Wren Jones

Pine Row Issue No. 6 Winter 2022-23 - Featured Poet

Not Today

Everywhere the poets are professing their love: for Joe, who held me;

for her, I promise to stay. Me, I’m twisting bitter curls

in tangled hair, squeezing lemon

on my middle finger paper cut,

daydreaming a silent movie - push him

on the tracks, bat my eyes, train roars by.

Preoccupied with bears excavating

the dump, zippered roads behind me,

searching wheat fields for crop circle codes.

Everyday I swim miles straight out

and back again.

Climbing the mountains in Utah, I plant

one foot on the red summit, the other

insists on dangling over lost love

canyon. I peer down, calculate

the chasm’s depth, miss

the nearby stars.

I used to stare into the bathroom mirror,

a teenager with wobbly hair and a blue striped t-shirt,

I knew that pain was my making, mine

to excavate. Agency, my therapist tells me,

equals survival. If you think it’s your fault,

you can act. Otherwise, pure terror.

The pink ceramic jar on bathroom counter held q tips,

the toilet paper never ran out, bodies looked after,

souls left to soak in pink tubs for hours, to kneel

before pink toilets barfing up

broken, girl.

I counted beads on the abacus

tallying the loser I was, moving earth beads

to heaven beads, hoping to be saved. No one told me

heartache was in the air, took my hand,

showed me it lives everywhere

in our breath, dirt, worms.

I don’t want to hear love professed

today, my loser world is lurking, searching

for a cause. Just want to rub silk

between my fingers, find

some solace, articulate

a nuance,

get the words right.

Interview with Wren Jones

How did you get started writing poetry?

My big sister kindly saw my teenage angst, gave me a blank journal and told me to write poems. Then in my 20s I took a poetry class with Rhea Tregebov, a Canadian poet, and fell in love with the form and with other poets. I kept reading, writing, learning, and putting it down then picking it up again. The space opened up during the pandemic gave me time to start writing poetry and commit to it.

Who has had the biggest impact on you as a poet?

Once a week, I write online with two amazing poets, Mary Dean Lee and Marisa Gelfusa, We’ve done that for almost three years. I’m impacted not only by their great writing, but also by the space we’ve created together that has allowed for experimentation, sharing, and developing voice.

What inspires your poetry?

Lately, I get inspiration from reading other poets. I have a morning practice of reading a poem or whole poetry book, followed by writing a “response” poem. That has pushed me into new forms, ideas and content.

What is next for you?

My goal for 2023 is to share my writing every day. I’m getting creative about how that can happen and it’s pretty fun. This year, I’m in a post grad program, The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University, working on a chapbook.

Anything else you'd like to share?

To visit my website: wrenjones.ca

Find me on twitter: @WrenJones_TO

Wren Jones is a writer and outdoor enthusiast, often lost/found walking the ravines of Toronto, Canada.

She’s currently studying writing at Simon Fraser University, The Writers’ Studio. Her YA novel, The Real Dealio, was a finalist in the 2021 CANSCAIP/Writers Union of Canada National Writing for Children contest.

Her poems have recently been published in Untethered, Grand Little Things and Sky Island Journal.