Saturday, January 21, 2012

Raintown #4

black boughs gesticulate in gray
air, moss girdles these parking strip trees
sullen green—commenting on decay in

January drizzle—not merely shades of
gray: olive green gate chained shut on what must
be a garden—young mother on the #4 line

bus cradling her baby in a purple
fake fur-lined parka—her angular face re-
flective; her gray flannel pajama pants in-

scribed LOVE in faded red letters—at the
hospital the woman describes her lumbar
puncture, biting the tongue depressor, the

14-day ensuing migraine “meds didn’t
touch”—fluorescent lights humming a sham
yellow-gold, an electric guitar note bent

a quarter tone sharp—she explains we have
nothing to do besides talk
, talking bone
marrow renal failure talking god dangling her from

a  height  letting  her drop
—a Yellow Line
train passes over the double-decked Steel
Bridge & the polyrhythmic drizzle’s ab-

sorbed inside the Willamette’s gray
mechanical currents & fractured reflections:
none of us being merely broken

Jack Hayes
© 2012


  1. You should have an exhibition of these poems at some point. I'm sure Portland would support something like that. They should be read by the city itself.

    I feel like a dark angel on your shoulder when I read these.

  2. God dangling her from a height and letting her drop....I am speechless
    because this is perfection.


  3. I'm with Kat. The Portland photographs are as sharp as the poems and support them beautifully. An exhibition of the two together would be fabulous. As would a book. Any one of the poems on its own is wonderful but there's something about the build up of detail, the relentless accretion of image and colour as the series progresses, that adds meaning and depth, with each of those final lines cueing the reader to PAY ATTENTION.

  4. It just builds wonderfully. Colours and images roll and then it's that last line that brings the whole thing together. Just so well done. Just excellent composition.

    Really, that's pretty great right there.

  5. Hi Kat, Rene, Mairi & skyraft: Thanks all, & apologies for being so far behind in commenting!

    Kat: I'm intrigued by the notion of a dark angel on my shoulder! As far as what will become of them: two early in the game, as it were, to say what may happen. But I appreciate your support!

    Rene: Thanks so much!

    Mairi: Thanks--I value your readership so much. As I mentioned to Kat, it's too early to say what they will turn into, but if the ball keeps rolling for awhile, I think I'd certainly be looking at finding them an audience. Thanks so much!

    skyraft: Thanks for stopping by & taking the time to comment! Very pleased that you liked this so well.

  6. I agree with the suggestion of an exhibition. There's a lot of beauty in the brokenness that you find. And I've liked in this poem and in earlier ones, observations of children, and children and parents. They're quick glimpses but deep ones, just as with the other images. I also like how you write "on what must be a garden" as if you need to convince yourself that it is one.

  7. Hi HKatz: It's true about parents & children, isn't it? I hadn't thought of it, really, but then in the midst of writing, one tends to be "too close to the forest to see the trees." Thanks for your words of support & encouragement!


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.