JD Scott, poet and editor, is clearly more than the sum of his parts, whether they be familiar tarot cards or well travelled Brooklyn alleys. He is a man of intriguing contrast and exuberant talent, especially in rendering characters. His poems are rich with images royal, mundane, and at times disturbing, leaving you feeling as though you are a lady or gentleman in waiting, lovingly watching characters fuss and preen in their towers or trailers on the regular. The work resonates with an aesthetic of still movement that can be Dali-esque and alternately pristine like the paintings of Mucha. I wouldn’t dare ask him “why” anything.
Night Errands (2012), published by Yellow Jacket Press, won the Peter Meinke prize that year. Its poems seem to have an enchanting southern normalcy to them. The familiar sense that emanates from them is often improbably beautiful, shining within them like shards of broken glass. If you would like to infer from my words something ominous, wolf-like lurking, it is fair to say “yes”, but we never see its face. Instead, we hear its trickster voice, and it leaves an echo that draws us back, warmly, like our own fearsome, bloody mortality.
His most recent chapbook Funerals & Thrones (2013) published by Birds of Lace fulfills inherent desires for both abstract and concrete, within almost every line. Scott gives us a touch of narrative, lending intimacy, and then leans back like a good fortune teller, eyes wide, letting us wonder and toy with the words.
wore white slacks in my bed,
jumped out the second story window
on a bad moon and broke both ankles.
My pubis was a deck of cards with all
the hear suits removed. Leaves grew
out of my wrist like worry beads.
These are our conjunctions. A boy
who comes and goes as he pleases. An untimely
Labor Day joke. A parable, which starts now:
you will not be permitted my restless hands
which hold each other like ouroboros,
swallowing itself forever.
I threw my cellphone in the ocean, built brick
walls around my bedroom. I saw a psychic
in Boerum Hill, she wanted me to tell you this:
you will marry a woman who warns
her children of the dangers of hairdryers,
and I will give birth to wolves.
As it evolves, Scott’s work impresses in that wabi sabi way of being exactly what is needed to show the exquisite nature of the thing. It never seems overdone.
grown difficult or separate
Tonight I will untangle the sheets,
make a bed I will not sleep in.
Definitely worth your time, more on JD Scott: http://jdscott.com or see the fruits of his editorial labor at Moonshot Magazine. I hear Funerals & Thrones will be available soon as a free PDF, leaving you no excuse to not check it out. And if you’re in NYC in late July, find him at 4th Annual New York City Poetry Festival.
Here’s one more because they’re just so good.
The Lovers (VI)
Revisions by the gulf. We are as fishwives are.
Ours is the song of salt, oceanic tongue.
Sunscatter and outer as herring scales.
Seagrapes, an occult tree fruitful,
medical glove tied to the faucet, expanding.
These are the terrible aspects
of subtropics. A mango bruise:
We strip tape from sanguine windows,
finger the valley of stormlick.
Brackish is how the self opens,
thirsty for harbor. How there is none,
no way to scrape barnacle from the heart.
A sea creature, winged, in the sky, palms out.
An anonymous island where one writes about love.