Thursday, August 12, 2010

Union Pacific #9

Somewhere amongst star shards &
                        volcanic outcroppings I couldn’t
see against a 5:00 am November
sky the fm evaporated

it was east of Jordan Valley it

didn’t happen all at once the
signal dispersed across 
depths & distances & ghostly
sagebrush in the headlights almost
100 miles from daybreak
                        a diner’s unlit windows
dark in the darkness

fractured constellations broken yellow
line invisible
                          cattle moving across the rangeland
a sodium light a semi truck’s
enormous exhalation
          a broken yellow
line the star shards south a-
bove California a
          stone pinging the windshield a
              star fragment chip the
distance between constellations
I could hold that in my hands

Jack Hayes
© 2010

[To see other poems in this sequence, please click on the "UP Poems" label]


  1. This is really cool because when you read it aloud you get that train-along-the-tracks feeling and it's so emotional with its ups and downs and jigs and jags.
    More! More!


    word verification is "dismati" (a very sad rice, I'm told)

  2. Another poignant reflection on movement and the passage of time. Love the last lines!

    (Kat, hilarious "dismati" definition!)

  3. Also, like when you are on a train watching the landscape go by, images come in self-contained little packages, strung out along the way.

  4. Hi Kat, Audrey & Alan

    Kat: Thanks! Of course, the narrator in all these poems is in a car (headlights, windshield, fm radio, etc) but the Union Pacific trains make an appearance in several. & "Union Pacific" is kind of a "keyword." Love "dismati," btw!

    Audrey: Thanks! & extra special thanks for posting this on FB!

    Alan: Many thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

  5. distance between constellations
    I could hold that in my hands

    I love that - and the idea of star fragments and small stones on the same scale. Also loved the otherworldliness in general - as in the opening lines.

  6. Hi HKatz: Thanks for that--it's interesting that both you & Audrey pointed to the ending, because I had misgivings about that. Eberle also liked the ending. I guess it must be ok! Thanks again!

  7. I like the broken, fragmented vastness of this one, John. Beautiful.

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


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