Monday, July 20, 2015

pastoral in negative space #5

a double sunflower gazing east on this scorching
morning takes note of nothing except sunlight's
spectra—for you, the red lean-to, tin roof weighted by
truck tires, sheep fence heaped & spilling from the front,
is inseparable from the surroundings: power lines, a
magpie preening on a stop sign on the lookout for death—
no anger no sorrow no despair in a landscape until
you take it in—sure, the rocky south face of the mesa—
basalt, morning glory, backhoe—glares sun-blistered—
but the meadowlark trilling at noon from a mullein in
yellow flower could make you stop an instant, thinking:
the brilliance of the cosmos within a feathered body—&
your vision evaporates on August’s desperate wind

Jack Hayes
© 2015

Sunday, July 19, 2015

pastoral in negative space #4

buzz of grasshoppers in mid afternoon:
it electrifies the tall grass—black faced hornet
darting around the pump house—vespula
vulgaris creeping under the soffits—across the
highway’s heat shimmer baby blue & white
bee boxes—landscape of insects dry pasture &
wire—mailbox at the fork in the gravel road
(more wasps)—another quarter mile, the pasture’s bales
cast shadows in a transitory henge—a gunmetal gray
horse trailer a rust orange tractor a heap of railroad
ties along the gravel drive—atavistic ridgeline
eastward consumed in last July’s wildfire—
skeletal pines halting black in your range of vision

Jack Hayes
© 2015

Saturday, July 18, 2015

pastoral in negative space #3

dry creek bed cutting emptiness through hard pan &
steel post fence line, July 2011—a track for coyotes
stalking like ghosts in a landscape where animals flicker
to shades in interminable twilight—emptiness of this
summer: the tire swing dangling a zero from that
big cottonwood above the chicory flowers &
thistle—later there could be spectral stars re-
flecting the creek that flowed with spring run-off
in another lifetime—whirr of a fan in a single-
wide trailer—electric yip of coyotes—cumulus
clouds solarized at the horizon in flash burn
sunset—dry creek bed lacking hope or lack of
hope in this vanishing emptiness you can’t fathom


Jack Hayes
© 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

pastoral in negative space #2

west wind rustling through fescue & ryegrass parched in
August said nothing you could repeat—numinous as
an oxygen concentrator huffing in a bedroom lit
up vermilion in total lunar eclipse—
nothing you could repeat: sprinkler head changing
water to smoke & each pine torches root to
crown on the pyrokinetic mountain—nothing you
could repeat: redwinged blackbird caught in full
trill rippling the pond’s cirrus cloud surface—
these mule deer materializing within whatever
comes next to silence across the twilight mesa:
handful of whispered secrets you deny to yourself,
photograph of a voice pronouncing nothing

Jack Hayes
© 2015

Thursday, July 16, 2015

pastoral in negative space #1

this is not a patch of black iris blooming next to
cement steps—this is not the cement steps painted
spanish blue that lead to the back door painted
spanish blue—this is not the back door of the 1920s
farmhouse listing southwest as the ground shifts
timbers until west windows crack & south
windows break jagged—this is neither those
windows nor the absence of those windows,
abandoned as they may still open onto a dying
locust a post fence a dry pasture—this is not a
dry pasture this is not a pond overrun with cattails
this is not May when black iris unfurl this is not a
thing with a name in words except in these words


Jack Hayes
© 2015

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"Poem Read At André Salmon’s Wedding"

Poem Read At André Salmon’s Wedding

July 13 1909

Seeing the flags this morning I didn’t tell myself
Behold the rich garments of the poor
Or democratic modesty wants to veil its sorrow
Or honoring liberty now makes us imitate
Leaves o vegetable liberty o sole earthly liberty
Or the houses are ablaze because we’ll leave never to return
Or these restless hands will labor tomorrow for us all
Or even they’ve hanged those who couldn’t make the most of life
Or even they’ve renewed the world by recapturing the Bastille
I know it’s only renewed by those grounded in poetry
Paris is decked out because my friend André Salmon’s getting married there

We used to meet up in a damned dive
When we were young
Both of us smoking and shabbily dressed waiting for sunrise
Smitten smitten with the same words whose meanings will have to be changed
Deceived deceived poor kids and we still didn’t know how to laugh
The table and two glasses became a dying man who cast us Orpheus’ last glance
The glasses fell shattered
And we learned how to laugh
We parted then pilgrims of perdition
Across streets across countries across reason
I saw him again on the bank of the river where Ophelia was floating
Who still floats white amongst the water lilies
He went off amongst wan Hamlets
Playing the airs of madness on his flute
I saw him near a dying muzhik counting his blessings
While admiring the snow that looked like naked women
I saw him doing this or that in honor of the same words
That change children’s expressions and I’m saying these things
Recollection and Expectation because my friend André Salmon is getting

Let’s rejoice not because our friendship has been the river that made us fertile
River lands whose abundance is the nourishment all hope for
Or because our glasses cast once more Orpheus’ dying glance
Or because we’ve grown so large that many people confuse our eyes with stars
Or because flags flap at the windows of citizens who’ve been content these
          hundred years to have life and trifles to defend

Or because grounded in poetry we have the right to words that form and
          unmake the
Or because we can weep without being absurd and because we know how to
Or because we’re smoking and drinking as in the old days
Let’s rejoice because the director of fire and poets
Love filling like light
All the solid space between stars and planets
Love wishes that my friend André Salmon get married today

Guillaune Apollinaire
translation by Jack Hayes


Image links to its source on Wiki Commons
Claude Monet, Rue Montorgueil, Paris, Festival of June 30, 1878. 1878.
Public Domain

Sunday, July 5, 2015

"'Round Midnight" – Jazz on Nylon #9 (a & b)

A happy Sunday, friends. We’re back at you with another installment in the Jazz on Nylon series. Great song for a hot summer evening or night—so great in fact, that I’m posting two versions for your listening pleasure.

Thelonious Monk’s composition “’Round Midnight” is, according to the Jazz Standards website, “the most-recorded jazz standard written by any jazz musician.” There are conflicting stories about the songs composition. Some claim that Monk was as young as 18 or 19 when he wrote the song, originally under the title of “Grand Finale.” Others claim it was written in 1940 or 1941, when Monk was in his early 20s. At any rate, it’s known that trumpet player Cootie Williams recorded the song in 1944; as Cootie Williams shares the composition credit with Monk, it’s generally thought that a handful of Williams’ embellishments became a part of the song, but there is a bit of controversy on this point. Bernie Hanighen added lyrics a few years later.

“’Round Midnight” became a signature song for Cootie Williams, & later for Miles Davis as well (who titled an album “Round About Midnight,” which led to this being used as an alternate title); Dizzy Gillespie & Art Pepper also recorded notable versions, & the vocal version has been sung by a number of jazz singers.

The song is written in the key of Eb minor, which is considerably more friendly for a piano, brass, or reed instrument than it is for the guitar. According to Jazz Standards,”the initial harmonic progression is i -vi -ii7 -V7, similar to ‘Alone Together’”; however, on the same page, saxophonist Jim Clark states that while this is the progression given in The Real Book, it’s not what he hears Monk & others actually playing.

My original idea was to post Ukrainian guitarists Roman Viazovskiy’s great version based on Roland Dyen’s arrangement. Intricate & highly lyrical, this is a beautiful reading. But let’s face it: when there’s a version that exists by the Brazilian virtuoso Baden Powell, it’s pretty hard to overlook that! The video & audio are better on the Viazovskiy rendition, but Powell’s highly improvised Latin reading is masterful—& given the importance of this song in the Jazz songbook, why not go with two versions? In addition, it will make up a little for the lapse since the last post in this series! Finally, as an added bonus for those who find even two versions to be insufficient: here’s a link to the great guitarist Wes Montgomery playing a jazz box version in his amazing thumb style & a link to a beautiful solo piano version by Monk himself.


Image links to its source on Wiki CommonsThelonious Monk, Minton's Playhouse, New York, ca. September 1947. Photograph by William P. Gottlieb – Library of Congress, Public Domain