Tuesday, November 9, 2010


the night is longer black automobile hood tattooed with
constellations the digital clock’s red numbers at
2:34 a.m. Nevada salt flats a cyclone fence in headlights spume
from an ancient sea it could be snow strewn across the sand the
highway toward Fallon the night is a remnant of an
ancient lake in eastern Oregon’s high desert the cold ache of
basalt cliffs the Milky Way adrift above the barn & the power line
owls on a church bell owls in a dead gray apparition of
cottonwood an owl exploding from a pasture just beyond the
headlights the night is longer the Time Zone Bridge a-
cross the Salmon River in a thick rain a movie theater black-
out a hotel room in Roseville & soup in a Chinese restaurant in the
rain in a strip mall a bass guitar a bass guitar the night is longer e-
lectric violin a cyclone fence in headlights the apparition of
tumbleweeds tangled in the fence wire sand & spume & a cold ache
the night is longer & filled with dashes & numbers I have to
keep moving a farmhouse with defunct electric furnace I
have to keep moving a glass guitar slide the thick rain the
windshield tattooed with headlights I have to keep
moving the sparks of snow igniting to freezing fire in the Sierras black
pines & trestles the night is longer an empty infinite rearview mirror
I have to keep moving an apparition of Russian olives an
apparition of salt lakes an apparition of a UP
freight’s headlight traveling south there's nothing else

Jack Hayes

© 2010

Don’t forget: you can purchase my book of recent poetry, The Spring Ghazals, at this link.  You can also stay updated on news about the book, as well as tuning into virtual readings & posts about the book’s back story (& more) on my dedicated The Spring Ghazals blog.


  1. I know the automobile is present in this poem, but I keep feeling the rhythm of a train. The repetitions and the motion and the way everything is flashing by. I really like this one, John.


  2. Hi Kat: So glad you like it! I just wrote it this morning!

  3. Great stuff John!I just got a beat up old secondhand book called ' The Beats' an anthology of beat writing. This could be taken right from it!

  4. That repetition of "I have to keep moving" that rises up among the details at the end - I loved that; it added a great urgency to the poem, and a sense that the person speaking can't actually move quickly enough ever.

    Also loved the image of the night as an automobile hood with constellations, and the contrast in the poem of power lines and highways with things that are more primordial like basalt cliffs and ancient seas and the Milky Way.

  5. Hi HKatz: Thanks so much. I'll admit I've second guessed this poem. Eberle was kind enough to read it & give it an enthusiastic "two thumbs up," which helped, but I'm happy to see your response as well. I've been very much in a second guessing mode of late with all creative endeavors. Thanks again!


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