New Book Coming Soon!

At the risk of sounding vain, I’d like to put in one more plug for my upcoming collection of poems entitled The Wrenching of the Hip that Precedes the Blessing from the publisher Wipf and Stock. I sent the book out to a few beta-readers, and here’s what they had to say:

In this collection, Daniel Jones is a master at word-play, in poems such as “Becoming Apparent” and “Scenes from the Hoosier Countryside,” and “Ars Poetica (in Sapphics).”  Then, there are the emotional gut punches, such as “Veering,” and “The Second Greatest Commandment.” More than that, this poet is clever as hell with a punchline to make you think in almost every poem. These poems are not work for the reader, they are a rich dessert to savor and roll around the tongue. Each work leaves a sense of satisfaction and the “Oh, yes!” that great poems conjure.

–Julia Gordon-Bramer, author of Fixed Stars Govern a Life: Decoding Sylvia Plath and the Decoding Sylvia Plath series.

The Wrenching of the Hip that Precedes the Blessing is both heartfelt and relatable as a poetry collection. Jones weaves together words that will inspire you while marveling at their clever combinations and metaphors. This deeply personal collection is one that will appeal to a wide spectrum of poetry enthusiasts. From the wordplay and imagery in “Scenes from the Hoosier Countryside” to the passion and aguish and “The Wolves Who Refuse to Lie Down with the Lamb,” there’s something for everyone in this collection.

-Tiffany Renee Harmon, Author of Suburban Secrets and Editor-in-Chief of Ephemeral Elegies (https://ephemeralelegies.com/)

The new collection will be out this Fall! Keep your eyes on this page for more updates.

‘Physics’ and “Philosophy’ Rhyme (poem)

(by Daniel R. Jones)

All writing is the reduction of the natural world.
   which is to say
The Tao that can be told of is not the eternal Tao.
   which is to say
The mere observation of a phenomenon
inevitably changes that phenomenon.
   which is to say
The first human to hunch over a tablet
cut-reed stylus in hand,
deigning to set the Universe
into writing on damp clay–

already, he’d lost something in translation. 
If the brain of Aldous Huxley,
brilliant though it may have been,
called itself a “reducing valve,”
how much more his hand with its pen!
So ever since, philosophy of aesthetics
students endlessly pick each other apart,
chiding one another over which
parts of reality they inevitably left out.

New Book Announcement!

“A great poet, a really great poet, is the most unpoetical of all creatures. But inferior poets are absolutely fascinating. The worse their rhymes are, the more picturesque they look. The mere fact of having published a book of second-rate sonnets makes a man quite irresistible.” -Oscar Wilde

Well, here’s to becoming “quite irresistible,” I guess! I am pleased to announce that my first book of poetry, The Wrenching of the Hip that Precedes the Blessing, will be published by Wipf and Stock this fall. Details coming soon!

Dylan Quincy is a Middle West Icon

(by Daniel R. Jones)

i.

When I first met Dylan Quincy, he had ice in his veins,
in the literal and proverbial sense.

On his one arm, he had a punk-y chick with a blunt-cut,
clad in black, lacquered nails and Doc Marten boots.
He held her like a grudge.

On his other arm, he had track marks.

Dylan told me to not postulate on the dissolution of ego, because the ego loved such talk.

He talked of transcendence, as if
car notes and
dirty dishes and
unread notifications:
the ballast bags of everyday life
didn’t exist.

Dylan wanted to— like Jesus—feel the power go out from him.
But given that—unlike Jesus—he cared very little who touched him.

If I relaxed my gaze, I’d get a bit cock-eyed
and his philosophy came into focus;
like some human-shaped magic eye puzzle.

His life was a burnt offering. So what if it was a slow burn?

ii. 

Without a lung full of flower, Dylan’s thoughts bumped up against one another like railway cars,
the link
              and pin coupler never quite
      aligning.

He couldn’t connect one to the other in a way that formed a coherent
                                                                     train
                                                                     of
                                                                   thought.

Dylan liked that the DSM-5 calls it a ‘hypomanic episode.’ 

“Because it really does feel like an episode of some action thriller,” he’d say.

“The boring parts of life all stripped away;
my every action imbued with a sense of meaning,
distilled seven times over;
the minutiae of everyday life
left on the cutting room floor.

Life in mania is the way it’s meant to be seen.
No fluff.
The Director’s Cut.”

He ended his homily with “Such a life is deeply satisfying.”

That lie the lone tarnish on his otherwise silver tongue.



iii.

Dylan Quincy once told me a koan disguised as joke:

Jim Morrison had a spray bottle of LSD-25 in one hand and a rag in the other. He was spritzing the acid on a sliding glass door, wiping it down every few sprays. Aldous Huxley happened to be passing by, and he asked Jim what he was up to.

“I’m cleaning the Doors of Perception,” he answered.

The Lizard King finished his chore. The door was perfectly clean; there were no streak marks at all. In fact, it was so transparent that you couldn’t tell the door was there at all. Just then, William Blake passed the two, and ran headlong into the glass door, bumping his nose and injuring himself in the process.

He cursed at Jim Morrison. 

“Why are you angry?” Morrison retorted, “I was cleansing the Doors of Perception, that I might see the infinite.”

“Perhaps you should’ve left a streak mark,” Huxley responded. “That way, you never forget you’re inside.”

I told Dylan I didn’t understand.

“Then you do!” he said. “If you don’t get it, you understand it perfectly. Glad to see you know you’re inside.”

iiii.

Still, there were times when it seemed he almost broke through.

Such as Golden Hour on that lush spring evening,
when Dylan and I hoofed it fourteen blocks to get to his favorite public park.

At the first scent of lilac, we remembered we were eternal.

He had me on his wavelength when he turned and said, like a benediction:

“In April, every loamy, dew-drenched field is holy ground. Oh, God, forgive us the times we neglect to take our sandals off.”

His life was a drink offering. So what if it was a slow leak?


iiiii.

What called him up today, so many years after his memory finally faded?
Perhaps it’s just survivor’s guilt in our ceaseless spiritual war.

Not so hard to sell a soul that’s never been used.

When I last saw Dylan, he had one shot
                                       liquor bottles strewn about his feet
like discarded cups of communion.

An eyeless Samson, slumped
against what wasn’t
a load-bearing
pillar.

Didn’t anyone tell you Dylan? 

Too much Keurouac is like vinegar to your soul.

When you get the message, you hang up the phone.

You can lose the title of “Seeker.”

It happens when you’d rather seek than find.

When you fall in love with the questions,
to the detriment of the answers.

No burnt offering,
no drink offering,
just the smoldering embers of
“the fire in your belly.”

From rotgut,
not from zeal.

To Caligula, from His Horse (in Sapphics)

All the smug revisionists point it out now;
quick to claim as fallacy a warmth they can’t grasp.
True, our love remained an un-consummated 
partnership. Granted.

Mounting me was still an unbridled pleasure:
Please concede as much as that, won’t you? Don’t you?
Unexpected though it is, haven’t stranger
unions existed?

Can’t you see I’m down-trodden? Can you blame me?
You’re the one that broke me, as you’ll recall. You
claimed yourself as Jupiter, though Poseidon
rightfully owned me.

Dozens through antiquity beamed with beauty
marked by features typified as equine-like.
Haven’t I surpassed the attractiveness of
these in my manner?

Flames of lust will dwindle and die, but ours was
plodding love, authentic and true. It’s sure to
last beyond the lesser alliance that a
romance can offer.

Now Accepting Submissions!

It is with great satisfaction that I announce that I’m looking to enact “Phase Two” of this website’s ultimate goal: creating and showcasing alluring, emotionally-poignant, intellectually-stimulating pieces of art, all for the glory of God.

Thus far, Bez & Co. has featured my own writing with the occasional post which features the work of another artist. In keeping with my initial purpose for this website, however, I’d like to branch out and feature the writing and artwork of other like-minded creatives who long to glorify Jesus Christ through their craft.

Toward that end, I will be conducting a “dry run” at an online, quarterly journal. Our inaugural issue will be out Winter 2021. It has been my pleasure to build a steady readership throughout the course of the last two years. I’ve enjoyed conversations with many of you, and I feel confident in saying that the creative potential of those I’ve interacted with is significant. It’s my earnest desire to celebrate and promote the work of Christ-following creatives.

Since this is my first go-round, I will be holding open submission from July 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020. At least initially, publication will be online-only. We are not able to compensate contributors at this time, but the long-term goal is certainly to pay contributors.

If you are interested, please check out the Submission Guidelines! In order to familiarize yourself with my ethos, the content of this website, and what Bez & Co. is all about, feel free to peruse past work and check out the About Bez & Co page.

Thank you and good luck!