What the critics say:

"poetry of unsettling mystery and beauty. ... passionate and parodic at once, as cool as all get out." The Australian

"... building bridges and points of access and communication, forming a whole, prescient and often deeply moving experience." Poetry International Web

"... redemptive in an entirely secular way, offering moments of existential clarity in unsentimental material observation." Jacket

"her vision is impeccable ... invites the reader to share in the speculative processes of discovery." Heat

"one of the most exciting voices in contemporary Australian poetry" Australian Women's Book Review

"a singular voice, able to transform and give significance to the minute details of daily life." Christchurch Star

"[a] reputation as one of those poets who is beginning to move Australian poetry into new directions - towards a greater trust than ever in the poet's own responses, a quietening of judgemental implications, and to find ways of exploring the rhapsodic." Southerly

You can buy copies of my books online from the following publishers:

Salt Publishing
Broken/Open| Screen Jets Heaven

Picaro Press
Where the Sea Burns


andreas01 v2.5

Poems from books by Jill Jones

Heat in a Room

January soaks the hill with white sky
grass writes into blood and a river of heat sings

Music loads the morning with legends
an afterimage of crowds reaching into a room

Small dried packages of territory remain unturned
there is whispering outside under the redemption of intervals

Just as silence deciphers light
exchange rates cycle gently through conversations

And days draft me, breathing extinction
my skin a chassis of orange

As for the car, it shimmers into the raging sunset
then sort of erupts

(a kind of persistent hope that nobody gets caught)

The night’s hangers are loose in the closet
sleep is a projection, part of the weightlessness

It is impending – a delicate sense of the flange
it seems as though the room is small.

from Broken/Open


The gulp of life, its tongue … you fear
and the odour of god
it comes back at you
as those rascals leave sulphur
in the emporiums on the avenue … you see
sons poking and spearing the obscure
setting fire to the rostrums
low men of fear
seared into the taverns. Barbarisms
the black alerts, name death
between the cicada sounds of motorbikes
little christs on the streets
worship the patina of horny men
their hands, their hard pockets.

Come on, keep pushing, the sex is folding
with the money in the great house
until sober - a man spent
or an animal by a palm tree.
Remember running
the mad valleys of love, the vivid dying
imposed, burnt in the cups, a mirage.
Gulping life, you know
its burnt glass melt
your freedom and the waters
fish in blood rivers decay
remember wavelands of algae adored
in the gills and on the tongue.

from Screens, Jets Heaven

in the distance on the verandah

having said yes too many times and become loaded,
i believe you, “all doors lead to busy rooms”,
the darkness can roll in while you're not looking
so that afternoon sprouts night outside your window
when you were turned away by talk and didn't notice,
they say you can't predict the tide accurately,
or turn back the future, but the telephone is continuous,
suddenly it occurs to me
that i have moved from being just a prisoner
to a more debatable shadowland
within which i am circling but not holding
or closing,
at lunch she talks about the void, she's seen it,
i know what she means, over wine and smorgasbord i try
to remember to say my name,
overhearing the man next me: “we know where we're going now”,
and i lift my quiet glass to him, wondering who we are, later,
walking down my path, i expect to meet myself
hanging around the front door,
a refugee on the verandah, pale face and misleading eyes,
or sometimes i look up and see someone just like me
poring over the distance at the edge of the balcony
tracing where i've been: in streets, in rows, on the way
to another trial, another room, another meeting,
having said yes once again, and misplaced something ...

from The Mask and the Jagged Star and reprinted in Screens Jets Heaven


hard-up on nothingness with my unloved notebooks
tokens, desert island discs, my biblio stigma

fallible, leafy, not-knowing, stretched
my seminal despair grinding my breath

a minstrel nerve twists in the yarn of the dice
diffusing into my colloquial bloodstream

bold and alone, my feverish sympathy
fits my flame to a dialect, foreshadowing pain

mossy, leisurely, invented on nothingness
scanning for balm, to be cured of limiting

glamour and ruin, anima and loathing
they are all chilly tongues

self-knotting baulks at this half-baked fervour
what is intrinsic is now annotation

redress is lethal
its traps are fertile, poised, a dangerous emerald

my alpha virgin glosses her nest of boxes
moonlight churches watch for ignited ardour

prodigious spices and drunk tapestries
reversing on the sacred measureless nothing

From Broken/Open

When planets softly collide

This is not a poem about dust,
there have been too many of those,
but may be about wind, who knows,
the remaking of deserts, endlessly,
when sand becomes a definition
of scale or boundaries or change
like weather squeezing out lines of heat
that drives from solid midnight freeze
up into the sweat pressure of midday.
These conditions are inescapable, no relief —
still there are flowers, stubborn and pink.

Yesterday, strangely, began with showers,
laying the heat demons down and out
for a moment and the air, wet
with the ghost of something old.
Whispers like clouds of aimless particles
which one day could form something solid,
whispers and the slight reverberation
of planets softly colliding,
showering each other with dust,
which they have been trying to avoid,
hoping for a poem about something greener.

As if rock didn't survive,
and dust didn't dance on air.

From Flagging Down Time and reprinted in Screens Jets Heaven


And what are they doing across the water?
Our boats are leaking this year, high on blocks,
ready, always ready for caulking, the repair
we’ve no time to give. And we listen for more
than the half-silent scrapings of midnight
over the dunes, further than the tides
recorded in old yellow quarto books.

There’s been a rushing from over the water,
an impatience between the wind and land,
against the years we’ve spent looking up
from our lines and tangled nets. We let
our hands alone find a way out of the maze
of knots we figure are enough for the catch.

We look for what they’re doing over the water,
waiting for it to save us. Our boats are useless,
drawn up on the beach, spectators with our days
we work round. A stiff salt-sodden rope binds dawn
and the collapse at twilight. We prefer the constant
but casual wonder we float across the water.

Today we see the wind driving an old sloop
close into the shallows of the eastern cove.
The crew is small and they’re tilted over the sides,
scanning the shore, as if calling for aid and repair.

From The Book of Possibilities and reprinted in Screens Jets Heaven

Futurism at night

I stayed up all night under the world’s dangling lamp and the shadow did not eclipse it. I toed the Bokharan prayer mats and struggled with words along the green stripe of the sofa. Of this, I am still accused, as though I had thrown the first fruits at angels and glued the hems of avatars to chair legs. I acknowledge the night is open to speed and the push beyond pages, an overthrow of slow velvet edges, but this is not war, the generals merely look sick in the blue light and a tank twists in the ditch outside. Across the fat cushions, along the hallway and around the cornices are my placements but when I hit the road you will really see that lamp swing, zooming beyond sense everyday. It’s got past the eternal now, each sentence talks from another in the house and paragraphs tangle. You cannot unwire them as they conflict and kiss, spreading tissue into tissue. Accuse me of some moist blaspheming or of dropping articles as though I cannot be definite as an army. Little lamp no slower than searchlights or blazes. Sentence searching for another — zoom, zam, zaum — as it grows.

from Screens Jets Heaven

The green dress

The desert erases regard, wind plays on.
A mirror looks back to the future which has no face.

I’m a player for the war outside.
My name has killed me, vaterland desert land, no escape.

Do not forsake me!
I’ve become the most beautiful green dress.

Maybe you would not recognize me
when the Johnnies come marching home.

– after Snow White Joins Up by Klaus Friedeberger

From Fold/Unfold

Driving Night Out

In suits, corners
on white-tie boulevard.

You pray for the barbarians
their knowledge, their verse
their surety of wild horses.

O the angst of insurance and facial hair!
O the desire for it all meaning nothing!
The zero within the frame.

Dealers and bouffant guys
fuck wheels
with drink and our lip gloss lies.

White necessity
in the caves
the heart

the passages of eyes.

From Struggle and Radiance and reprinted in Broken/Open

The Skim

Warnings that I walk through
the hassle at the station
the boredom at the counter
chill before I step down.

The day that is saturated
the harbour that is bruised
wavelands of graffiti
and movements of poetry.

The urging and the following
the exceptions and excuses
knuckles in the pockets
and the yellow curse.

Tunnels that enclose
the languages we swallow
the return that I wait for
whoever got there first.

Windows that are flying
the street that rises slowly
rain shine I walk through
blue breaking up the clouds.

The safety that I pray for
the water of thy skin.

From Broken/Open

Back at work after the flu

I slipped away
if there is some doubt
about that
I am
this time
by the window and the greening
branches outside and traffic
and the cherry-picker the sawing
down of the trees outside the State Library
and the wind and the people
all there
on my optic nerve
that grey cauliflower
filing cabinet
almost failed
let me slip away
under the desk

from Flagging Down Time

A pre-concert drink

The steamy factories of night
swell the lush violet dark
with traffic
and the haloes of lamps.

Couples and crowds travel the plaza,
among the new austerities
of concrete and blanched
sandstone landmarks.

Transient in sultry air,
they are distanced from us
by sheets of solid glass
bloomed with dust, last week’s rain.

With our drinks and our window
seats, we’ve pulled rank. But those
bodies outside telegraph a hint of breeze,
free enjoyment we do not share.

These cold air machines and rumpled
bar staff are only consolation.
Weather on the brink of change
is gratis, though chancy.

Like the prayer of the day, for relief,
to redeem our skin from the sustained
release of its tired waste, a sticky
and lavish undercoat fighting

twelve hours of our clothes.
A modern song beats ruthlessly
at the inner gates. Our tickets say
Door 9, and the stars don’t wait.

Those tough decisions — the last
finger of warmth in the glass,
or the rush into sound,
delights we’ve bargained for.

From The Book of Possibilities

Antipodean geography

Continents on the wall
shift slowly through a tide of weather.
Cupboards open and laugh.

Great seabirds on the ceiling find their own
longitude, and carry
what’s forgotten to lagoons beyond the door.

There you could swim
safely, and tides are kinder than the wind.
It’s the Antipodes!

Lost and found again, so you may
find her now and then,
beyond glass and wood, fibres of rooms.

Proud on the sill, a bird.
Its yellow eye looks past the sofa to valleys
that sing. And vases of mountains

burn darkly.

From The Book of Possibilities and reprinted in Screens Jets Heaven

Dream horses

Where are your eyes?
Nothing has prepared us for this.

What is earth?
There’s a pain that remembers bone and horn.

Is the sky above?
Only figures in a landscape.

How fast is the wind?
Even the broken floats in dreamland’s waters.

Do you remember when?
You will know when you see us.

Will you take us with you?
Born into the boundless plain.

How long have you been here?
Our names were once Surefoot and Swift.

Do you think we will be happy?
Dream horses do not need your eyes.

– after Clay Horses by Sidney Nolan

From Fold/Unfold

You are so correct now

Big trucks roll through to the centre,
block the crossing outside.
I am lying under the hammer
knocked out by the weather in here,
transmitting from the storm bubble, your eyes,
and the hands, blunt and chilly.
You are so correct now, like steel.
I am clear blown glass.
You're looking through venetian blinds
flapping somewhere between your left
and right brain.
You are looking over me.
I am dreaming I am a space station.
Down the hallway the shredding has begun
to the sound of piano accordion classics.
And the other weather, the grey rain,
parts for a strange light burnishing
the fake wood panelling and the
tiny leftover asbestos fibres, floating
breathable asteriods. My lungs collide
with day-old nicotine, the air-conditioner
takes off again and I am awake. The numbers
crunch in the corner, they almost hurt,
and you are scraping them off desks
into that filing cabinet behind your left ear.
Newsprint dribbles from waste-paper bins,
English as another language.
Short soap opera paragraphs,
and the video clip news.
You are so straight forward and sorry for me.
I am dreaming I live in the Milky Way
but outside the trucks are breathing,
they're still rolling down to the centre.

from The Mask and the Jagged Star and reprinted in Screens Jets Heaven