Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Union Pacific #11

I’d had enough lonesome blues the over-
cast June sky the mountain ridges
east & west bruising the horizons the
highway itself for that matter then

the sky turned liquid in an instant
& it was June as I said the rainy season had
ended in the high desert I’d had enough
blues & greens the sagebrush & bitter-

brush reflected in a swollen irrigation
ditch running north-south as I was running thru
time & memory north of Burns Junctions’
deserted pink & green gas station & café

I'd had enough colors unlike the gray
shades in memory the improvised moment
each time I live it again somehow different a
blue turning gray the windshield wipers’

rhythm a green sage pasture a red car a-
head on its way to Nevada too there’s nowhere
else to go the memory turning gray the
black power lines almost solid

I’d had enough lonesome blues a 100
miles north of Winnemucca each time
I live it again somehow different the
highway itself almost deserted

Jack Hayes
© 2010

[The Union Pacific series is still moving on, tho slowly. If you’d like more information about my recent poetry, please check out my blog, The Spring Ghazals. That blog is devoted to my recently published collection of the same name. You can purchase The Spring Ghazals (the book, not the blog!) at this link.]


  1. There is a wonderful rhythm that cuts through the verse like a copper-rich vein.

  2. I was hoping that the photo of the week would be a sign that a new Union Pacific Poem was on its way.

    I agree with the first commenter about the rhythm. It feels like the wheels of a car turning or a train going along its tracks, a certain feeling of things that keep going even as the poem ends.

    Also liked the images of color bleeding away, run-off, things turning to gray, until at the end you're left in a deserted place with only the solid black of power lines. There's a longing for colorless things here, as if the colors are too much and need to be escaped.

  3. Hi Alan & HKatz

    Alan: Thanks so much!

    HKatz: No, I haven't abandoned the UP poems, tho at times I'm afraid I've lost the thread. Thanks so much for your insightful comment--yes, you certainly "got it." BTW: did you see the Carolina Chocolate Drops?

  4. I, too, love the rhythms of this and found myself reading it aloud just to hear it spoken.

  5. Hi Karen: & thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

  6. BTW: did you see the Carolina Chocolate Drops?

    Unfortunately didn't get a chance to; I have to work most evenings/nights this week and couldn't skip out of work early... So I'll just keep a lookout for when they'll be in the area again.

  7. Hi HKatz: Too bad! Oh well, I'm sure they'll be back around.

  8. Lots of delicious gray here, Johnny Jack. And the last stanza is especially nice.

  9. Hi Willow: Thanks! Glad you liked this.


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