Monday, January 23, 2017

political double octet


scrub jay alights in the leafless persimmon
& the empire collapses, right to left—

this is easy to prove: one person,
face covered by blankets, sleeps on the sidewalk

as ice falls & there’s nothing left to be bought—
this metastasis of a pre-existing

condition aired on TVs through big windows—
erratic flight of five crows over Burnside

◦    ◦    ◦

robins chirped this afternoon from the hawthorn
& the empire has collapsed, left to right—

it wasn’t unexpected: one person in
blue sleeping bag cocoon, black wheelchair parked, sleeps

as wind strews microscopic glass shards down 6th
& the bus moans to terminus; there’s nothing

left to be bought & there’s too much light for stars:
this chance to be human in the moon’s shadow

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017


For your Sunday listening pleasure: more Zoë Keating from MacWorld 2011.

Today’s selection is her performance of “Exurgency”, originally released on her 2004 EP, One Cello x 16. “Exurgent” is an old word, from Latin “exsurgere”, & it means “coming to light”, “arising”. It’s one of my favorite Keating pieces.

Please do yourselves a favor: visit her website & buy her music. Zoë Keating is an independent musician who does all her own recording, producing, & promoting in addition to composing & performing her music. She richly deserves our support!


Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
Zoë Keating at eTech in 2009 (12 March 2009)
originally posted to Flickr as zoe keating by Ed Schipul, who makes the image available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

two hallway octets



19th century men & women playing
baseball in an orchard, pillow as home plate,

in one photo; wallpapered room, a zither
on the wall, man with a harp guitar sporting

a necktie in the next; city street mirrored
on a car trunk, buildings bending away from

a 1939 plate into sky in
a third: merging with, emerging from white walls


a black baseball cap with embroidered cowboy
hangs from a metal knob; on the closet shelf,

Sandy Koufax autograph glove needs oiling,
shoeboxes stacked three deep—empty gig bag stuffed

between the wall & a green sport coat, rarely
worn now; rolled wrapping paper in one corner,

disassembled pedestal fan on the floor:
when the white door closes it all goes elsewhere

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Two Octets from an Ice Storm

sunday inventory octet

gamelan clink with cello ostinato
contrasts with ice clatter hitting the window;

a box of colored pencils, two matted prints,
Waley’s translation of The Book of Songs, black

bookmark protruding, sofa pillow’s compass
rose design on ecru fabric, collected

chord progressions in a black 3-ring notebook:
ice transmuting to rain as in morning’s dream

◦    ◦    ◦

bookshelf inventory

on the one hand The Romance of the Rose; on
the other, The Raymond Chandler Omnibus

a shame there’s no place for the printer except
the next to lowest shelf; at least it’s all dusted

now from black-spined Lord Dunsany to oddly
mauve Auto-da-Fé, cover slightly crinkled—

framed on opposite ends of the top shelf: Hicks
Peaceable Kingdom, Zhuangzi’s butterfly dream

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

five albina ave octets


golden bamboo leans forward in fluted urn
planters outside the adult day care as snow

swirls; maroon stucco walls, beige awning shades three
windows; down the street, rosemary profusion

& a black garage door; spurge leaves shrinks inward,
garden bench dusted with snow & long vacant—

fistfuls of firethorn clusters overhang this
black iron gate’s illegible graffiti


snow outlines hens & chicks between lava stones;
a single gold thread cypress nearby, branches

weeping trajectory; under slim bamboo
a slant corrugated shelters outdoor

tables no one is using; yellow bike locked
by the bus stop, empty green sparkling water

bottle laid on the sidewalk as though with care:
gray stone walkway turned white except for dark seams


chain link slats graffitied with a repeating
character & an apostrophe; inside, three

doors, paint flaked & joints separating, lean up
against barbed wire strands; a blue tarp billows but

what it covers is unknown unlike boxwood
rising green by the rolling gate; parking lot

up the street empty & white except the one
silver car & the storm drain’s black striations


herb garden held in a galvanized planter
painted white to match the brickwork, now snow glazed:

lemon balm’s chartreuse heart leaves, trailing ivy,
parsley & summer savory, out of place—

winter’s ten thousand fish teeth bite in the wind—
slatted bench bolted to the wall surrounded

by footprints; past the glass door a matching
planter shows its red Chinese lantern fruit husks



across the street from the tattoo parlor’s red
entrance, the pale, dormant seven-son flower;

no cars disturb new snow in the lot beyond
the pickets decorated with kids’ paintings,

polka dots, handprints, blossoms; by wooden steps,
two sentinel cement bantams are waiting—

on the white lawn a lone glass lantern either
fallen from the leafless sapling or the sky

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Two January Octets

infusion center octet

behind the curtain’s turquoise-violet shimmer
offering a forearm perforating vein

for the IV stick; then the anonymous
alien plasma, an IV pump’s rasped breaths—

on my right a fleshtone compression bandage
makes a tourniquet for a blank monitor;

on my perforated left no one watches
from the beige corner chair with its crescent arms

◦    ◦    ◦

sandy blvd octet

pawn shop’s color wheel of cordless drills, button
accordions, laptops, electric guitars—

twin privets lean in terracotta planters
on either side of the tavern’s half moon door—

traffic thrums past the hair salon, all tile, glass,
& black chairs; a helicopter, red taillight

pulsing, jangles north into mauve sky; westward
all the gold has drained down to the horizon

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

two beech street octets



stop sign bolted to a power pole; at its
base a toaster oven & a cardboard box

with caulking gun, roofing nails, & a brass hinge—
down the street, two nested sawhorses, weathered

gray & a cable spool in like condition;
aluminum wind chimes peal a major scale

from a stairway between cedars: sun reflects
off the travel trailer’s silver tarp blanket


two crows gazing west from the cherry’s black boughs;
one crow clucking on the power line against

a monochromatic sky where the half moon
tilts left over the ponderosa pine’s high

hopes; unleafed red maple bides its time
spreading branches, an uncanny open hand—

at the corner a discarded paperback
titled Lost Star: sun hovers not so far above roofs

Jack Hayes
© 2017