Saturday, January 14, 2012

Raintown #3

despite this sky blue sky the
damp insinuates bone-deep—these
planter box violets on SW 5th avenue

slouch reigned as if they too waited for this
streetcar that doesn’t come—black
mulberry branches overhanging an

empty playground—leafless—the
difficulty exhaling in raw air, lungs in-
empty cream white corridor in the

hospital ramped for wheelchairs &
gurneys—a kid riding the aerial tram telling each
evergreen goodbye as it passes beneath—his

appointment was so good
his parents
explain—your hands are cold the RN tells
me—awkward, matter-of-fact, kind tho—odor of

isopropanol, blue scrubs, blue vinyl chairs, blue
pillows, blue chux pads, gold plasma flowing
cool thru the basilic vein over 30 minutes

weekly—this weekend will see snow on
violets mullberry pines alike—the
biggest mercies are what we are spared

Jack Hayes
© 2012


  1. Oh, my goodness! That last line is so deeply profound. (Is that redundant?)

    As I read it, I actually laughed because of the kid and the evergreen goodbye. I heard a child in a grocery store today calling out for the tuna to present itself!

    "gold plasma" and the "basilic vein" send a shiver through me. I'm not good with needles or intravenous ever since my dad ripped his out back in the 80s after he came out a coma.

    That last line. Wow.

  2. I feel like someone has hit me in the solar plexus. Knocked the wind out of me. Sent me reeling.

  3. Powerful stuff, John. That image of "a kid riding the aerial tram telling each evergreen goodbye as it passes beneath" sticks.

  4. Hi Kat, Mairi & Martin

    Kat: I have to credit my friend Sandy Maxey with the last line--or something very close to that; I also discussed it a bit with Mairi as well prior to writing the poem. So glad you liked the poem!

    Mairi: Thank you, my friend--your reaction to this poem means a lot to me. Very grateful.

    Martin: Thanks! I'm really glad that conveys. Much appreciated.

  5. damp insinuates bone-deep
    I love the sounds in this poem. And how things seem to be sliding by each other in opposite directions (the whole conveyer belt feeling). I also love how the poem is gentle but uncompromising. And the last moving line is really earned by everything that comes before it.

  6. Hi HKatz: Thanks so much. I'm glad to learn that you think the poem strikes a good balance between gentleness & being uncompromising, as that was my intent, & I don't think that happened in many of the drafts! This was revised much more than the typical JH poem, as it seemed hard to write once I got going on it. The fact that you had such positive things to say about it is very gratifying. Thank you!


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.