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