Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grace #4

A smoky gray evening fraught with the black-headed grosbeaks & moths—a fountain bubbling with transparent water time is just passing thru a semi- truck on Highway 95 blacking out the poppy orange sunset for one instant— a sleep disorder a marble statue of our Lady in a shrine past Buffalo NY a white sundress dark hysterical sunglasses a breaker exploding on the rocks at Rockaway, OR like an HO Union Pacific freight in an N scale world

There was a row of Chinese Elms in green Vermont light you don’t remember—there was a whitewashed brick building muralled with trellised pink roses—there was a bowl of yellow curry an American Spirit cigarette a wooden table outside the coffee shop a Calla lily you don’t remember—time is just passing thru like a white Plymouth on a 3:00 a.m. interstate like the cirrus clouds in white sundresses outside a wood-framed glass door

Just passing thru—a red tour bus a blue ghost light a silver ring a black & white canvas awning a blue jumper an embarrassment of reflecting pools lined with white quartz a paperback Apollinaire leaning on a pine shelf the tart odor of linseed oil on an August morning under a sky-blue sky the stars’ shattered glass—the catbird’s marimba trills the sparrow’s natural harmonics a statue of the Black Madonna in an upstate gift shop a china bust of the
BVM underneath a dormant poplar in someone else’s hands the same Our Lady of Mercy icon a lullaby goodbye an aluminum full moon sound wave

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Today: a suspended chord hovering between two open doors….

thru one the eggplants & tomatoes & peppers hang on their vines & absorb whatever sun breaks thru; the pears that were out-of-reach are still ripening yellow & falling; the zinnias are orange & magenta in the herb bed by the oregano, itself blooming white….

thru one the willow & cottonwood leaves are turning & starting to fall in the breeze—yellow raincoats strewn across the gravel driveway—the small apples at the fence line are ripening & dropping too….

This morning: the twilight’s first pale blue is a scar across the night where the horizon’s wrist folds into the sky’s hand curving black & starry overhead….

Night isn’t really infinite, it’s just a hand that’ll lift us into prehistory; the stars are so many diamonds compressed from wishes & memories & prayers swirling away ….

The moon shrinking white & quiescent into the last quarter, rising late in the night & wandering thru the afternoon sky between the clouds….

Summer was a waking daydream—even the short night’s a daydream of heat & smoke & crickets, & falling asleep in the daylight—here at the western brink of Mountain Time where the sunlight lingers almost into tomorrow (which never comes)….

& the pears we couldn’t reach hang on the boughs for a short time yellow & ripe….

Autumn will be a wakeful night, the cold light of planets & constellations burning back thru time—a thousand thousand lighthouses burning in a dark sea you won’t cross except in the thoughts that carry you thru the nighttime….

Today—briefly—a balance as day & night both leave their doors ajar—a suspended chord hanging between the stars glinting like pinpricks glittering thru black fabric & the leaves glinting yellow & slick as the sun breaks thru….

A balance—the blue scar of morning’s twilight a tightrope you’re walking between the day & night—

A tightrope—balanced on the streak of magenta—a wound between the horizon & the gray clouds at sunset—

A stasis that doesn’t last—a chord that could ring chilling or hopeful between the stars & the horizon & between the sunlight & the cottonwood leaves all falling yellow, & the chord asks to be resolved….

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer’s Evening

Yesterday evening watering the hedge, the dry grass crinkling under my sandals as I hauled the hose down the line of poplars & hawthorns & roses—& I was watching the eastern hills reflect the sunset—the crests of the hills glowing salmon pink in the light they caught from the west—

& a cool breeze blowing from the northwest—not a wind, but a breeze, but there was something clammy as well in its touch—the thought of the autumn rains that are coming in from the Pacific, we just don’t know when—but coming with somber mornings & afternoons & bringing some hint of the infinite Pacific with its spray & roar here to the infinite rangeland with its dry grass & sagebrush hills—

summer is nodding off—the dream of summer—the afternoon daydream when your body’s asleep & your mind’s very much awake & the past is a film inside your head—now the paradigm of summer is a lazy daydream undergone in a recliner with a Dorothy Sayers’ novel laid open on the arm— but then there was a time when summer was all a waking dream—too hot to
sleep, Virginia in the 80’s—spending the night & evening out in the magnolia perfume & the cigarette smoke & the laughter & desire of every nightspot— too hot to sleep, & always somewhere to go as the hours stayed static—time was different then, of course, infinite as the Pacific in a November rain—

Cigarettes & coffee & cigarettes & a sport coat even on the warmest evenings
& poetry in the cigarettes & coffee & the magnolia perfume & laughter & the Amtrak train pulling out of town north to New York in the gray green dawn or a maroon Pontiac Bonneville rolling down the streets & the swarms of flowering trees & old southern houses & back to the house as the sky turned pale—

& now summer’s a lazy daydream watching a ballgame & thinking of the
1000’s of ballgames I’ve watched & moments from them all coming to the surface—not distinct, but ripples like a trout rising for a mayfly—

but this evening summer’s nodding off, its long daydream is falling into real sleep—a pair of ducks flying frantically overhead thru the white & gray sky into the west—they’re flying into the sunset off the pond near the gravel pit off to the north— & later another pair—identical to my eye—flying west—

flying west as we’re all flying west while the first hints of the damp Pacific air whispers from past the Cascades & the Blues & the Seven Devils—

a waxing half moon halfway up in the sky above the neighbor’s barn & Indian Mountain—the moon shaped like the curl of a “p” when waxing & the curl of a “q” when waning—the skin a snake shed in the straw Eberle’s piled next to the hedge to hold the moisture—white & startling, something you see instinctively before it’s a conscious image—summer shedding its skin as the eastern hills turn salmon—

Jack Hayes

© 2010

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


They’re moving & shifting weightlessly & elephantine above the horizon— like a Debussy piece played just by an oboe & double bass in a dream duet— silver tinges, & off to the east, a yellow sun—mellowed as summer dissipates in a breeze that whistles & rustles downhill thru the osier & dead grass—

Ice crystals coalescing in thin, thin air where nothing breathes—thousands of feet above the wind that swirls thru the willow & cottonwood—

A daydream sweetly dissonant as a major seven chord swelling in a room—a memory jarring & chilling as a minor sixth—

Last Sunday morning, the rain tapping percussive on the metal roof—a real rain, a change of seasons, when you don’t know whether to look in the rearview mirror toward what’s slipping away, or down the highway toward what might be—

Some of the pears are scattered around the tree after the storm—Eberle gathers them in a cardboard box to store— but a tinge of frost has touched the zucchini leaves by mid week, like an augmented arpeggio played in the high register on a piano— but the tomatoes still hang red & orange & green in their plot north of the honeysuckles—old songs about summer time strummed on a uke & sung in a smoky baritone—

I’m in a moment of time without access to the past except through memory, or access to the future except through expectation & dread & the clouds are roiling gray waves—& white waves & black waves rolling against the flat sky-blue backdrop—& then I’m in Lincoln City, OR watching the Pacific roll darkly & massively in from China; or I’m on the causeway going to South Hero, VT & watching the white caps scudding south from Canada across Lake Champlain—

Is poetry living in memory or is it fetching memory into a present moment? Is it making a moment where past & present & future coalesce? More memory & desire in a different key—

The north wind is shaking the willow boughs—the clouds are making their circumnavigation around the purple horizon. Some days you can see infinitely from Indian Valley—some days the fog & smoke cut off everything but your immediate surroundings— in this sense, it’s like everywhere I’ve lived—

Eberle looks up at cirrocumulus clouds & thinks of paddling a canoe across them—

It’s difficult to sit in the present without going out to any blinding stainless steel diner for breakfast with the past, & without sitting down to dinner in any North Beach Italian restaurant with the future. At any given moment, I’m living in so many times & places, while the willow boughs nod & rustle,
& the clouds move on—

Something new, something lost, something augmented, something diminished—chords on a Harmony archtop plucked in a thoughtful or desultory manner while the wind whistles a tune you heard in a dream & the clouds shift places high above where nothing breathes—

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sunflowers in January

You are walking a country road there are no similes
there is the fullness of desire a
wooden cross brace between the spliced barbed wire a

wedding dress sparkling in a wide pasture beside a creek the
thorn bushes tangling there hampering this poem’s progress
tho the creek’s black water spills into being

you are many places at once the sky the highway rippling thru
fog to the south amongst the dozing sagebrush & your voice & your voice &
your voice on a phone in the dusk with grosbeaks in June &

you’re walking into a white clapboard garage in Vermont the
skis & snowshoes suspended on 16-penny nails the
pungency of motor oil & thawed earth

a wedding dress sparkling in a wide pasture beside a creek, the
willow’s orange limbs in the snow in Lake Fork next to
irrigation pipe on wheels sunk into snow-

drifts pink coneflowers erupting in honeybees amidst shimmering
August there are no similes there is the fullness of desire a
memory & another & another you’re looking into the future’s

shattered mirror iridescent & out-of-focus the
sagebrush evergreen gestures climbing the hill beyond barbed wire you’re
walking a sidewalk strewn with magnolia petals there are no

similes you are many places at once the empty bird’s nest
in a leafless aspen the stand of sunflowers in
January snow brittle & clenched & standing in place despite it

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How High the Moon

New moon turning its face toward the empty nest high up in the black catalpa, the tree's limbs etched against the evening sky yesterday & now simply more blackness at 4:00 a.m.

a trailer truck on Highway 95, the glass slide whooshing guitar strings, a riff existing somewhere between the major & minor modes

someday the whole story will have been told & the constellations will continue to glint, small glass shivers strewn above this January's frozen fog

Some night once we’re all asleep will we rise

will we rise to a solarized new moon & the atmosphere of a black & white film except without the soft focus

will we rise & say this is what I meant to say all along

will we rise & nest in the catalpa’s black fingers, the glass slide’s icy rush up the guitar strings toward the octave, the trailer truck whooshing south- southwest

will we rise & say my heart is in my hand & mean it so much it flies off, a birdcall in a blue foggy dawn

it is a very long time ago driving thru night south-southwest thru the Owyhee desert before the crows glided across the sagebrush bluffs, the stars are shattered glass in every direction

will we rise & go back to a place we’ve never been a glass sliver from a votive candle
will we say my heart is in my hand & it’s glass

the glass slide existing somewhere between the major & minor modes

New moon turning its dark face toward us etched against this night sky in the wordless frozen fog

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, June 18, 2011

January Morning

the cow pond exhaling smoke at 6 degrees the blue gray fog an aquarium miasma filled with sagebrush & emptiness

a face staring backwards & forwards in the blue gray frozen fog thru the willow thru the cloud of juncos & sparrows & the sagebrush breaking thru the snow on the round hill eastward

the rocks white the willow’s long hair black the poplars skeletal

a face staring backwards & forwards in a cloudy mirror & the mule deer outside the window leaping the barbed wire without any effort the dazzling flight of a magpie subdued in the freezing mist & white air

the chill is a teardrop mandolin tremoloed in its icy throat on a high octave E & the crow’s bitter snow is a chill in the heart muscle a contraction

tho the air is blue & gray & opaque & the ridge to the east has sunk below this sea of fog with its frosty water droplets distributing chill to the lungs

the cowpond exhaling smoke at 6 degrees the owl on the wing over the skeletal grape vines the owl appearing to me each night its face a white fog of feathers its wings knifing silently thru the white air soaring south

& the road is white with ice a frozen current swerving south without moving a face staring in every cardinal direction seeing the white air the willow’s
long black hair streaked white with hoarfrost

a rheumatic shoulder the lungs an aquarium miasma filled with sagebrush &
emptiness the heart contracting its owls wings in the white white air

a face staring into a blue gray frozen ocean stitched with barbed wire without a horizon

is it a new day

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grace #3

A smoky gray evening fraught with swallows & electric light wires & a slight anticipation of the underlying pulse—& an N scale Union Pacific derailment somewhere along an N scale Tehachapi pass overlooking the windmills & cell towers & other metal trees sprouting across the Mohave’s dry wash—a desk lamp equipped with a fluorescent coil light bulb a copy of Ring Lardner’s You Know Me, Al & a paperback open to something by Vallejo on a black upholstered easy chair in a Nevada ghost town

A random silence—a phonebooth under an orange top hat neon sign some miles past Vacaville a grilled cheese sandwich an order of French Toast the sun splashing honey & heartbreak across a gray formica table top—a large orange juice on the rocks beside a cut glass ashtray brimming with stubbed- out Camel straights—a stand of vibrantly orange willows erupting against the February snow how that snow shrinks into muddy earth like memory on a Lake Fork ranch

Time passes thru you a Union Pacific freight train inexorable & liberally tagged with graffiti in motion along the Columbia River—a meadowlark in a bitterbrush an afternoon game in the bleachers at Candlestick Park speaking French—a radio wave in the cycle of Saturn’s rings—time passes thru you a Raleigh 10-speed coasting beside the dahlias in Golden Gate Park—there is no such thing as silence only an absence of articulation—a feeling you’ve been here before amidst the black-headed grosbeaks with the same dish of blackberry cobbler the same Our Lady of Mercy icon—OK let’s get moving

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Helix #11

A green rowboat
A flowering quince beside stone steps
A 5:00 a.m. silence punctuated with keystrokes

A large steel mailbox a trellised breezeway
A matchstick shade against the eastern sky
A portion of silence

A green August twilight a whippoorwill’s yodel
A whole tone scale on a console piano
You are here & you are not here

A radio signal traveling beyond the solar system
Ranch lights glinting green along the ridge
An Eb drone on a harmonium

You are here & you are not
A magnolia leaf fallen glossy on the walkway
A white car a sky of white cirrus an anxiety disorder

An instance of silence in motion
A cell tower on the mesa against a melon sunrise
A sound wave cycling in a square white room

You are here the melon sunrise over Lake Erie
You are walking you are driving your car
A sound wave cycling an unsolvable laughter

An instance of recognition as always uncanny
A crepe myrtle giddy with blossoms
A street lamp rooted in concrete

A barbed wire fence leaning from snow weight
A film’s blue ghost light a red theater chair
A sign stating You are here

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Helix #10

A blue enameled dutch oven
A locomotive’s slurred whistle thru a humid night
A mailbox on a post against a white sky

A propane truck marooned on a dirt road
A bottomless skyblue skyhigh June day
So this is the view from forever

A name you’ve despised since childhood
A field of Black-Eyed Susans & Indian Paintbrush
An adjective an adverb a proper noun

A fireworks display at the valley’s southern extreme 

A sky folding its violet petals
So this is what forever looks like from here

A bruised July sky thru interminable twilight
You were gone & you were so sad
A white sundress a white cumulus cloud

A white t-shirt white cigarette paper a white car
So this is the view from forever
A dogwood blooming a quarter mile distant

A white plate a white page speckled with words
Snow on Council Mountain dyed orange at sunset
A redwinged blackbird’s slurred whistle

A poem that doesn’t get written
A blue-green eucalyptus next to Fell Street
A verb an adverb a proper name

A black paperback a blue jumper a white shirt
A pergola exploding with pink roses
You want to be believed a white page

So this is the view from forever
So this is what forever looks like from here
So this is what we mean when we say

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Helix #9

A black baseball cap
A puddle reflecting shattered starlight
A green metal patio chair outside the motel

A bottleneck guitar slide whining the octave
A batiked curtain a California poppy
A J-Church streetcar lurching into sunlight

You’re lost inside your life your voice gone husky
A luna moth on a breezeway lattice
A lime green sport coat the cuffs rolled up past the wrists

An outdoor café the streetlights glowing jaundiced
You’re lost inside your life on another street
A koa baritone uke strumming Moon River’s chords

A handpainted teacup a red pincushion
Black cottonwood limbs in 5:00 a.m. jaundiced fog
You’re asleep on a sofa the light an April goldfinch

A passionate kiss without the least recollection
A driftwood log charred black
An order of french toast the sunlight oozing honey

You’re anxious as usual the coffee cup’s bone white
A waxing moon at 3:00 p.m. a cornflower sky unfurled
A teardrop mandolin a red accordion

You’re lost inside life you’re sporting a Panama hat
A island in Lake Champlain a silver thunderhead
A harmonic minor scale a hawthorn bush

The hardest poem you’ll ever write until
The hardest poem you’ll ever write a long goodbye
Your life will you ever waken

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Helix #8

A meadowlark in the bitterbrush
A glass of milk a green plastic cup
A bandsaw cutting curves in pine boards

A white trellis festooned with blush roses
A cigarette in a clear glass ashtray
A dish of alicha ater on Haight St & winter drizzle outside

A streak of henna & black eyeliner
Raindrops beading on cherry blossoms & plate glass
A blue denim jumper a white t-shirt

A china bust of the Madonna
A grapefruit sunrise against the high Oregon desert
You are simultaneity itself & exist there

You’re in the middle of nowhere
A bridge in the Japanese Gardens an infinitesimal mist
A rusted water tower aswarm with pigeons

A blue-wallpapered hospital waiting room
A train crossing sign half buried in a snowdrift
A red tour bus

You find yourself in the middle of forever
An order of French Toast in a Winnemucca diner
A half moon suspended above the beachgrass & iceplants

A wedding that’s rained out amidst magnolias
A rufous-sided towhee in the tall hedge
A mahogany mandocello a Washburn guitar

A voice a face a thin dime daytime moon
The Southern Pacific Coast Daylight rematerializing
Everything that might have been did happen

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Helix #7

A steel teakettle
A pair of black-rimmed reading glasses
The willow’s black branches tracing daybreak

A mulberry cotton dress with gray print
A redwood marimba
A poem you wrote when you were someone else

A redwinged blackbird trilling in February gray
Tumbleweeds heaped against a barbed wire fence
A hickory bookcase

An Amtrak coach pulling out in a light mist
You are somewhere else making a wish
An oxidized penny a jukebox quarter a broken promise

You are laughing a fountain it’s inscrutable
Yellow marimba mallets in a clear glass vase
An abandoned stone house along the Oregon interstate

A diminished chord a wedding that’s rained out
Lemon moonlight absorbed by lace curtains
An osprey nest on a telephone pole

A relief globe a coffee cup filled with pens
An order of chicken pot pie in Lancaster, PA
A Virginia crepe myrtle & magnolia twilight

A Saturday daybreak you’ve had no sleep
Like everything else it’s a postcard of Multnomah Falls
Like everything else you are & you are

Multiplicity itself like everything it’s a laugh
Like everything it’s a mulberry cotton dress
Like everything it’s February rain thru black willow branches

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Helix #6

A pitcher of buttermilk
A banjo uke with birdseye maple neck
A pair of Converse high-tops

A field of disheveled cattails in February
A streak of henna & black eyeliner
A dry lake bed in the Owens Valley

A periwinkle blue double-wide trailer
A poplar leaf on a wet sidewalk
You are perennial

Yesterday’s evening star in the rose sky
A ticket stub a cup of black coffee
A calla lily in Golden Gate park

You have lived several lives & it’s come to this
A St Martin de Porres novena candle
A trucker’s cap a ponytail

A luna moth at a West Virginia truck stop
A black heifer running loose on the paved road
A green metal gate a metal silo

A bouquet of tigerlilies
A New Directions paperback poetry book
A singular moment

A shooting star on a yellow-gray summer evening
A smoke ring in a Pennsylvania restaurant
A John Deere tractor in an unkempt November pasture

A crepe myrtle in blossom
A red plush theater seat in the blue light
You are unstuck in space & time

A peacock on the lawn a brick walkway
A gray & smoky 6:00 a.m. the lace curtains drawn
You are one fallen star amongst every other

(with apologies to Kurt Vonnegut)

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Helix #5

A pink silk rose
A white & blue ceramic elephant teapot
A safety pin a brass thumbtack

An umber sofa you doze there at 2:00 p.m. 

A February lemon sun
An white enameled bowl brimming with rose hips

A 50s postcard shaped like California
A crescent moon tattoo
A Union Pacific train emerging from an Oregon tunnel

A glossolalia of dogwoods & laughter
A coonskin cap in a roadside tourist shop
A statue of Nuestra Señora a metal bed frame

A stile stepping into the dry September pasture
A great blue heron
A red tin roof brushed slick with hoarfrost

A train you are never there to meet it
A porch with wooden railing a green May twilight
A mockingbird in a tulip tree

A white cord hammock
You are laughing a fountain it’s incomprehensible
A black magic marker a wooden letter opener

A wooden spatula a red & white teapot
A plate of lemon pasta a pair of irrigation boots
A train you are never there to see it off

A flock of guinea hens cackling in the cottonwood
A C major seven a D minor seven transposed a major third
A divided highway at 3:00 a.m.

A silver flute a lime-green ukulele
An evening in a bookstore without any hope except hope
Where are you in your words

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Helix #4

A yellow N scale caboose
A sagebrush hunched frail against the gray snow
A roan horse steaming in a January field

Everything you see is talking back
A derelict crossing signal a vacant brick depot
A flicker perched in a silvery poplar

A movie theater the light gray & silver
A century rose encircling a dead cottonwood
A gray-blue bowl

A pussy willow in bloom in early March
A purple crocus a red crocus
A crumpled poem in a sport coat pocket

A white sun dress a navy pea coat
A streak of henna in February sunlight
A whelk a conch a sand dollar

You can’t take your own reflection
An N scale 19th century steam engine
A bolo tie a black sport coat the sleeves rolled up

A Joshua Tree in white blossom
An evening replete with silence & more silence
A pair of black-rimmed reading glasses

A screen door the screen torn in patches
A silver daytime moon beside a gray cloud
Your face intent & absorbed

A blue note that doesn’t resolve
A redwing blackbird’s urgent February trill
Your uneasy place in forever

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Helix #3

a straw cowboy hat
a cantaloupe sunrise a snow glazed ridgeline
a white-crowned sparrow in a willow

a narrow wallpapered hallway its doors all closed
a white wicker hamper
a diner glinting stainless under a palm tree

you are someone else you cannot be known
headlights on the dirt road at 5:00 a.m.
a raven hunched on a cedar fence post

a black madonna
a haystack draped with a silver tarp
a styrofoam coffee cup

what does memory show
a sheet of beeswax for candles
a waxing moon electrifying the snow

you are someone else you cannot be known
a green linen sport coat
a blue glass mixing bowl

a ticket stub you can’t recall the film
a line that divides & connects
frost constellated across this morning’s windshield

reflections in a resonator guitar
a stainless steel measuring cup a red plastic handle
a magnolia petal like a sob & another

the naked thorn trees the January garden
a ring-neck pheasant forages next to the tall hedge
a highway’s divided line

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Helix #2

a drab January goldfinch
a letter written on yellow legal paper October 1978
a white two-story house a red door

an Oregon butte flashing orange at sunrise
a tidal pool pulsing with sea urchins
you are far removed

a junco skittering across the porch
a willow bough frothy with wet snow
a quart of Ballantine ale

a white pick-up a ladder in the truck bed a
magpie scudding above the highway
winter’s horizons shimmering with ghosts

fog rolling blue & white from the ridge
you are sobbing & nothing adds up
a yellow January sunrise

a yellow August sunrise a screen window
a bald eagle perched atop a cottonwood
a dog-eared copy of Leaves of Grass

irrigation pipe on wheels sunk in the drifts
a brown fedora a black print skirt
a willow’s orange limbs in the snow in Lake Fork

you are somewhere in the fog beyond the fog
a summer morning’s sobbing birdcalls
a gray t-shirt a pair of stained Reeboks a television

wire-rimmed glasses red flannel pajamas
irrevocable distance between then & now
footprints in snow on the frozen lake

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Helix #1

an arthritic finger
a quonset hut hulking in January drizzle 

a teardrop tattoo

a chowder shack in Bodega Bay
a misty November afternoon spilling over with gulls 

a flagstone walkway

a cigarette butt in a puddle outside the hospital 

you are older
a coil of barbed wire breaks thru pasture snow

a dish of paella in Baltimore
it was January you should have been elsewhere 

a peony blooming next to concrete steps

a pair of chipped bifocals a pair of frayed black sandals 

a kestrel preening in the willow
a star tattoo a daytime moon

a purple cyclamen on a San Francisco patio 

a string quartet a picnic dinner on the lawn
an archtop guitar

a game of croquet a storm approaching from the south 

a Council, Idaho July 4th parade
a dogwood blooming like laughter

a cottonwood’s seedpods exploding amidst May’s bees 

a future loaded with blanks
where have you been all this time

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Grace #2

A smoky gray evening fraught with long-billed curlews & a pergola awash in pink roses & a maroon Pontiac Bonneville marooned in Daly City all unstuck in time—a wall clock lemon yellow & cornflower blue & thistle pink its face scalloped & floral—a checkerboard linoleum floor in a theater lobby—a single instant that stands in for forever like a luna moth in a truck stop sodium lamp

A Pennsylvania interstate phosphorescent at 3:00 a.m. & strewn with cigarettes & impossible laughter & poetic voices & other suicidal gestures—a smoky gray evening fraught with a gray Dodge pick-up hauling a horse trailer down North Grays Creek Rd & the polyrhythms of hummingbird wings—& here comes another star & it’s just as you say the stars are shattered glass like a C major 7 chord that won’t stop ringing

A mild dissonance a cognitive dissonance a tiger lily a paperback copy of Alcools tipped over on a shelf a pack of Camel lights beside an Adirondack chair a Bloody Mary garnished with celery all unstuck in time—a willow tree fraught with sparrows & the limbs are guitar strings in smoky gray air you cannot touch—a statue of Nuestra Señora housed in a scrap metal shrine beside a pink rose—a single instant that stands in for forever

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

If memory serves me right it was time for dessert
not to mention a beige cottage house baked into a
shimmering egg crust this happened so long ago last
Thursday or earlier even another lifetime etc.
outside the lemon sun gleamed thinly pungent
a gray haired mutt was turning
circles in the street of course you spoke to it
simpatico of course &
that street really went no place
& that snow wasn’t granulated sugar that snow was
salt in everyone involved’s
wounds &
you were almost gone just then Good -
bye good-bye this is something like
memory, a late winter’s day oh
early afternoon
Then I thought I found love &
lost it & I thought I found love & lost
it walking the floor off-tempo couldn’t
eat couldn’t sleep etc. a country song & so forth the
years passed as they do pass they were
red peonies shedding their petals where Eberle
planted them next to the hammock
& under the cottonwood not to mention a
tune you hear dreaming you can even hum it
you wake up the tune is lost inside yourself
it’s the red red taste
of the best pie you ever ate sad to say that was
long long ago last Saturday you were
                                                      someone else
                                                      & love was different then
                                                      a magnolia in February
                                                      a moonlit railroadcar diner
                                                      an fm radio dialed far left of the dial
& I thought I found love &
did like a ’58 Harmony archtop cradled in my arms & my
lap & found love & sat lonesome & loved & savoring
those last forkfuls of strawberry
rhubarb pie Eberle’s baked again & has spooned on a
blue blue china plate & you don’t know this however the
rhubarb’s growing where now and again a sunset
drips syrupy thru the honeysuckle hedge
& the thorn tree’s growing there too
& that’s all about love after all this Friday &
for awhile
& nothing’s bitter just now only
memory tho memory’s not bitter

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


A curlew whooping & dipping between the 
dimensions you look up but you don’t see it the 
ghost swooping into the past & future the present’s
so rarely here in my hands the washed-out yellow & purple 
twilight that lasts forever in early July
                                                                a caquelon first rubbed
with a garlic clove then melting raclette I
want to ask everyone what they want in this poem I can’t 
it’s all up to me now the heat lightning the crusts of
bread the swallows zigzagging toward every cardinal 
point the poems
I wrote & may write & haven’t written & won’t the
words you speak when you’re standing outside yourself &
wonder why all the while
                            dipping between dimensions the pale 
purple twilight melts into the space-time continuum
just another Star Trek: the Next Generation episode the USS 
Enterprise suddenly shifting at light speeds into the wrong place at 
the right time or vice-versa—this happens all the time
the consistent heat that keeps the cheese from burning
it could be Gruyère stirred constantly the ghostly twilight yellow 
melting—tinges of purple—it could be raclette the white sky 
overhead awash with curlews you can’t see I want to ask everyone 
what comes next in this poem it’s up to me of course—the words 
you regret—the words we don’t say of course we mean them so 
urgently we say something else a joke perhaps dipping into
the past the future present’s so rarely here—the natural sustain 
of an archtop acoustic’s low E string humming for seconds & 
seconds until you damp it
                                                                by accident the curlew dipping 
between the Gruyère & raclette patches of sky its call
melting into the poems I won’t write
                                                                        in this pale purple twilight 
at some point I’ve held everything in my hands at some points
I’ve held nothing why can’t I ask everyone what they want in this 
poem a thin crust of toasted cheese—not burnt—what remains
the sky as purple as a bruise in the east—There was a
Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode like this

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Macaroni & Cheese

A C augmented chord huffing autumn thru a 12-button accordion when
the evenings are guinea hen gray
                                            we have seen so much & forever is so
short a time really the gusts coming down off Council Mountain full of
geese & swans & now it’s March & you said
“You’re making a white sauce,” incredulously because I didn’t know any better

Yellow marimba mallets bouncing down a chromatic bass line the willow
tree you showed me where to plant is grown into goldfinches chirping all May—
6 tablespoons of butter melting in a copper pot with
                                            flour black pepper paprkia
the willow’s leaves the china jade & honey agate rosary beads the
tree of life—time is moving chromatic & crisp & hollow
along the wooden keys—“Dreaming on clouds of butter fat” you said—

Something about our life & the recipes found in a 1933 Fannie Farmer
Cookbook is both the same & alien—whisking the roux & the white white
sky in July the smoke from the Snake River valley fires
inexorable as a freight train crossing Oregon
                                            as things breaking down
inside & 3 cups of milk which can be 2% fat if you wish

& things breaking down inside the body that is—the milk & flour
thickening in the whisk—a syncopated flute solo starting on low
E recalling how Yellow-headed Blackbirds
                                            sing guttural & vanish
“Is it really 6 cups of grated cheese?” you asked, astonished.
Yes I said yes & I meant it everlasting i.e. a lifetime is how many years the chokecherries scarlet in autumn the frozen fog sculpting the willow in

December the juncos foraging for seeds across the deck a layer of
macaroni (cooked al denté 1st – a layer of cheese—a layer of macaroni topped with cheese & white sauce—repeat—the stoneware pot baked at 400 roughly
45 minutes—you know when it’s done when you see it—
                                            I’ve said everything I meant
to say to you—a bowed bass trembling against your body—I’ve really said nothing

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pasta Alleluia

Lots of people I haven’t understood in this lifetime—
& I haven’t seen olive trees gesturing in breezes
overlooking the Mediterranean like evacuees from Bullfinch

except unmoving—the people I haven’t
understood in this lifetime but loved—& holding my hand a few
inches over the sauté pan I can tell the oil’s ready for the

garlic Eberle grew in the two rows she harvests in June—because the
people I loved I haven’t understood, I was busy thinking
about them—lightly browned, the garlic’s set aside, & chopped morels

our friends left for us added now with ground pepper—of all the
people I haven’t understood & have said I loved
—as the mushrooms wilt & soak up oil—

I haven’t walked where the forest burnt last summer, that’s
where the morels have sprouted amongst the blackened
lodgepole pine—of all the people I’ve loved

nearly the best & almost the worst & not
understood for a minute—& Eberle’s pensive
in her garden picking the spring mix—a simple balsamic dressing—of

all the people I haven’t understood & wanted to—
the chopped Kalamatas add lots of salt—about two dozen—&
the pine nuts & the oregano I never measure—

& Dani says, “I wouldn't wish writing poetry on anyone"—
tho there’s nothing else just now—keep the water at
a simmer so it’s ready for the pasta & it’s time

now—of all the people I haven’t loved well—a
guitar song I wrote for Eberle after a quarrel—the lonesome
train tracks leading everywhere past the Russian Olive groves including

Los Angeles—on the guitar she gave me like
love itself she gave me—of all the people I’ve loved
yes I’ve loved some of them like a guitar perhaps—salting the water—

& there’s another language amongst people who love
& a language to speak about it—talking all night like an
alleluia like a mandocello—

the people I haven’t understood—the pasta’s drained &
tossed—this is so far the hardest poem
before the next poem in this lifetime

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Potato Salad

The sky, too, needs to be white, not exactly an oboe awash in Debussy but maybe a clarinet basking in a Hoagy Carmichael chromatic progression & lolling about in mid-register where the clouds are practically smoky curtains—

& a tenor ukulele strummed in a green canoe in a pond where those clouds are floating topsy-turvy amidst the patches of duckweed—

cilantro, chopped fine, is crucial—the odor of leafing thru sheet music in a used bookstore San Francisco late 90’s & the musty pages & the breezes off the Pacific slightly green with kelp—

some brand of delicatessen mustard—poignant with horseradish—neglected words on any lemonade June day when it seems there are light years at least to say them while a guitar transmits watermelons bicycles Dorothy Sayers’ mysteries beyond the bluish & optimistic horizon—

which is also white though with a yellow patina—the potatoes are Yukon Golds & some say chop them larger & some say smaller—when we were young we were so extraordinarily young like the strings on a baritone uke strumming Blue Moon like a Ferris wheel & the picnic table beside the lake stands empty as the long twilight starts to edge down—

tho really only fresh Ranch dressing will do—the buttermilk warmth— & plenty of ground black pepper—& the sky, too, needs to be blue as worn denim or blue as a Crayola sky blue crayon melting for hours & hours over Golden Gate Park—

& not thinking too much how it all slowly goes into indigo as the clarinet sighs down to low G & below & deeper blue as is most everything else—

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Greek Salad

An heirloom tomato chopped not sliced a scarlet
daylily unfurled—page 27 of La physiologie du goût
in english translation the evening star blooming yellow this
Independence Day & yellow fireworks gesticulating
broadly over Indian Valley a butter-yellow
daylily unfurled—we were walking home from the
end of the world up the dirt road it’s only a
quarter of a mile roughly—a cucumber sliced
unpeeled tho—everything’s raw this evening
                                                                        another evening
the fog rolling southward along Divisidero it was
curtains sewn from cigarette smoke a greek
salad to go from the pizzeria on the corner at
Fulton—the raw raw lonesome air—
                                                                        another evening
the dogwoods budding whitely the smoke from a
Lucky Strike swirling hopeless thru the Virginia twilight the
sliced red onion the pale magenta
daylily unfurled in the garden this afternoon my
life a salad of recollections & flowers—a white plate a
white page speckled with words a white
daylily unfurled—the salad seasoned with
salt ground pepper oregano
                                                                        another evening
drinking Rolling Rock & heartbroken in Vermont a
kid only a kid really the purple sky’s a
bruise above the purple lake a purple
daylily unfurled this afternoon—crumbled
feta & pitted Kalamatas—it’s taken
52 years so far – these daylilies
unfurl briefly—they say Brillat-Savarin
dying left the world like a satisfied diner
tho we’re walking back downhill
tho the sky’s folding its blue-violet petals

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, April 9, 2011

French Toast

Goldfinches camped out & hectic atop the yokes of
dandelions asked the musical question I
couldn’t catch—the world grows larger some days

the fruit trees blooming white & pink & rustling with
sparrows— the world gets smaller—a kitchen beating free-range
eggs with a fork in a red glass mixing bowl &

how much cinnamon & nutmeg whisked into the eggs these things are
measured in pinches like a dream I dreamed dreaming What
larks! everything’s a laugh—

meadowlarks giggling in the pasture just now
this orange & blue marmalade morning L’amour la poésie
means nothing more than the world transformed thru a lonesome

Hank Williams’ whippoorwill yodel or the paired low C’s vibrating
over a mandocello’s mahogany soundboard
a scrumptious breakfast with sunshine

pouring Grade A fancy amber through the matchstick blinds a peal of
lovely laughter a rupture in the world’s brown eggshell—
the world grows large again back at the ranch I’m

dipping wheat bread into the egg mixture the unsalted
butter skating across the cast-iron skillet the egg-soaked bread
sizzles in goldenly—& orange wedges drip on blue plates my blue

heart my red heart my golden heart opens & closes &
shrinks & grows— the world I know the people I
hold in my heart as it grows & breaks—the

world is el corazón in a Mexican painting the brown
eggshell broken & full & inscribed—the goldfinches
scattering into the blue from the blossoms &

the French Toast’s served with Grade A fancy
light amber like a window—the golden crust this morning
is everyone’s sweet eggshell heartache

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Grace #1

A smoky-gray evening fraught with black-headed grosbeaks, when time passes thru you & casts a shadow—you’re at the confluence of what must be & what might—& radio voices echoing in outer space beyond the cell tower glinting in blush rose sunset atop the mesa

You could reach for the sky but you couldn’t touch it—the phosphorescent planet off to your left—the thin dime moon to your right—the smoky-gray air fraught with hummingbirds & a helicopter’s fixed pulse—you can hardly help but think about deserts: crows swooping giddy over Owyhee fossils & petrified wood & the one diner standing wooden & tin-roofed between Jordan Valley & McDermitt—spiked Joshua Tree March blooms & an abandoned diner its windows boarded with plywood at the Mohave’s northern edge—a black upholstered armchair on the porch in a Nevada ghost town—the sunrise whitewashing mineral deposits across rocks & sand
& hot springs

A serving of coconut cream pie in a chrome & linoleum diner in Needles, CA—a wrong turn at Barstow towards the City of Angels—an angel-winged begonia blooming in a February corner beside a glass-top table—a piper betle’s heart-shaped leaves spilling off a shelf below an icon of Our Lady of Mercy—a mulberry dress with gray print a china bust of the BVM a dormant poplar—time passing thru you & casting an echo across the porch

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, April 2, 2011

“the past didn’t go anywhere”

the story I told about the mourning dove’s coo in
the draw a low gray clarinet note washed over by

sparrows’ silver chatter the grapefruit sunrise the one
pink poppy coming awake amongst orange poppies the

irises purple & yellow & maroon a metal spiral
staircase outside an old white farmhouse a teardrop

mandolin posed on the lawn near the young catalpa’s
teardrop leaves—the story I told about red red shoots of beb

willows in the draw & the stream’s liquid song thru the
underbrush a purple chord on an archtop guitar in a per-

petual evening—& the lilacs’ whispering evening even at
6 a.m.—the story I told about the mourning dove’s coo in the

beb willows & the sparrows’ rippling conversation—ok
I know “the past didn’t go anywhere”—the stream’s liquid

song the cowbirds’ liquid song a horse trailer rattling up the
dirt road—the story I told didn’t go anywhere in

the grapefruit sunrise—traveling into the past to avoid
death—we talked about that & sex which is perpetually

now—the mourning dove’s gray coo in the grapefruit
sunrise wasn’t the past it was a memory drenched in the

stream’s liquid song over slate gray rocks where per-
petual past & future embrace in a liquid moment

quote is from folksinger/songwriter Utah Phillips

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ghazal 5/23

the electrical chirp of cicadas at 3:00 a m a warm
sky swarming with sparks of stars

a time prior to sleep’s invention in the hollows of an
archtop guitar trembling an A six chord thru the f-holes

a time prior to lilacs & the columbine petals’
violet gentle stare the white eye streaked purple

a glossolalia of crickets amongst holly
leaves in a Virginia backyard dusk August 1984

the cigarette smoke growing moths’ wings the
white web lawn chairs the green air asking for grief

the locus of sleep’s invention amidst a
flurry of spectral butterflies grazing the columbines’

eyes—I’m mostly awake—sparks of stars
scintillate thru crepe myrtles prior to meaning’s invention a

blue & green & gray chord plucked on an archtop
guitar in the purple void—a columbine’s eye

lidded in electric night—always sparks of stars al-
ways a time before time was a time after time

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ghazal 5/16

waxing crescent afloat within a white nimbus—
nothing’s distinct—a tremoloed note on a

mandolin & the willow limbs’ gray resignation—an-
other night amongst visitations convinced I’m really there—

a Virginia cottage house on a street “that
really went no place”—a silence with eyes singing

hysterically & I said Let’s dance taking her hand &
she turned aside— another visitation across pages

of poems singing You must change your life
a walk thru muttering streets thru a white fog—I

keep writing the same poem for how many
nights & years & mornings a streetlight’s white

nimbus beyond an electric typewriter’s midnight hum in a
Virginia cottage house—a tremoloed mandolin a hysterical

silence becoming a blurry nimbus the weeks & years
& hours of the same poem repeated a

visitation becoming dawn’s twilight a
tremolo on a mandolin this whitening morning

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ghazal 5/11

the difference between frail pink quince petals & delicate yellow
pistil & an inability on the part of two young people to

speak their hearts’ desire is a breeze shifting the willow ‘s
delicate boughs on a spring morning when I’m 52 already my

beard streaked gray like a white-crowned sparrow—the
difference between rollicking whitecaps across Lake Champlain past

the causeway toward South Hero & the words in a young
heart saying “there will always be a time” is a yellow headed blackbird’s

harsh trill in cattails surrounding a pond reflecting an un-
clouded sky—the difference between grape vines embracing the cedar

posts in contorted gestures & two chairs in an apartment in a white
building beyond a red door in Burlington, VT is a

young peach tree’s pink blossoms beside a wrought-iron
glass-topped table reflecting blue haze—the difference be-

tween an inability for young quince petal lips to tell the entire story &
the call of sandhill cranes circling becomes a May forenoon scribbled with poems

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, March 19, 2011

“what can we talk about that will take all night?”

footsteps descending a staircase a cello played pizzicato
a sense of anticipation within the ribs the

blue haze this morning the redwinged blackbirds’
chirp amongst the cherry blossoms an unsettling

silence in an amber apartment a skybluepink porcelain
Blessed Virgin on a knickknack shelf

there was always something left unsaid—
10 years prior footsteps coming down stairs in a blue

Vermont summer evening the damp air off the big lake the
Virginia air spring 1987 was a red rose blossom on a white

pergola an unsettling silence pulsing pizzicato around an em-
brace beside a staircase the unsettling skybluepink

laughter around an embrace the “thin whistled
notes” of white-crowned sparrows’ song within a cottonwood’s

boughs—columbine about to bloom—a room trembling with
anticipation within the ribs—a

sob in the hedge a laugh in the green green streetlamp’s light—
a sigh inside the ribs a mahogany mandocello’s low

C-string tremolo the continual thrill of birdsong in the
cottonwood this morning the echo of unsaid words

(quote from Kenneth Patchen’s Do The Dead Know What Time It Is?)

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

“it is night and it is serious”

a full moon’s amber light in indigo void a homestead’s
sodium light floating ghostly against the lower

ridgeline—an amber light in a floor lamp a hard-
cover book laid open across a birdseye maple table the words

were buried—I remember we used to sit together & read—an
amber light upstairs in a restaurant a candlelight’s sharp

blonde gesture inside the larger light & ghost-green
floodlights along Interstate 95 north past Perth Amboy the

green Vermont light thru lace curtains all evening we
used to sit together & read
—a petrified silence the printed

words’ black gestures in amber light the full moon in
indigo void a Virginia indigo evening in a hilarious restaurant the

hennaed manic laughter “like dice shook”—the tailights’ red
shift fading along Interstate 81 south thru purple shadows

& printed words in a full moon’s amber light in a void—
the Vermont living room’s pine paneling a hennaed

page a ride thru ghost green light & serious words
I remember we used to sit together & read

(quote from Kenneth Fearing’s Green)

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ghazal 5/9

two green morning stars phosphoresce above Indian Mountain
5:30 a m & finches & sparrows’ staccato outcry in willows’

arms & gray sky melting to whiteness a two story white
house & two green morning stars phosphoresce in a once up-

on a time whitewashed morning July 1978 & gray white air beyond the
screen window beyond a blue green orange batik—it could have been a

river—there aren’t any poems about this there’s 1 photo snapped
sometime later—red door & six steps—two green morning stars phos-

phorescing in a once upon a time distance amongst deep green
leaves & pungent white morning I didn’t have words for this

phosphorescence & you had few enough we were green
morning stars phosphorescing this morning & distant beyond a

screen window & sparrows call greenly to mates re-
peated patterns thru the weeping willow’s yellow empty arms
Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

song my father taught me

a Vermont May dusk so gray it turned green a 
mallow leaf afloat on a black glass beaver pond

dad sank it a wrist-flick a gulp the stone gone
too amongst trilliums & ferns & jack-in-the-pulpit the

deep green & the grape vines gone native—a green
rowboat a caged white lightbulb dangling on a freight elevator in a

paper mill the dark air sinks more deeply in the light 

a metallic fish presence dad’s black lunchbox

dented & heavy he fished in black pools
where perch swirled yellow the sawdust’s choking sweetness

in his workshop under the bandsaw’s gray evening whirr a
Black Ghost fly trawled in black bitter glacier lakes for

rainbow trout a metallic fish presence I think a-
mongst the silver birches & black glassy rocks the birches

grasped in roots my dad’s ruined black glass memory a 

landscape without a definite article to its name

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, March 5, 2011

“don’t think twice”

a yellow headed blackbird’s trilled caw a gaudy 
orange tritone atop a cottonwood tree—I used the

word plangent in a poem once—primary colors mingling to- 

ward orange green & purple is this all 1 big party—

what larks— a goldfinch dandelion riot across the lawn the 

honeybees mounting the yellow fringe an oval mirror

in a garden a peach blush daffodil it could be some-
body I once knew her dogwood petal flurry of adjectives in

rose-pink twilight her verbs meantime compulsed thru amber air
I want to sing something devastatingly simple not

do re mi in a C# labial frenzy—it’s just what happened—
it ain’t no use etc. a pink & blue porcelain Blessed

Virgin morning sky across the harmonic convergence a 

white sundress a yellow rose bouquet a secret passage a

yellow headed blackbird strutting in yellow sunlight pecking 

cracked corn a Nuestra Señora statue praying a faded

rainbow palette beside a well       an image I ought to 

transmit to someone I don’t recall the name

(title with apologies to Bob Dylan)

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ghazal 5/4

an opera’s snowfall in a wooden music box 
a silhouette at a harpsichord pet-

rified between chords—white gloves caressing Easter 

weekend the Canadian bare silver birches 1982 a

north wind barging thru hopper windows the peri- 

winkle blue crocuses hold out their periwinkle blue

hands in the lemon Easter morning the daffodils spreading 

butter along the garden’s edge you can practically

see this in the oval mirror in a library an oval mirror
in an orange swoon the orange tulips the lipstick crimson

tulips after an evening of laughter & unbearable 

youth the trumpeter swans in the neighbor’s pasture

a landscape whitewashed in an opera’s snowfall—
white gloves folded across bare ground in a love act

the mourning doves on a power line cooing A minor nine 

while daybreak returns to the present

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ghazal 5/3

everything as if in a picture the apple
tree budding in drizzle beside the barbed wire fence a dark

cornerpost bent backwards the tension of three wire strands
& cherry blossoms steeped in raindrops I’m strolling up-

hill thru the Haight in a mist dazzled by love I’m strolling
an aimless magnolia morning in Charlottesville white white

petals slick underfoot I have nowhere to go—a room
I can’t recall red sofa blue paisley curtains black

leather upholstered chairs a secret passage a 

library giving onto a garden seen in a mirror a

white magnolia bloom in the backyard & fleshy
holly I’m walking thru glass almost unscathed the Conservatory of

Flower’s glass dome on a gray spring morning purple 

dahlias rhododendrons’ lips the calla lilies gestures the

red roses brimming across a white pergola a white sun dress 

somewhere else—Virginia in spring white white magnolia

littering my mind amongst the clutter
in a fully furnished room in a mirror’s garden

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ghazal 5/1

when stars flowered white & green & shattered to
constellations blooming over Indian Mountain as yet the summit

invisible in a sky that could be night tho it’s morning the
red roses brimming across a white pergola a white sun dress a

porcelain Blessed Virgin—the Joshua Trees’ white flowers
flowering thru shattered Owens Valley the

history of water in the city of angels etched into dry lakes the
stars’ petals unfurled along an invisible ridgeline—white roses for

innocence—hailstones pelting the driveway yesterday morning a
water glass smashed to constellations & orange

roses equal desire & lavender roses for love at
first sight Dante’s for instance—stars blossomed lavender white red a

Joshua Tree’s hunchbacked bouquets conferred whitely a
boarded-up diner’s windows shattered to constellations a pink gem-

stone rosary my father carried in wartime a porcelain Virgin—the
stars blooming white & yellow thru this sky’s

black waters tho it’s morning somewhere tho not here the
yellow stars shattered tho yellow roses say goodbye

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ghazal 4/29

at 5:00 a m the stars are suspended raindrops thru the kitchen
window is there any sound in the smothered velvet air the

cascade of one semi southerly down the highway a huge exhalation a
transistor radio crackling a Red Sox game thru a

Rockingham VT hemlock green spring evening a screened-in porch in
1966 listening to balls & strikes with a man whose breathing was

labored—he did sit quiet in hemlock green air rising from the green
Connecticut River the house built into a hill it had hemlock green

trim—the new moon’s velvet dark this morning around the teardrop
constellations—a baseball scudding into leftfield at a park in

San Francisco a honeydew green spring morning 1996 the
memory of April air—the silence of baseball punctuated with the

report of a bat the silence of listening punctuated with a
wheeze a rale a cough—the stoic crying velvet morning sky

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Thursday, February 17, 2011

“the rain is as classical as ever”

what else is like rain at 5 a m on the green tin roof a
marimba clucking a pentatonic scale under wool

mallets doesn’t cut it a clarinet in the backroom chirping
descending thirds doesn’t cut it an upright bass groaning chromatic

blues lines is not it—the coffee still steeping in the presspot
the mild embarrassment of dressing in the kitchen when only the

cows are lowing dark in dark pastures—so exposed
to no one with memories of the Greek alphabet carved in stone as the rain-

drops carve stones on the cliffs above Bodega Bay where the
gulls dip thru the mist & it’s last November & I could be

anywhere the rain drips on the green roof at 5 a m—
the tide pools awash in the surf off Lincoln City the

rain descending in sheets like extended chords
sounding crisp & without any sustain—a dish of

ravioli swimming in marinara a white tablecloth—
dressing in the dark as the coffee steeps ex-

posed a classical guitar left out on the
green tin roof in the rain & I could be singing

Jack Hayes
© 2010
(quote from Anne Waldman’s Holy City)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Distance Equals Rate Times Time

the distance between a grey stone diner in South Hero, VT &
this green salad day April 27th 2009—the unsettled sky

the goldfinches’ hollow whistle—the distance as
measured against the speed of light or any imagined constant—

I have nothing to say about the white cirrus clouds as they canoed
over the motley sky in a distant Vermont October—a Camel straight a plaid

scarf a cream turtleneck an instamatic camera the wind de-
scending thru Canadian silver birches their fall leaves in-

congruous lemons shaken in a grey breeze—the cattle across the
road grazing on new grass the prussian blue clouds waiting for birds to

measure the distance to & in fact my mind wandering—the
geese veering across the bosom of Sage Hill late last month

there isn’t any circumference there isn’t any
fixed center there isn’t any sky blue nothingness to fly back into

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"6 Impossible Things Before Breakfast"

blue dahlias a bass clarinet strewed thru golden gate park that mango
california forenoon you didn’t drop by for java & poems & smokes the

orange tulip rufous hummingbird dreams in this April’s new moon
perigee midnight amongst phosphorescent solar lights afloat in the dark-

ling garden—the hex sign sunrise emerging from Lake Erie a milk-paint
yellow horizon swabbing brushstrokes across the harmonic convergence a

vibraphone nestled amongst yellowed birch leaves last October the
leaves afloat in the Weiser River’s troubled glass—magenta

ice plants scattered across the Ocean Beach dunes that lime green
Saturday you couldn’t make it for bicycling & java the Blue Ridge

Virginia brick walkway dotted with dogwood petals those fractal
Petrarchan sonnets scattered by footsteps speaking in off-rhymes only

Jack Hayes
© 2010

(quote from Lewis Carrol’s Through the Looking Glass)


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ghazal 4/27

redwinged blackbirds trilling from willow
limb to willow limb as the morning unfolds most blue & yellow

a daffodil bouquet in a white & green vase almost gone past the
blooms slightly wrinkled & fatigued a consciousness

vanishing as it shrivels—a rest home in Florida the staff
puffing cigarettes by the walkway the morning light quiet thru

tall windows—not knowing the time or the day or the circumstance—a
boat in the grey Gulf of Mexico rolling across the swell the

cormorants the scarcity of things to say amongst the orange bouys &
white gulls an am radio tuned to the Ray Conniff Orchestra’s sharpened

strings in Vermont in a green July humming with grey wasps nests
suspended above the workshop’s screen windows, the tablesaw’s

dire hum the shellac's metallic fish presence a
summer evening grey in the garden amongst orange poppies

the pipe smoke’s choking sweetness dispelled thru the trellis this
Idaho morning shifting to grey above the blue blue hills

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ghazal 4/25

a 1940s car chassis planted amongst trilliums & ferns &
jack-in-the-pulpit the deep green & the grape vines gone native

as helixes climbing the maples—a creamy orange light
swathed to the east & the prehistoric hills & mountains

insubstantial & blue gray as storm clouds falling into the horizon
there was a refrigerator without a door a white bulk amongst

underbrush—white & the tiny flowers of rust blossoming
‘round the hinges—a club house with 1 window & 1 bench en-

wrapping another maple & later swept away amidst logs & green
rowboats & brown trout in the flood the sky is white in the

pond right now the water glass the poplars along the creek reflected
vibrantly green the cows lowing & grazing the sparrows

& blackbirds busy in the willow’s supplely
gesticulating branches the fractious swell of the Saxtons River thru

a 1960s Vermont woodland we no longer have access
to—the static pond to the east out of reach & white this white morning

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ghazal 4/24

the willow’s limbs fidget in an April breeze from the west
& the sun is nonetheless blind white in implacable blue

so I have to ask why the dead & the lost come to visit
as I wander the night away in an old house up a staircase

a maple bannister a light in a cut glass fixture a cold white
light—the bedsheets creased & wrinkled into alphabets &

so I have to ask why we have travelled so far from the white white
magnolia blooms of another April & the granite statue of Christ loom-

ing at Swannanoa lugubrious & floating on another wind rattling
with laughter “like dice shook” I said—the breeze agitating the willow

voicelessly—in a supermarket parking lot far over the hills & the
rolling gnarl of bitterbrush & the rudbeckia’s buttery eruption—

we were going our separate ways & there was eye contact
unsettling across the blue cigarette smoke years the curtains carried

across a street to a house as dark as spruce trees en-
circling a Vermont backyard in an August green

dusk—the lost & the dead come turning their faces into the
breeze—the sharp white ripples across the wind-stirred pond

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Good Morning, Again

Hello, folks.  My life over the past couple of months has involved a lot of things going much differently than I anticipated.  Overall, the surprises have been for the good—a very fortunate thing, indeed.

So here’s another surprise: The Spring Ghazals blog is back, tho with quite a bit different format than in the past.  From here on out, I’ll be posting the actual poems from the book, two per week (I’m thinking Wednesday & Saturday as an ongoing schedule, tho this week’s poem will post on Friday).  That means there should be posts thru July, at which point I’ll assess what the blog’s ongoing function might be.  But from now until then, it’ll be all poetry, all the time.

This means a choice of course, for you as poetry reader, not to say, consumer.  You can read all the poems on the blog over the course of these next several months, gratis, or you can shell out actual money to have a book.  An interesting thought I’ve been entertaining recently is that books may not go obsolete as some have predicted, but instead become “premium” items.  Just as many recording artists now allow you to “pay what you want” (sometimes even without setting a minimum price) for downloadable music, but charge for CDs or, even more especially, vinyl, the future of publishing” may follow suit in some way, especially as the net allows poets & fiction writers to become independent artists, operating outside the traditional publishing models.  Time, as usual, will tell—even if it doesn’t tell us.

So, please swing on by from time to time to read the poems!  They will be posted in “book order,” with the first poem, “Ghazal 4/24” appearing on Friday January 21st, & then one poem each on subsequent Wednesdays & Friday until the manuscript is complete. 

& now for a words from our sponsors!

The Spring Ghazals can be purchased at any of the following online outlets:

Barnes & Noble (new—& a bargain at $11.40 US!)
Amazon UK (£7.94)

Both Amazon & Lulu have the book for $12 US.