Monday, March 1, 2010

Grace #2

A smoky gray evening fraught with long-billed curlews & a pergola awash in pink roses & a maroon Pontiac Bonneville marooned in Daly City all unstuck in time—a wall clock lemon yellow & cornflower blue & thistle pink its face scalloped & floral—a checkerboard linoleum floor in a theater lobby—a single instant that stands in for forever like a luna moth in a truck stop sodium lamp

A Pennsylvania interstate phosphorescent at 3:00 a.m. & strewn with cigarettes & impossible laughter & poetic voices & other suicidal gestures—a smoky gray evening fraught with a gray Dodge pick-up hauling a horse trailer down North Grays Creek Rd & the polyrhythms of hummingbird wings—& here comes another star & it’s just as you say the stars are shattered glass like a C major 7 chord that won’t stop ringing

A mild dissonance a cognitive dissonance a tiger lily a paperback copy of Alcools tipped over on a shelf a pack of Camel lights beside an Adirondack chair a Bloody Mary garnished with celery all unstuck in time—a willow tree fraught with sparrows & the limbs are guitar strings in smoky gray air you cannot touch—a statue of Nuestra Señora housed in a scrap metal shrine beside a pink rose—a single instant that stands in for forever

Jack Hayes
© 2010


  1. and a reader fraught with magnificent images and a brain that will eventually catch up. I can't tell you how impressed I am. I wish I'd written it.

  2. Hi Dave: Many thanks--there are two more in the sequence--I believe they'll post on Thursday & Saturday.

    Thanks again!

  3. Beautiful. I know that PA turnpike well. Love that ubiquitous willow tree. (giggling over Dave wishing he had written this)

  4. Hi Willow: So glad you liked it! Thanks.

  5. I'll add these to my reading list!

    I should have read more Apollinaire. Am interested in things French from that period. Just getting into playing some Poulenc - one of his "Mouvements Perpetuels". Not me, but:

  6. I like that suble link to "Alcools". Nice segue. I'm going to have to start filling up a piggy bank for a John Hayes poetry-purchase fund.

  7. It's great to come across a line like this one:

    a single instant that stands in for forever like a luna moth in a truck stop sodium lamp

    and just think This is right. This is how it is.

    Also your use of language can be wonderfully synesthetic:
    stars are shattered glass like a C major 7 chord that won’t stop ringing

  8. Hi Kat & HKatz

    Kat: Well, it will be awhile on the Alcools project! As I said in another comment, it means a lot to me that you've shelled out $ to buy these books. It's funny, but the image of the paperback Alcools came to mind before I decided to finish my translation--these poems were written a little while back--I think the segue was in my own sub-conscious!

    HKatz: Thanks for that--I'm very flattered by your close reading of my poems--I do very much appreciate your involvement with them!

  9. Hi Dominic: Thanks! I'll have to check out Poulenc--I don't have much knowledge of his music. Thanks for the link. That was a really fertile time for creativity in France for certain--from before the turn of the century well into the 30s. Have you ever read a book called "The Banquet Years" by Roger Shattuck? He looks at this time period, esp. from say the 1890s to 1920 thru the careers of Apollinaire, Henri Rousseau, Satie & Alfred Jarry. Although Shattuck has a bit of a prickly edge toward surrealism which is political at base I suspect, the book overall is a good read--I'm pretty sure it's still in print.


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