Monday, February 22, 2010

Two Helix Poems

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 vew 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 cumulous 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 vew from forever
So this is what forever looks like from here
So this is what we mean when we say

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 haromonium

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

[By the by: if you're interested in the Days of Wine & Roses book giveaway or if you'd like to hear my interview with the famed Lambchop, please check out Eberle's Monday post on Platypuss-in-Boots! If you'd like to enter the book giveaway, please be sure to leave a comment & to mention your interest in the giveaway in that comment. Comments on the contest may be left anytime from now thru Thursday!]


  1. I love the way you can pick lines from these poems almost at random and enjoy them in their own right.

  2. Fell St. brought this to my quirky little head...

    I do not like thee, Dr. Fell,
    The reason why I cannot tell;
    But this I know, and know full well,
    I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.

    I especially loved "bruised July sky" and "crepe myrtle giddy with blossoms".

  3. I love the way you can pick lines from these poems almost at random and enjoy them in their own right.

    I agree - each line and image contributes to the whole, but there are many that are just entire poems in and of themselves ("A sound wave cycling in a square white room","A dogwood blooming a quarter mile distant" are a couple of favorites)

    @ willow
    The Dr. Fell poem reminds me of the novel, Hannibal; Dr. Fell was Hannibal Lecter's alias...

  4. Hi Alan, Willow & HKatz

    Alan: Thanks! That's definitely part of the idea--fragmentary writing.

    Willow: Funny! Of course, I mean the Fell St that runs along the Panhandle in San Francisco. Glad you liked it!

    HKatz: Yes, as I mentioned to Alan above! Thanks for the comment--I like that sound wave line pretty well if I do say so myself.

  5. I've told you before how much I like these Helix poems. (What's the plural?) No matter what you call them, I like the disparate images that somehow make sense to me.

  6. Hi Karen: I've been very gratified by the response to these, very much so, & I appreciate your kind words. I do think this sequence is close to an end--I even think there's some chance that #11 might be the last, tho I don't want to go out too far on a limb. There may be one or possibly two more.

  7. Hi, I just stumbled across you via TFE's blog, and have to say I like both these so much, particularly the first one-
    Snow on Council Mountain dyed orange at sunset
    A redwinged blackbird’s slurred whistle
    are two of my favourite lines
    Beautiful, and the images conjure up a incredibly vivid picture of a landscape much bigger than I'm used to dealing with here in Ireland.

  8. Hi Pure Fiction: Thanks so much for stopping by & for choosing to follow! Always glad to have another reader in the homeland of my ancestors, & glad you liked the poems. I'll swing by your place for a look-see later on today!

  9. Enjoyed these - especially the noisy Helix #11! You've got me imagining music for piano, harmonium and a shortwave radio(the sort of thing young John Cage did).

  10. Hi Dominic: Glad you liked them! This is officially the end of the sequence. Interesting what you say: Eberle has been thinking about setting some of this to music.


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