Jill Jones, photo by Pam Brown

Jill Jones, photo by Pam Brown

Jill Jones’ most recent book is Dark Bright Doors (Wakefield, 2010). In 2009 she co-edited, with Michael Farrell, an anthology, Out of the Box: Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets. Her work is represented in a number of recent anthologies including the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature and The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry. She has worked with visual artists, such as Annette Willis and Bruno Leti, on artist’s books, exhibitions and digital projects. Most recently she wrote poems for an installation by sound artists Solange Kershaw and Damian Castaldi, entitled The Memory Pendulum (, as part of the Memory Flows project ( on the Parramatta River in Sydney. currently lives in Adelaide. Her website can be found at her blog, Ruby Street, at

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