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