The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Literature from Mexico City

Clara B. Jones: 1 Poem Published

Poem by Clara B. Jones (USA)

Published in The Ofi Press issue 43 


You Painted Your Sailboat Red

for Ben Shahn


The shape of content is prelinguistic

like our eyes meeting across that humid room

where garrulous, groomed, grown-ups shifted stances


chewing morsels of chèvre from Vermont

sipping wine from Chile's verdant stretches

returned from desirable locales


to witness our primitive dance

designed for intimates or strangers

uncomplicated   (unlike your theory)


decodable when scanned by others

all members of your Marblehead set

inured to your flirting with young wives


not yet playing a game of risk

for stakes higher than the pleasure of knowing

that a formidable artist found her as pleasant to view


as he might find the ocean next afternoon

when the nature of content was more concrete

than the evening before 


removed from your studio and the figures that mattered

a negress in white linen no match for reputation

meaning following form like a rondeau ending on a cynical note.



About the Poet

Clara B. Jones is a retired university professor currently practicing poetry in Asheville, NC. As a woman of color, she writes about the moral dimensions of race, class, gender, identity, and culture. ErbacceCHEST, and Transnational are among the journals her poems have appeared or are upcoming in. Clara's aesthetics are derived from Wabi Sabi minimalism, and her guiding principles are Intentional Living and restraint without craving. In the 1970s, Clara studied with Adrienne Rich and now studies with the poets Meghan Sterling and Eric Steineger.

Image: "Wine-stained cork" by Ruth Hartnup.

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