Monday, February 8, 2010

Helix #6

[with apologies to Kurt Vonnegut...]

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

A field of dissheveled 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 movie light
You've come 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

Jack Hayes
© 2010


  1. This one conjurs so many pleasurable images, Jack. Nice. I especially enjoyed the black heifer running loose.

  2. Hi Willow: So glad you liked it! There were actually two heifers on Indian Valley Road the other evening, but I took a bit of "poetic license."

  3. What a glorious Sears Roebuck of images!

  4. This is my favourite line particularly: "You have lived several lives & it’s come to this"

    John, do you write these from on-the-spot observations or is it a vision inside your head? I tend to do both, but often it's the memories of things that are more crystalized.

  5. Hi Dick & Kat

    Dick: Thanks--as someone who grew up with the Sears Xmas catalog's arrival being a major annual event, I really appreciate that.

    Kat: It's a combination of the two, with a pretty liberal amount of free association thrown in. These days I rarely pre-conceive where a poem will go to, but I just trust that it will reach somewhere reasonably satisfactory! It's hard to say whether memories or current observations are more vivid--maybe just vivid in different ways. For instance, the line "A red plush theater seat in the blue light" calls up a memory that's extremely vivid & bittersweet--not that knowing that is important to the poem--even tho as written it isn't meant to carry that off by itself. But the cattails & the doublewide, for instance, were things I'd seen that day.


Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts. Please do note, however, that this blog no longer accepts anonymous comments. All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience.