poetry quarterly

10th anniversary


Simone Jacobson



(9 p.m.)

The men on U Street
drag down our skirt hems
with hunger in their eyes.
They pace and hunt for honey
buried within our bones.
We snap—
the soft side of our fingers
crack the air in two.

Our chins trace invisible pendulums,
Swing “no” in every direction.
We've no patience
for tired songs of longing.

Their elongated syllables
dance down our backs
Notes flung
from saxophone to eardrum
sucked into hot air from
teasing tongues.

(11 p.m.)

In perfumed clusters, we scour
the windows for music, linking
elbows. Suspicious of every whisper.
On Fourteenth Street,
an upright bass is seduced
by perfect brown hands.
For an instant, we are hypnotized
Jazz quells all fears of staying
too long in their lines of sight.

The men on U Street
hurl desires through open mouths;
..........We resist.
Sirens and shouts mingle
with Say baby, Hey baby . . . Ey babay!

How can we trust that hour
where every word among strangers
must be masterfully interpreted?

(2 a.m.)

The men on U Street
murmur and sing
Their retired harmonicas
quiet as morning breath.
We dismiss their blues,
insecure to be muses to men
with nothing but poetry to give.

All expectations gone awry,
Flesh swollen—our shoes
constrict like cake pans.
We tell ourselves keep on
walking, girl. Just keep on.


Simone Jacobson was born in Phoenix, AZ, but has called DC home for over a decade. She has performed at the APIA Spoken Word and Poetry Summit in San Francisco, the Bowery Poetry Club, and the Hip-Hop Theater Festival. Jacobson is founding co-director of Sulu DC, a monthly Asian and Pacific Islander American performing arts series in DC, and was also the founder and director of the Urban Poets Society, a traveling collective of spoken word poets. She created the University of Maryland’s first hip-hop dance company, PHUNKtions, and launched an open mic at the Hillyer Art Space, HOME. She is a proud Burmese American currently finishing her MA in Arts Management at American University.


Published in Volume 11, Number 4, Fall 2010.