“Through the streets, is me floating in her dress through the streets/is only the moon sees me floating through the streets, is me in a blue dress” (3).
Saeed Jones’s “The Blue Dress,” is describing a deep and lasting impact that his mother has on his life and his identity as a queer person and the desire to be vulnerable and to receive motherly affection.
The passage that I have chosen to examine the most deeply is, in my opinion, the most crucial part of the work. At this point in the poem, it changes from describing the dress of his mother to describing himself wearing the dress. This is a powerful moment because it is showing that he is in control of this endless flow of water—that while it has the power to flood or drown, he is being gently carried by it through the streets. Further, he is wearing the dress— the thing that he is floating in, the endless flow of water.
It can be seen throughout the rest of the poem the juxtaposition of the dress being described as both fragile and delicate as well as ruinous and harmful. For example, the dress is described as “the ring-ting-ring of water dripping from mouths of crystal bowls and crystal cups” as well as “leaks like tears from the windows of a drowned house” (3). One can see how the water that is the dress—being described as a river flooding and filling up a house—can have completely different impacts depending on the context. It can be as delicate as drops trickling over crystal or as disastrous as water bursting out of the windows of a home.
Because he is describing the dress of his mother, I believe this juxtaposition is referring to the influence that his mother has on him. That, like the water, she can either be loving and delicate or harsh and cruel. As Jones describes himself wearing the blue dress in this passage of the poem, he is trying to encapsulate a number of ideas. To begin with, the dress represents his freedom to express himself as a queer person, as a person who does not fit within the gender norms that are expected of him. Within this freedom, there is also a desire to be vulnerable and accepted for who he is. Before this passage of the poem he says “is a current come to carry me in its arms” (3). He is expressing a desire to be held and cared for by his mother and this dress is representing the power that his mother has to give him love, affection, and acceptance or the opposite: rejection, hatred, and neglect.