Saturday, February 18, 2012

Raintown #8

polyester balloon bouquet afloat on
ribbons at the lobby desk—gas fireplace
upholstered orange chairs—the

cancer patient stares into electric indigo
natural gas flame, asks, “are you cold too”—
vacant lot on SW River Parkway the

grass the weeds alike shimmer amphibious
green thru streetcar windows—vein balks at
the first stick, catheter “rebounds” the

nurse explains—my voice: “I don’t
feel a thing”—water droplets bead on
vermilion parking strip willows’ pruned

limbs along N Mason Street—purple
bruise blooms inside the elbow, not
unfamiliar—musty February atmosphere these

green-tiled polygonal wings on Multnomah
Pavilion seen between a drizzle-glazed window’s
muntins—umbrellas blossom on

walkways beneath those flesh-colored
bricks—oxygen concentrator’s huff &
groan across the room—mantis green

moss encrusts limbs seen afloat thru the
infusion room’s aquarium window—
existence falling down like rain

Jack Hayes
© 2012


  1. Ooh, that was a difficult one to read. When my father was in the hospital, in a coma after the hit-and-run that knocked him off his bike, he awoke and ripped his intravenous out of his arm. I have never liked needles (even before that), and I have to say I don't envy you. A balking vein cannot be pleasant. My heart goes out to you for this weekly trial.

  2. i agree with kat, as i often do, that was difficult to read. of course, had it been poorly written, it would have been no problem to read at all. :) ah, therein lies the rub, as they say. your raintown series is impressive and always interesting and evocative. nice work john. :)

  3. Hi Kat & Barbie

    Kat: I appreciate your sticking with it--you've mentioned that incident before, & it sounds horrible. As for my situation, I hope the poems aren't making it sound worse than it is--I've been doing this for almost 10 full years at this point, practically every week, & it's very routine to me at this point--even "balky" veins.

    Barbie: Thanks so much! It means a lot to me that you like the series & that you've taken the time to comment. As I said to Kat, I don't want to over-dramatize my situation too much--am very lucky that there is a treatment that keeps me relatively stable, & having done it for so long, it really is routine. Usually it's being around all the cancer patients that can be a bit intense, & from what I know of your background I believe you can understand that all too well. Anyway, thanks so much!

  4. I like the blend of medical and natural. The bruise blooming (ouch), the umbrellas blossoming, an atmosphere of spring (it came across less as February and more as March, oddly) and messy life, awash in rain, always with undercurrent of illness and death.

  5. Hi HKatz: I think the reason it reads like March is that February here is probably more like what you're used to thinking of as March back east. Thanks! Really appreciate your support of this series very much.


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