I.S. Jones

Bed Bug Poem


nothing like waking up / to bedbugs / to remind you / your blood still comes from / a wrathful god / or a petty one / today i crushed the invader / watched its blood / set into a crescent moon / tore the small beast from tusk to tail / its blood some of my blood / its flesh rough / not unlike my own / i killed it / despite its brief rule over my body / i killed it to prove / i wasn’t small myself / despite the truth / that both of our bodies / speak in platelets / red lullabies / how our bodies / come alive / mine from an unearthly glow / yours in the heavy night / you roam / your fangs dragging across my skin / i sleep despite invasion / despite the ghosts / making me into a fun house / i wake to raided skin / a ransacked body / you / did you see me / cower before you / before wrath / a face: one moon with two phases / did you see me / before i sent you packing from yourself / god that i am / kneel before You


after Elizabeth Spire’s “The Snail”

Night Letter


Every dream I have of you ends with your beheading. I grasp my mouth around you & become a grief country of shame, a body that exists at will. I see your face vandalized across the faces of men that stalk the night to become it. Sometimes I think my father was just like you when he was your age. In every dream, I don’t let your force a girl on me because it was for me. I used to move through the world wanting only this: to unknuckle my body every time a man walks by. I called your friend a bitch because he stole my tongue & I let him. I called him a bitch, but was brought to my knees instead. What is there to say for the woman who lets a man take from her because she wanted to be wanted? No matter how brief the glory choked out of her. I wanted a shortcut to heaven so I let your hands about my neck until the light pulled from my eyes. Why are all your interactions with women no different than an invasion? There is a hideous light for the animal desire has made of me. In every dream, I do what I have learned to do best & unsheathe myself. I leave when it’s time to leave. I leave Knowing there is nothing to save. Do you understand? Now because of you I am suspicious of joy. And suspicious of myself.

I.S. Jones is a writer, educator, and hip-hop head hailing from Southern California by way of New York. She is a Graduate Fellow with The Watering Hole, BOAAT Writer’s Retreat, and Callaloo. I.S. is very Blk & loud about her joy. She received an honorable mention from the Academy of American Poets, her work has received two nominations for the Best of The Net Anthology and in 2016 was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. During poetry month in April, I.S. hosts a month-long low cost / free online workshop called “The Singing Bullet”. She has been praised by Rachel McKibbens as a “god-lit marvel”. She is the Assistant Editor at Chaparral and Voicemail Poetry. I.S. is also a Staff Writer at Dead End Hip Hop. Her works have appeared in The Harpoon Review, The Blueshift Journal, SunDog Lit, Matador Review, Wusgood.black,  great weather for MEDIA, Drunken Boat (now Anomaly!), The Shade Journal, the Black Voices Series with Puerto Del Sol, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in 2016. I.S. is running for Poet Laureate of the Moon.