When I said I wasn’t with another girl
the January after we fell in love for the 3rd time,
it’s because it wasn’t actual sex.
In the February that began our radio silence,
it was actual sex. I hate the tight shirts
that go below your waistline.
-from A Working List of Things I Will Never Tell You
Jon Sands is a wizard. I am waiting on him to grow a long white beard and either start a long journey with some short dudes, or to head a school where he teaches other poets how to be wizards. In his work, his voice shines with its need to say what it wants to say exactly how it needs to be said and no other way. There are surprising families of words here, coming together to show us something new and wild can be made with our same old English, but there are also words that remind us of our family, so familiar and comfortable on our tongues that we are floored by memory and warmth. That’s only one of Sands’ many magics. We stand spellbound by the overwhelming expressions of love that flow out of his work. Whether that love be romantic, familial, or otherwise, there is much a passion to honor and embrace the humanity, fragility, and validity of others that we are all at once aware of our emotions and all the people invested in them. These poems overflow with the heart, with it’s many chambers and guarded secrets, giving us a poems crafted with care as if the poems themselves were loved ones coming into the world. It is that care that makes Jon’s work throb on the page as it does in performance. We are pulled in by not just the grand awe of his talent, but by the energy that radiates from the work. Jon, as a poet, organizer, and teacher, brings that wonderful fire of his to everything, and the burn is quite infectious. I am here for Jon Sands, for his collection ‘The New Clean’, which is a testament to his humbling brilliant. I am here for what he brings to our spaces as a light. I once heard someone call him ‘a good man’ with no intent of using those words lightly, but with 100 stories behind each word. I want to echo that. Jon Sands is a good man. Folks, check out this good one if you haven’t already.