Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Time After Time

a diner coffee cup, white knuckle-white, the
flock of Trumpeter Swans at rest in the pasture—in-
exorable March wind, & Thorn Creek rippling

black thru the culvert & willow limbs gone
orange in February snow—a phone booth in
Vacaville, now this was a different time, palm tree

nodding in hot May streetlight evening—a
block of time, a mental block, the glass ashtray
choked with Marlboros—a pile of corrugated

north of the garden, the cock pheasant
pecks for grit in the road by the derelict ranch, the
Saxton River’s brown trout swirl, the

phrase from a song repeating—inexorable—a
white house brimming with roses but only in
memory—the grandfather clock’s

movement weighted with lead, a magnolia
blossom adrift on the back lawn—a color
photograph in which we are all present

Jack Hayes
© 2011


  1. Several words stand out in this poem...along with one distinct image. Well, two distinct images...

    The grandfather clock, and the nearby pasture.

    -- Or I assume the pasture's nearby.

    I also like the white knuckle-white coffee cup.

    White coffee cups are the most fun to try and get clean, 'cause they're the easiest to stain.

    Oh, and the limbs of the tree gone orange in February...I like that too. Just yesterday, I looked out the kitchen window at sunrise, and enjoyed the sight of some red limbs.

    As for the words: Marlboros. "The glass ashtray choked with Marlboros..."

    I do hope you're writing fiction, John. Marlboros are expensive. ;)

    And 'cock', as in 'cock' pheasant. You know, I was gonna post a poem about the Marx Bros. using this word (without the bird) but feared it too risky and offensive...of course if John Hayes can use it in a poem, I think I should be brave, and do so, also. ;)

    Kidding. You're in different class than I am. Your poetry is lovely, and this poem makes me want to walk outside, and breathe fresh air...right down to the Magnolia blossom.


    Is Vacaville a real town?

    I do hope you're well. :)

  2. Hi Ginger: Thanks! Fortunately for me & what's left of my lungs, those Marlboros are a long time in the past--my poems the last few years all seem to be "unstuck in time." Actually, they may have been Camel filters (or even Camel straights) but I liked the sound of Marlboros better, & I honestly can't recall what the other person filling that ashtray smoked.

    Yes, nearby pasture--& yes, as you say the red & orange limbs are a sure sign spring's coming (tho it's snowing here right now).

    Vacaville, California is a real place. At one time Mr Ed's diner was located there!


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