poetry quarterly

10th anniversary


Joy Jones



No, I’m not from New York.
I never rode no A-Train or no B-Train
or no XYZ train till the
subway came to DC.
And it’s one clean machine.
Why New Yorkers rave
over their rickety chunk of rust
I’ll never know.

No, I’m not from North Carolina.
No, my mama didn’t bake
fat, flaky biscuits form scratch
or deep fry chicken legs in batter.
But, I’ll tell you what—
If I’m hungry
and I’m a Mickey D’s at the back of the line
I bet I can
elbow my way to the front
faster than you.

I went to DC Public Schools
where I learned to speak
both black and white English.
I know what is is
and what it aint.
I was born at Freedman’s Hospital
Born again at a Baptist storefront
And gave birth at DC General.

Yes, I’m from DC.
If you want to get particular—
I am from DC.
Not the Federal City
or the City of Washington
or the Nation’s Capital
but DC.
Where the black folks are
Definitely Cool.


Joy Jones is the author of Between Black Women: Listening With the Third Ear; Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers; and Tambourine Moon, which was featured on the Bernie Mac Show. Her newest work can be found in the anthology Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds: The Teachers of WritersCorps in Poetry & Prose. Her plays have been seen on stages in NY, CA and DC and most recently her play, Searching for A Signal, was part of the inaugural DC Black Theatre Festival. Her website is http://www.JoyjonesOnline.com.


Published in Volume 11, Number 4, Fall 2010.