Saturday, March 3, 2012

Raintown #9

So ist das Leben—hart aber dafür gemein

seagulls’ hard steel whine thru steel-
gray March air, raindrops’ splatter &
rasp against window screens, a plastic

clown a plastic rabbit, paint chipped on
each adorning a plot of geraniums, petals
flaccid, last autumn’s leaf-fall mulched

brown as an old bloodstain along the
sidewalks’ edge—the nurse’s 3-year-old
son is getting a drum for his birthday—

her hands in lavender surgical gloves she
wears a purple bandana—two men a-
cross the room discuss bone marrow transplants—

“better in the long run” one says—
outside Multnomah pavilion hybrid roses
bloom crimson against the wall in thick

drizzle—on the bus a woman knits doll
bathing suits discusses the expression
so ist das Leben—oh yes strident cries of

gulls thru the apartment complex hard
& mean no doubt—across the lot on the roof
the brown gull stretches its wings nearly angelic

Jack Hayes
© 2012


  1. I was worried when I started reading this, and was glad to find it was someone else expressing that particular opinion, not my favourite transcriber of the small, and sometimes sodden beauties of the world.

  2. Thanks so much! Actually, the woman on the bus didn't know the full quote; she simply took it as the more resigned sentiment of the first clause, like "such is life." I wondered about putting it in as an epigraph, but I liked the "mean/hard" gulls that also angelically stretch their wings. It's odd; I had something much different when I thought about this poem yesterday, but when I sat down to write it this came quite naturally.

  3. i feel like this is the literary version of a series of snapshots. thanks for taking me on the journey. :)

  4. Hi Barbie: Thanks! Yes, I think that's a good description of one thing I'm trying to do in these poems--moving from one setting to another with no real narrative connectors. Thanks so much :)

  5. As usual, there are so many wonderful things in this. I like the blood-stain and the lavender gloves. I like the conversations overheard and I LOVE the word "nearly" in the last line! These poems never fail to captivate me.

  6. Hi Kat: Thanks so much! & thank you for your mention of "nearly," because I think that's kind of important. So much appreciate your support.

  7. "last autumn’s leaf-fall mulched/brown as an old bloodstain" is brilliant. And I like how the blood comes back in the hybrid roses. I also like how the gulls become "nearly angelic." I think these poems are some of the best expressions of mortality I've read, in all of their detail.

  8. Hi HKatz: Thank you so much for that comment. I have great respect for you as a reader & a writer, so the fact that you would say that about the "Raintown" poems means a lot to me. I appreciate it very much!


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