Imaginary Logic

by Rodney Jones

A collection of 35 new poems that will reinforce Rodney Jones's reputation as one of America's most versatile narrative poets.

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547518299
  • ISBN-10: 0547518293
  • Pages: 96
  • Publication Date: 10/25/2011
  • Carton Quantity: 1

About the book
A new collection from a Kingsley Tufts Award–winning poet

Imaginary Logic is a brilliantly expansive, deeply meditative, and at times wildly imaginative collection of poems that combines Rodney Jones’s distinctive storytelling ability, sharp social intelligence, and keen powers of observation in a book that is wistful, satiric, audacious, and remorseless. “The Art of Heaven” opens with a parody of Dante and a down-home, twisted humor that Jones’s readers have come to rely on: “In the middle of my life I came to a dark wood, / the smell of barbecue, kids running in the yards. / Not deep depression. This nice hell of suburbs. / Speed bumps. The way things aren’t quite paradise.”Rodney Jones, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, is one of America’s “best, most generous, and most brilliantly readable poets” (Poetry). Imaginary Logic is the most eloquent expression yet of his rigorous mind, scrupulous eye, and capacious heart.

About the author
Rodney Jones

RODNEY JONES is the author of eleven books of poems. His many honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Harper Lee Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Award, and he has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Griffin International Poetry Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize. He teaches in the low-residency MFA creative writing program at Warren Wilson College and lives in New Orleans and Southern Illinois.


In the Days of Magical Realism

I went everywhere with invisible

camera crew and musicians.

Portaged by lust, convinced it was beauty.

Washington, early spring, 1976,

three girls moving away from the cab,

speaking French, as I crawled in,

and one, faux-blond, with pearls,

decked out in hotpants and shawl —

I saw her as a zoologist sees a pet

detransmogrifying from a carpet

and was wondering might this ideal

suggest goddess, hooker, or model

when the look she threw back over one shoulder

rendered into stone the eyes

with which I had seen myself.

Voice Making the Sounds of Engines

Aging imaginary playmates,

arbiters of loneliness

and childhood, have they

fallen on hard times,

sleeping under bridges

and eating from trash bins?

When I knew them,

they already had wives,

experience in the military,

and full-time jobs:

mechanic, truck driver,

steam shovel engineer.

In the shadows under

the house of women,

they used to help me

with heavy equipment,

laying out boulevards

for a city of missing men.

Idols, stooges, parrot

and laminate of vox

mundi, backfiring, doubleclutching,

from this distance

they seem stalled

in the fifties and leaking grease.

Except for the clean,

well-spoken one,

twisting his mustache

like an appellate judge

or ambassador from

the commonwealth of mothers.

And the rooster Caesar,

worm-poaching with

harem and sycophants.

Vuden, vuden, we would go,

and he would show us

the nature of masculinity.


The new house had the air

of a stationary ark

ready to set out: the flood

a freshet in each faucet,

the shine and lacquer smell,

pecan floors, transfigurations

of porcelain and enamel.

Each plug-in was an owl’s face

being attacked by a snake.

The fear that he might slip

and flush down the toilet

balanced his wishing

the Apaches could leap

from the television. Meanwhile,

since the carpenters

had left a few light boards

stacked by the door, he plundered

the vacant house in the field

for wings, six years old

with an airplane to build.



"Middle age, masculinity, competition, religion, football, and the art of poetry itself spin together into powerful ironies in some of the best poems Jones has created so far: 'I had a dream,' one begins, 'of harnessing and exacting irrevocable power over others... in the cleat-pocked, dried dirt of a practice field.'" --Publishers Weekly