Coyote Cry

“Climb the broken stone stairs into the hills. / Climb them into the night’s throat.” (23)

This poem makes me think about the point of view of the speaker, one apparently from the point of view of a coyote. Likening the coyote cry to a lost woman evokes a sense of longing for company while maintaining the sense of fear induced by a coyote howl. Yet, I don’t find this coyote-speaker to be coming from a place of ill-intent.

Jones’ poetry in this collection balances a fine line between a sort of unity with the rest of the world and an incredible isolation from anything beyond the immediate self. (By immediate self I mean the self unencumbered by external social pressures—for Jones, these pressures often include his own family, unfamiliar lovers, or the heteronormative structures of society as a whole.) The lines “She needs you / like I need you” (23) sort of lead me to thinking about the hedgehog’s dilemma with a small caveat; rather than the hedgehog’s pricks keeping people from getting close, people’s own fear of the coyote prevent them from interacting with the coyote in the way that the coyote needs.

The effect of this point of view is that the poem is able to bring about a sense of identity with the feeling of being feared. These two lines (“Climb…”) in particular almost feel demanding from the speaker, pleading for the reader to face what unnerves them.

2 thoughts on “Coyote Cry”

  1. I love your interpretation of those two lines, especially the image of the crying coyote presenting a lost woman. I would like to add that the words “climbing the broken stone” represent to me a person, who feels damaged and literally broken from the way society deals with queerness. I believe that the person does not see their worth because of the way they were treaded and disrespected, never feeling comfortable and accepted in society. Now they need to climb up these stairs that remind them of all these awful moments when they felt misplaced. Additionally, these lines can be linked to the poem “KUNDZU” and the line “To quiet this body, you must answer my tendrilled craving.”, which also outline the internal struggle of the lyrical I of not being accepted by the world.

  2. Point of view, especially first person perspective, defines a lot of Jones’ poetry. Jones’ puts his own experience, or maybe just voice, into his art and poetry making reading it a deeply personal experience. I think the specificity with which Jones writes which you say walks the fine line between unity with the rest of the world and a removal from anything but the self is a great observation. I think Jones specificity is what makes his poems universal in many ways because within his specific voice and experience others can see themselves more clearly.

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