“To quiet this body,
you must answer
my tendrilled craving.”
I believe that these lines from Saeed Jones’ poem “KUDZU” express a queer person’s desire to openly live their sexuality and be accepted by society. However, at the same time they represent the huge emotional struggle going along with the process of living openly queer.
I reached that conclusion because the line “to quiet this body” is one hand directly referring to the lyrical I’s body, but, on the other hand, it is also a metaphor for their sexuality, which is currently being hidden and not openly expressed. Additionally, the other two lines give an idea of how hard the lyrical I is struggling to hide their sexuality and not indulging themselves in their desires. Especially the word “craving” emphasizes the deep lust and is strengthened by the word “tendrilled” showing the rising need to break out of the system. Furthermore, the direct addressing of the reader “you” and the use of “must” implicates the desperate necessity of the lyrical I to fulfill their (sexual) needs.
With the knowledge I have about the author, I imagine Jones writing this poem from his own experience. I assume that he is referring to society when he says “you” and is addressing the struggle of being black and gay, but not being able to openly express his sexuality (yet).