Jon Stone was born in Derby and currently lives in Whitechapel. He’s the co-creator of pocket poetry journal Fuselit and micro-anthology publishers Sidekick Books. He was highly commended in the National Poetry Competition 2009, the same month his debut pamphlet, Scarecrows (Happenstance), was released. His first full-length collection, School of Forgery (Salt Publishing, 2012), is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
“The school of forgery is a singular institution, whose principal teachings concern the volatile relationship between fakery and invention. Both you and I are its alumni, and so is the bandit boiled alive in a cauldron of oil. So are the perpetrators of hoaxes, the writers of pornographic dōjinshi, counterfeiters in love with their teachers and teens who dress up as birds to fight tyranny. Its professors proliferate. Its graduates excel in every field. Its campus is the world.
This book, part prospectus and part fanzine, is made from stolen or borrowed parts – centos and collages, half-rhymes and homophonics, translations and travesties. Equally inspired by manga luminaries like Naoki Urasawa, animation and adventure stories as it is by earlier poets, the natural world and human history, School of Forgery postulates the poem as knock-off, as reclaimed scrap, and most of all as through-and-through fabrication.”
“Jon Stone writes angry, beautiful poems which access parts of your mind you didn’t know you had.”
– Luke Kennard
He knows the only way to fake emotion’s
to fake (but not too well) lack of emotion
but not to get too tied up in its absence
(or, if you like, the pretence of its absence).
The last thing that he wants to do is hoodwink
himself into the thought he’s hiding something
and leave his mark believing what he’s hiding
is too conspicuous to be emotion
and too much of an absence to be something
he’d ever want mistaken for emotion.
Send in the Mink
A brave thought has entered his head
at the unlogged meatus where skull snags on spine,
where the shower’s blast is wickedest.
Send in the mink,
the one with the woozy plump tick above her eye,
whose honey coal rope of back
could muscle the canal’s dark surface
here or anywhere.
Send in the savage mink
with her lower jaw like a toy anvil,
ex-convict, escaped skinning,
who snacks on smuts of bird
at this bloody bank.
Send in the unsubtle mink
who last week murdered an old feral cat
with no ears, called Fro, leaving no stink,
a few white whiskers to frame the badger.
Let this brave thought be minked out,
minked up, minked to a stain.
Let him sleep the sleep of a drunk carpenter,
asleep in his unfinished coffin.
The Not-Who-They-Say-They-Are Sonnets
I. Alistair MacLean’s Death Train
“It is hoped that the publication of Death Train, and of further novels based on MacLean outlines, will please the many readers for whom Alistair MacLean’s death has left a gap. Certainly MacLean fans will find that Death Train … has all the action and suspense for which Alistair MacLean was renowned.”
Flung hundreds of feet in the air, landing in the snow-laced
predicament, she smiled to herself when trying to think.
“Balashika,” Kolchinsky whispered, ashen-faced.
First the rotors, then the fuselage of a Lynx
entered the compartment and slid the door shut.
Kolchinsky gripped the proffered hand
and unbuttoned his cashmere overcoat.
A light snow had fallen over Central Switzerland
where the train came to a halt,
which was subsequently proved to have been an accident.
He fumbled to unclip the keys from his belt,
the conductor’s look of bewilderment
from years of neglect. It was the only way in.
You have thirty seconds to throw down your gun.
II. (Million Copy Sellers made famous by) Tom Jones
“We have captured on this record the greatest hits made famous by Tom Jones, sung by a different, brilliant singer and orchestrally played in a style which may give you great difficulty in realising that these are not the original recordings by Tom Jones himself and his backing orchestras.”
It’s not unusual to go out at any time
I saw the flickering shadows of love on her blind
Last night, quietly, she walked through my mind
I wanna go home, I wanna go home.
I can’t let you out of my sight, darling.
Woah, woah, pussycat, pussycat.
I’m coming home to your loving heart
before these funny, familiar, forgotten feelings
go and powder your cute little pussycat nose.
I’m never gonna fall in love again.
Oh, what a blessing. I can leave her on her own
tonight. Hold me now my heart is
you, daughter of darkness. Oh daughter of darkness,
go and make up your cute little pussycat face.
III. A Gay Girl in Damascus
“A Gay Girl in Damascus gained a worldwide readership and was closely followed by news organisations. But the true author has now come forward – Tom MacMaster, an American man studying in Scotland. Many Syrian activists have reacted angrily, accusing him of trivialising or even harming their cause.”
Oranges grow in the courtyard. Rania and I: roommates
finding pots as tall as we are. The city is seething
with younger women, guns, spices and grilled meats,
secret police. We are too stupid for these things.
We smell the rich funk of rotting fish and garbage
(gorgeous, knockout) at district centers and roll dice,
pour arak (lion’s milk) and play and brood. At our age,
it makes sense to build dams and lakes and add a cube of ice.
A red Dacia Logan with a window sticker of Basel Assad.
A battered tan Saab, from the middle 1980s.
A silver Mercedes. Men are comfortable in their sex.
But we saw that the end of the word was a sad, sad
joke which died in a gutter of some awful disease.
And after all these years, what happens next?
from School of Forgery (Salt Publishing, 2012).
Order School of Forgery.
School of Forgery reviewed at Eyewear.
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