Jill Jones

Lights Below the Horizon

I will be walking into swerve because
I don’t understand the steps, the stops
because I’m one more individual with feet under the noise
of traffic leaving the century
I will be looking for the country
of silence, limbo, the defeated, a bargain

I have decided to know, not because I am beloved
bewildered or empty. I am all that
but because the body trembles, the weather
is memorising dust, edges, obstacles, seductive stuff
I will be casting through arguments, harmonies
faint marks where coffee mugs have stained the varnish

Because there are queues in my head, black waves
at the quayside, realignments, loose shells

Because the lights below the horizon
go on and off all the time

Why Don’t You Know This?

There’s a hill from which
you could fall or fly.
There’s a long corridor
which could render ghosts,
memories or boredom.

Here it all is, along with horizons,
conversations, noises at the gate
and strange palpitations
following the showing of a film,
what the flat screen hides
and reveals
about us, the living.
There are some scenes
that switch moments.

Why don’t you know this?
That question follows you
and possibly
begins to look like you.
Mixing the tablets
the cooking instructions
any other thing, who knows,
is something real.
It’s not all a play!

Walk out into the world,
clip the door open,
the window.
The air rolls around, it
doesn’t give a stuff.


I recall those summers populated with insects
the shredding, the volume controls
arcades, arguments
the lawn transmitting differences
decaying, jewel blue, infinitesimal curtains
like pitted white metal

I remember little rituals to do with
a piece of driftwood reflecting back each wave
like television
a space station outside the window click-clacking
like the violence of obstacles
temptation of colouring and flavouring

I imagine many ways over the switches
dumping grounds
folds, moisture, molecules
that filing cabinet from some forgotten basement
trance-like, wobbly
disturbed through a time zone

I ward off the food additive code
begging the beautiful, the impossible
the tide, traffic in many ways
as if that’s cheating desire’s ooze
dinner speculations, shopping confusion
a small freedom to step into the road some time

to crack
to be like this
to cry alone

The Photographer

Cameras and china dolls
can be extensions of thought
‘there was no plan’
Seven years, ‘what happens next?’
to love telling stories ‘on the fly’
at a pace

he is pacing
cricket or photography
questioning everything
… got to understand light
shake the tank
something much darker

when things line up
it takes years to get to
the tree, the leaf, the ants
after life
exhausting possibilities
time, the production
of mistakes

to mislead, discard
and leave on the ground
counting winter down
suns, about loss
and light
where does it start?

Music videos
surroundings and memory
Not thinking about it
‘why am I drawn …?
going back home

a single strand of mother’s hair
the smashed portrait
the answers are always around you
document every single little thing
how you think
about things


You’re a survivalist like me, each station
maybe groan worthy or ontologically empty
but we stand near the door, thoughtfully
making way when we need to, sometimes
the tickets are heavy like travelling into
the past, or the future, a future like Expo
where you come out into the air after the whining
tunnel, all glass is green and full of logistics
less green, then you have change, which is
almost a lesson, which direction, you choose
doors open, there’s a land of cranes, of hope
and skylines, that are unfinished
but the train will end, your excuses expire
though the state takes your hand it too
is finite, come with me through the turnstyle
walk to the park where maids and children
sit in the shade, it soon will be dark
if it matters, we soon will be stars above
the fluorescent waters, already the straits
are glistening with our story, everything
we touched, which of course, was the problem

Jill Jones is an Adelaide-based writer. A new book, Breaking the Days, is due from Whitmore Press in November 2015. In 2015 she won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry for her eighth full-length book The Beautiful Anxiety (Puncher & Wattmann). In 2014 she was poet-in-residence at Stockholm University. She is a member of the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, University of Adelaide.
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