Wednesday, February 22, 2017

octet through a #4 bus window


there's no pattern to the raindrops unless you
look for it—rhododendron overhanging

that moss-fraught retaining wall seems heavy though;
one crow flies over an empty parking lot,

school children clustered in blue, yellow, red,
purple raincoats wait for the light, one clutching

a floral umbrella; no one on park swings:
black ripples along the curb run this way too

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Two More Octets

22nd ave octet

mauve crocuses rising like the lawn’s desire,
delicate, sure, but headstrong, insistent in

front of a balconied stucco house; next door,
seven pink lawn flamingos variously

faded from sun, but not today’s sun, circle
sleeping tulips—of course they’ll wake up, & I

might see that too; elsewhere, an empty window
box once painted barn red, now peeled to raw wood


mississippi ave octet

where the Chinese evergreen oak lets down its
green hair, so generous, the filaments burn,

amber triangles in teardrop bulbs dangling
between posts; of course the Japanese maple’s

waking up back of the slat fence; down the street,
two Mylar heart balloons float on white ribbons

near locked bicycles; after walking six miles
it seems safe to say desire is infinite

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Two Octets

mississippi ave octet

slats on the garden bench look rickety; it
leans away from a whisky barrel planter

crammed with dead vines; the fig tree branches
out smooth, taupe, pruned; rose bush can’t let go of those
last dozen black leaves; daffodils perforate
clay, fern fronds struggle through bricks laid at random—

the orange tabby cat hunches on porch steps,
eyes fixed where sun might take cover past rooftops


alberta st octet

lime green chair tipped over in the vacant lot,
beside it on asphalt a tree limb speckled

with lichen; by a black rocker two black cats
stare out yellow eyed from a porch; the boxwood

is clipped, a shovel with yellow blade lies down
by a white fluted flower urn gone askew

& moldy; magnolia figo grows dense
past a board fence put there perhaps for graffiti

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

“Yo soy la locura”

Today’s Sunday Music selection features Montserrat Figueras, accompanied by Hespèrion XXI. The recording is from their 2007 Alia Vox album, Ludi Musici.

This setting for “Yo soy la locura” was composed by Henri de Bailly, who lived in the early 17th century. A rough translation of the original Spanish follows:

I am Folly
Which solely inspires
Pleasure, sweet feeling,
& joy in this world.

All serve my name,
Whether in great things or poor
Yet there is no man
Who thinks himself a fool.

You can find the original text at this link.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
Giotto: The Seven Vices - Foolishness (1306, Fresco, 120 x 55 cm, Cappella degli Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua, Italy) – 1306
Public domain

Friday, February 17, 2017

albina ave double octet


waxing moon with sea of tranquility framed
between utility lines; a chair, white paint

peeling, carved seat holding water, appears to
be free; rain’s stopped & one stratocumulus

takes on the cedar’s contours, billowing east;
tires are stacked four high between  heaped bramble

& chain link; a crack in that side street’s pavement
curves west toward the watertower’s black rise

a privacy screen woven from dried bamboo:
lawn chair half visible past it & windows

mirroring buildings reflecting this late light—
down the street a fence rail lashed to a tree trunk

with nylon rope, a pink child’s car flipped over,
a curbside basketball hoop with blue backboard;

inside a cedar’s skirts a flock of juncos
chirps electric, naming the liminal hour

Jack Hayes
© 2016

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Two Octets from the North End

kerby ave octet

red push reel mower collapsed on a sloped lawn
under a camellia; were this summer,

a corner to take in shade on fresh trimmed grass;
but this grass droops shaggy, nobody’s in sight,

& the drizzle is a cold kiss on cold skin;
a pergola draped in honeysuckle’s bones

leads no place: around the corner a holly
hides the scrub jay, its glissando going sharp


vancouver ave octet

fractured cedar branches laid out by the curb,
a rose-pink parks & rec sign with white letters

uprooted on a lawn, 5-gallon bucket
filling with rainwater where bergenia leaves

pile up—tires hiss south down the avenue;
ivy vines gone dormant on pickets glisten:

one streetlight shines up from the puddle raindrops
ripple as if they wrote the script for kindness

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Two Octets from Early February

ice storm morning octet

beyond window glass, gray clouds shifting northwest;
ice glaze on the asphalt still gathers fragments

from lights not yet extinguished as day rises:
the cedars sway in their row, keeping tempo,

then halt—four crows strut the lot, a fifth glides on
imagined wind; last night, frozen staccato

tapping the window screen; these alien codes,
these shingles gone white, these dreams that don’t wake up


6th ave octet

rainwater plunges from terracotta cornices,
hits the brick sidewalk, a window atomized—

across the avenue a single green bike
locked & fragile where Corinthian columns

rise higher than catenaries—whirling stream
sweeps leaves past the curb;  bus shelter roof glass

multiplies water fractals, frozen, liquid:
above, white icicles on one plane tree branch

Jack Hayes
© 2017