Poets on Couches: Jake Skeets


Poets on Couches

In this series of videograms, poets read and discuss the poems getting them through these strange times—broadcasting straight from their couches to yours. These readings bring intimacy into our spaces of isolation, both through the affinity of poetry and through the warmth of being able to speak to each other across the distances.



Horses, Which Do Not Exist
by Alberto Ríos
Issue no. 101 (Winter 1986)

The strong horseshoe shape of a horse’s mouth
Of his teeth, set that way of a suitcase handle

And the way a bit, in just that way, pulls him:
Come here to where it is I say. Like that

A horse’s mouth, and so his manner, broken
Those horses no longer running along the far

Distance visible from a Tucson highway thirsty
Stopping for water, making one of those paintings

Living rooms wear as pendants. Those paintings
Too unreal, laughed at and finger-poked

And so these horses too must be unreal,
A bad painting of nine,

A pond of browning water. Birds, two kinds.
Grass too green—spring has come this year,

And water—mountains too blue, too many shades,
In the distance. And so they are, this all is‚

As children say, like a dream,
Laughing hard at how good it seemed at the moment.


Winner of a 2020 Whiting Award for Poetry, Jake Skeets is Black Streak Wood, born for Water’s Edge. He is Diné from Vanderwagen, New Mexico. He is the author of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers (Milkweed Editions, 2019), a National Poetry Series–winning collection of poems. He holds an M.F.A. 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.