Selva Oscura                                                                                                       —Richard Jones

Fond of white shirts, he’d roll up his cuffs
and type all evening at the kitchen table,
tall windows open, the bright summer moon
faulting weak lines and reproving dead ends
as he paced, harried, tired, unable to sleep,
or laid in bed, his mind racing on a pillow,
his eyes always open, the hours rolling by
like trains or tall white ships, like the clouds
of ideas he couldn’t quite get his mind around,
like visions he was too blind to see, even as
his heart of stone was breaking and the light
was cutting a path through the wilderness
to a gushing spring and a river flowing forth
into a desert where for so long he’d been lost.


The Nomenclature of Color

Absinthe green: Laura’s eyes.
Bishop’s purple: Evening skies.
Cornflower blue: Dreams of the wise.
Dragon’s-blood red: My mother’s sighs.
Elephant’s breath: Imagination.
Forget-me-not blue: The dust of cremation.
Guinea green: Ruination.
Hessian brown: The dust of creation.
Iron gray: The paradox of clouds.
Jade green: The bride’s necklace.
Lavender gray: A widow’s shroud.
Medici blue: The heart that is jealous.
Nile blue: The color of water.
Onionskin pink: A poem for my daughter.
Pearl gray: The wedding gift.
Quaker drab: The virtue of thrift.
Raw sienna: The dirt that we sift.
Seafoam green: The rowboat adrift.
Tyrian rose: The color of love.
Ultramarine blue: Heaven above.
Venetian pink: Hell below.
Wedgewood blue: The little we know.
Xanthine orange: The taste of life.
Yvette violet: The lips of my wife.
Zinc orange, zinc blue, zinc white: The color of houses in paradise.


photo: Sarah Jones

photo: Sarah Jones

Richard Jones is the author of seven books of poems from Copper Canyon Press, including Apropos of Nothing and The Correct Spelling & Exact Meaning. His newest collection is King of Hearts (Adastra Press). Editor of the literary journal Poetry East and its many anthologies, including ParisOrigins, and Bliss, he also edits the free worldwide poetry app, "The Poet's Almanac."

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2016