Paul Jones


My Roommate Jeoffry

For I will consider my roommate Jeoffry.
For despite being pretentious and a stoner, he pays his part of the bills on time.
Except for the power bill which he considers an illegal tax.
For when he has the munchies, he will share his late night burrito with me and any guest.
But as he is vegan, it will be stuffed with tofu and beans and onion thereby making the offer one that is rarely accepted.
For he is a fan of classic rock. More than a fan. He played “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” on vinyl on repeat for days. Until he misplaced the record or the cleaning crew took it or he can’t recall just now.
For he clips his toenails while sitting on our shared sofa which he will clean up eventually. Eventually.
For while he clips, he cheers on perpetually losing sports teams—the almost-made-its amongst whom are the Cubs, Cleveland (even with LeBron), Carolina football (both Panthers and Tar Heels), and even the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
For he will not channel surf from a sports channel once he is engaged. Nor will he allow another to participate in such practice.
For he loses sports bets with dignity, but without actual payment of said losses.
For he wears a vintage Jimi Hendrix tee shirt each year on September 18.
For said shirt has not been washed since 1970 on that terrible day.
For he reminds me and everyone he meets of this fact on that day.
For he spells his name not as Chaucer hath spelt his name. And thus he pronounces it unlike any other person and expects you to do the same.
For his girl friends are cute and inconstant but not infrequent.
For he is often out of the apartment when they visit.
For they often want to share wine.
For once the wine is shared, one named Sally, whom I especially enjoy, confesses that I am the true object of her interest and affection.
For Jeoffry does not trust me to feed his cat, Nico, although I am very reliable and Nico prefers my company to that of Jeoffry.
For he is traveling to Colombia despite State Department warnings not to go there.
For he seeks “the only pot worth smoking.”
For Jeoffry has only one key which he has left with Sally while he is traveling.
For he has asked her to check on his cat while he is away. And she has been reliable.
For we have gotten quite serious.
For he never holds a grudge.
For he is forgiving.
For he stays away for months.

Paul Jones’ first chapbook, What the Welsh and Chinese Have In Common, was a North Carolina Writers’ Network publication winner. Jones’ reviews have been collected in Contemporary Literary Criticism (Gale) and some of his poems collected in Best American Erotic Poetry: 1800 – Present (Scribners), …and love … (Jacar), What Matters (Jacar), and in 27 Views of Chapel Hill (Eno Publishers). He is a contributing editor to the Heath Anthology of American Literature. In other parts of his life, he is director of, a 25+ year project that facilitates legal sharing on the internet, and a professor at the University of North Carolina’s Schools of Information Science.