No. 209 - From our poetry archives - Beatriz Kaye Jones - Madonna.

How do you write about a moment that millions of people have seen? One way is to make the universal, individual; to turn the general into a small, specific, and personal reflection. Last fall we had the pleasure of speaking with Beatriz Kaye Jones, and publishing two of her poems in Issue No. 7 - Autumn 2019. One of which, was "Madonna," which appears below and reflects on a memorable moment of Kaye Jones' adolescence. Through the poem she explores what it felt like to be young, and to make sense of the world while at home, with her parents, and watching the 2003 MTV VMA's kiss between Madonna, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera. Even if it was way back then, her memories remain vivid: from the evening when she "first glimpsed / blood and flesh of a woman."

March 8th, 2020 Portrait by Adrian Moens



Beatriz Kaye

As seen through the cracks between my mother’s fingers:

Black cape draped on proud shoulders Its hem forming a ring of untouchable pavement around her virginal feet

Holy spirit hiding in its black shadowy folds Madonna in black satin and a top hat

To her left, a brunette:

stringy black hair

plastic as prank snakes sold at Green Hills

slithers along olive-skinned cleavage

collides softly with white lace              arms painted slick with flowers

spaces where I first glimpsed

blood and flesh of a Woman

To her right, a blonde:

straw-colored fantasies of Kansas

Dorothy of white skin and innocence

as elusive to me as witches from any direction

white-yellow thighs taste of condensed milk on shaved ice

creamy sweetness cut only by white ruffles

Her hands once poised in a gesture of blessing and awe,

Madonna breaks her statuesque form to part the lips of both the blonde and the brunette

Pink tongues collide softly

as white headlights crashing onto ashy bumpers

Shaved limbs clutter pavement once untouched

Holy Spirit bottlenecked between cars and jeepneys

My mom now uses both hands to cover my eyes

She presses my eyeballs back into their sockets

and when I finally open them, vision of Madonna persist

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