Sitting with Others

By Rodney Jones b. 1950 Rodney Jones
The front seats filled last. Laggards, buffoons,
and kiss-ups falling in beside local politicos,
the about to be honored, and the hard of hearing.

No help from the middle, blenders and criminals.
And the back rows: restless, intelligent, unable to commit.
My place was always left-center, a little to the rear.

The shy sat with me, fearful of discovery.
Behind me the dead man’s illegitimate children
and the bride’s and groom’s former lovers.

There, when lights were lowered, hands
plunged under skirts or deftly unzipped flies,
and, lights up again, rose and pattered in applause.

Ahead, the bored practiced impeccable signatures.
But was it a movie or a singing? I remember
the whole crowd uplifted, but not the event

or the word that brought us together as one—
One, I say now, when I had felt myself many,
speaking and listening: that was the contradiction.

“Sitting with Others” from Salvation Blues: One Hundred Poems, 1985-2005 by Rodney Jones, published by Mariner Books in 2007.

Source: Salvation Blues: One Hundred Poems 1985-2005 (Mariner Books, 2007)

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Poet Rodney Jones b. 1950

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Rodney  Jones

Biography

Rodney Jones was born in 1950 in rural Alabama. He has described his childhood and youth as “very much like being a part of another age. Our community still did not have electricity until I was 5 or 6 years old.” His poetry frequently celebrates the relationships and events of the small, agrarian community he was born into, as well as preserves the kinds of vernacular speech he grew up hearing. Jones has noted of his youth in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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