I.S. Jones

Self Portrait of the Blk Girl Becoming The Beast

Everyone Thought She Was:

the moon is my first emotion           then beast     then happy rage

 depending on a zealous appetite

i pull bobby pins              from the kitchen of my scalp       tear out nails

one by one     pluck out the lashes             yank docile teeth              

                      fold the skin back by the mouth                          i release my human flesh & night drops

blue wolves circle the block in acute madness

dreaming in gun smoke & new names to pick their fangs clean

the moon sways blood & voices behind yellow eyes,

each of the names bow inside me.

i grin & the moon is an anxious pulse                i, a hungry one

   in overexposure,  the moon could make anything feral

i only eat a macabre light & the night is so sweet on my tongue

     fear makes the blue wolves multiply

the moon rummages through the light of my name like a vagrant beggar

tills the blood in my four-legged body

born non-white & woman, call the thing what it is:

hostile           uppity           neck-rolls        hips without the logic      mean-mugs        vengeful at the root    

but you’ve only known my mercy

a snatched tongue: polite hands: crossed legs: a settled throat: plea and please two hands on the same body

                                   never my unhinged joy

in my first language—the cease of blood before writhing—

the push back

knuckling of bone & sinew             a blue neck caught inside a maw & how each muscle negotiates

before severing

god of the faithful night,                          teach me to lose my mouth in reverie

to laugh in my predator’s blood                    to let it fill my belly

how it trickles                         through the floorboard of my teeth


I.S. Jones is a writer, educator, and hip-hop critic hailing from Southern California. She is a 2016 fellow with The Watering Hole. I.S. Jones has been twice nominated for the Best of The Net Anthology and in 2016 was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  I.S. is very Blk & a lover of love. She is currently Assistant Editor at Chaparral, a literary magazine based in Southern California. She is also editor-in-chief at Upcoming Hip-Hop & is launching a podcast with fellow poet Maria Fernanda Snellings called Descendants of Jasmine. Her works have appeared in The Harpoon Review, Fat City Review, The Matador Review, The Blueshift Journal, SunDog Lit, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Hofstra University.