Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers

Poetry

Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers

PRE-ORDER NOW FOR SEPTEMBER! The first 100 pre-orders will receive a free, limited-edition signed broadside! Limit one per order.

“Skeets is a new, essential voice in poetry, in literature.” —TOMMY ORANGE
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Selected by Kathy Fagan as a winner of the 2018 National Poetry Series, Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers is a debut collection of poems by a dazzling geologist of queer eros.

Drunktown, New Mexico, is a place where men “only touch when they fuck in a backseat.” Its landscape is scarred by violence: done to it, done on it, done for it. Under the cover of deepest night, sleeping men are run over by trucks. Navajo bodies are deserted in fields. Resources are extracted. Lines are crossed. Men communicate through beatings, and football, and sex. In this place, “the closest men become is when they are covered in blood / or nothing at all.”

But if Jake Skeets’s collection is an unflinching portrait of the actual west, it is also a fierce reclamation of a living place—full of beauty as well as brutality, whose shadows are equally capable of protecting encounters between boys learning to become, and to love, men. Its landscapes are ravaged, but they are also startlingly lush with cacti, yarrow, larkspur, sagebrush. And even their scars are made newly tender when mapped onto the lover’s body: A spine becomes a railroad. “Veins burst oil, elk black.” And “becoming a man / means knowing how to become charcoal.” Rooted in Navajo history and thought, these poems show what has been brewing in an often forgotten part of the American literary landscape, an important language, beautiful and bone dense.

Sculptural, ambitious, and defiantly vulnerable, the poems of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers are coal that remains coal, despite the forces that conspire for diamond, for electricity.

 

The first 100 pre-orders will receive a free, limited-edition signed broadside!
(Limit one per order.)

ISBN:
978-1-57131-520-5
Publish Date: 
09/10/2019
Pages: 
96
Size: 
5.5 × 8.5 × 0.75 in
Weight: 
6.3 oz
Author

Jake Skeets is Black Streak Wood, born for Water’s Edge. He is Diné from Vanderwagen, New Mexico. He holds an MFA in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Skeets is a winner of the 2018 Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Contest and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Skeets edits an online publication called Cloudthroat and organizes a poetry salon and reading series called Pollentongue, based in the Southwest. He is a member of Saad Bee Hózhǫ́: A Diné Writers’ Collective and currently teaches at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona.

Praise and Prizes

Blog Post

Jake Skeets – 03/25/2019

Jake Skeets writes about the cover of his debut collection of poems, Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers...