Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mirabeau Bridge

Mirabeau Bridge

Under the Mirabeau bridge flows the Seine
And our love
        Must I recall
Joy always followed after pain

Let night come toll the hour
Days move on I remain

Hand in hand let’s linger face to face
While beneath
   The bridge of our embrace
The weary swell of timeless glances flows

Let night come toll the hour
Days move on I remain

Love moves on like that current
Love moves on
      How slow life seems
And Hope how violent

Let night come toll the hour
Days move on I remain

Days pass on then the weeks pass on
Neither past times
   Nor loves shall come again
Under the Mirabeau bridge flows the Seine

Let night come toll the hour
Days move on I remain

Guillaume Apollinaire, “Le Pont Mirabeau”
Translation by Jack Hayes
© 2017

Note: Most of the work on this translation dates back to circa 1990. Indeed, I have a translation of Apollinaire’s Alcools about two-thirds complete, & it’s been in the same state for some years. But I hope to complete it someday, as it is without question one of my favorite books of poetry—after my own pace slows to a more measured level & once we get the Chinese translations in shape.

The reason I’m posting this now is the poem has crept into my own current manuscript a few times, & after it made a rather conspicuous appearance in a recent poem (not yet posted on the blog), my friend & editor Sheila Graham-Smith asked about my translation, which she hadn’t seen—et voilà!

You can read Apollinaire’s heartbreakingly beautiful original here.

Image connects to its source on Wiki Commons:
Clément Maurice: “Paris en plein air”, BUC (Bibliothèque universelle en couleurs), 1897, Le Pont Mirabeau.
Public domain.

Monday, January 30, 2017

new year morning octet


crows calling & calling to the southtrees rise
into a sky streaked dawn orange & yellow

against gray—guttural, insistent singing:
what they say to each other is different

than what they say to me—another year breaks
with new losses past the power pole’s black line,

the multiple hexagrams branching from trees:
brief silence, then the one crow calling to me

Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Escape Artist"

A happy Sunday, everyone. & 鸡年大吉, jī nián dàjí, that is, Happy Year of the Rooster! (& the Fire Rooster at that!) 恭喜发财, gōngxǐ fācái, in other words, Happiness & prosperity!

We’re here with the final installment of January's  Sunday music, which has featured avant-cellist Zoë Keating performing at MacWorld in 2011. Today’s selection is “Escape Artist” from her 2010 Into the Trees.

Please support Zoë Keating’s music! You’ll be doing yourself a favor, as her music is masterful & wonderful & is a rich world to explore. You can visit her website & buy her music at the links provided.

Next month: the music of Montserrat Figueras.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
photo by Kris Krüg. 21 October 2009
Zoe Keating - Pop!Tech 2009 - Camden, ME
PopTech from Camden, Maine and Brooklyn, NY, USA
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Saturday, January 28, 2017

new moon thursday evening octet


moon shrinking left: it’s on the other side of
the world now; fog comes down absorbing amber

streetlights here, avenue subdued, though men talk
bluster through cigarette smoke outside the bar—

at home: clock & keyboard clicking—how many
more poems? spine loose, left hip sore from tai chi:

you’re right I’m not young—so many crows took wing
as today took wing that sky has gone away

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Friday, January 27, 2017

january moon

(8 quatrains)

1. new moon

clematis floats ragged white along chain link;
sun glows overhead, a full moon in frayed clouds—

some of the power poles seem angled darkly:
in overcast, night sphere’s negative image

2. waxing crescent

as the glass door opens eight crows flying west;
yin & yang in paint on a white sandwich board—

Venus hovers between dark maple fingers:
gracile arc rests on a fleshtone horizon

3. half moon

parenthesis of the pedestrian fence
curves above I-5; crows describe erratic

arcs across tattered pastel clouds: higher up,
half circle nearly vertical in deep blue

4. waxing  gibbous

snow whirled in a gust dashes against the bricks;
the black weeping cherry boughs droop, immobile—

yellow light glow, one white car hesitating:
sky has ashed over unconsummated glow

5. full moon

shadow of pickets bends across contoured snow;
the gate won’t fasten again until the melt—

white drift molded to the cotoneaster’s arch:
above cirrus strands, cold eye without pupil

6. waning gibbous

security light’s thawing incandescence
draws out an occasional drip from the eaves,

each droplet a flash above snow-mounded shrubs:
dwindling circle drains white into night sky haze

7. last quarter

rain has brushed asphalt walkways ink black again;
cotoneaster branches a dark alphabet

rid of snow—but the playground remains mottled:
white bowl aslant in morning’s phthalo blue sky

8. waning crescent

white to-go bag caught on a cherry tree branch,
limp & empty; black & white high-tops swing from

the power line, though there seems to be no wind:
thin white vestige must hang behind gray stratus

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Two Octets

mississippi ave octet

scattered wishes dangle from hornbeam branches,
violet, yellow, scarlet tags in this rain—

rack of dresses on wheels under the boutique’s
awning responds in kind; notice how toy store

fairy lights sparkle with keener points through gray
wet air, the bar’s single picnic table washed

glassy; in planters outside a shop, jasmine
climbs toward the lintel, green leaves glistening


failing st pedestrian bridge octet

lilacs with tawny winter buds sprout along
concrete steps that just now stream melting ice &

rain splash—within the bridge’s curved chain link, one
padlock, clasped, rusted, rests against a rail, no

names marked on it—below, I-5 traffic’s hiss;
above, unilluminated light towers—

on the west side, a flock of robins shifts from
red oaks with decrepit leaves to shaggy pines 

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Two Inventory Poems

monday inventory octet

blooming cherry bonsai on a calendar;
poem with its sentiment edited out—

a dilapidated spiral-bound fake book,
pages loose; scribbled numbers on maize Post-It—

selected Du Fu with photo of a junk
sailing Qutang Gorge in grayscale; black-palmed

gloves on an armchair, guitar back in its case:
they say the night is coming with freezing rain


tuesday inventory octet

a medicine cabinet perhaps, slate
gray, wood left unsanded on purpose, it stands

on the cedar table; inside: the seated
Budai, a kaleidoscope, brown glass bottle

unearthed on an Idaho road, a chestnut,
one maneki-neko, a boxwood turtle

willed to you, postcard quoting Midsummer Night’s
Dream sent years ago from a girl I danced with

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

political double-double octet

political double-double octet
(1/21/17 – the Women’s March on Portland)

the raindrops come down straight when they do come down;
air raw, translucent fish scales from stratus

to sidewalk, Willamette running brown & roiled—
meeting under the bridge, then mud underfoot,

then feet moving, chaotic, linked, one river,
ten thousand times ten thousand molecules fused

to the cadence of drums & a sad trombone:
4th avenue’s transmuted, vital current

being this human in a cold wind, gloves soaked
blacker than ever; language on posterboard

passes dark indecipherable trees, green
light strings twining trunks, switched off; kaleidoscope

of umbrellas nonetheless, the drip off them—
they say when you stop shivering it’s a sign

of hypothermia, so I’m okay—choked
with complicated tears as rain falls on all

it’s not easy:  camellias buds marked time
clenched, constricted through the weeks of ice white air—

grass has surfaced along the waterfront: I
could almost hear your voice in that—not easy

opening; breath labors leaving lung’s blackout
to shimmer along the wind, emerging in

this world, mingling with all other visible
breath—how long have I waited to become this

Hicks painted 62 iterations of
The Peaceable Kingdom, the lion’s eyes gone

mild in each; Du Fu climbed Baidi tower, his tears
gushing from an open wound: a refugee—

one drop of rain becoming the Willamette,
one blade of grass grown equal to a flower:

that fringe of thousands sprouting on Morrison
Bridge, these magenta caps: so many blossoms

Jack Hayes
© 2017


For more on Hicks & his paintings of The Peaceable Kingdom, please see the Folk Art Societyof America & Wikipedia.

The Du Fu reference is specifically to his白帝城最高樓, báidìchéng zuì gāo lóu, which Sheila Graham-Smith & I have translated as “On The Highest Tower In White EmperorCastle”, though in my reference here it’s the more traditional reading of the tears of blood being Du Fu’s own tears.

Line 29 paraphrases Arvo Pärt, who said in 24 Preludes for a Fugue: “a need to concentrate on each sound, so that every blade of grass would be as important as a flower.” (kus niimoodi kontsentreeritud iga heli peale, nii nagu igal rohuliblel et igal rohuliblel oleks nagu lille staatus)

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:

The Peaceable Kingdom: Edward Hicks, c. 1834. Public domain

Monday, January 23, 2017

political double octet


scrub jay alights in the leafless persimmon
& the empire collapses, right to left—

this is easy to prove: one person,
face covered by blankets, sleeps on the sidewalk

as ice falls & there’s nothing left to be bought—
this metastasis of a pre-existing

condition aired on TVs through big windows—
erratic flight of five crows over Burnside

◦    ◦    ◦

robins chirped this afternoon from the hawthorn
& the empire has collapsed, left to right—

it wasn’t unexpected: one person in
blue sleeping bag cocoon, black wheelchair parked, sleeps

as wind strews microscopic glass shards down 6th
& the bus moans to terminus; there’s nothing

left to be bought & there’s too much light for stars:
this chance to be human in the moon’s shadow

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017


For your Sunday listening pleasure: more Zoë Keating from MacWorld 2011.

Today’s selection is her performance of “Exurgency”, originally released on her 2004 EP, One Cello x 16. “Exurgent” is an old word, from Latin “exsurgere”, & it means “coming to light”, “arising”. It’s one of my favorite Keating pieces.

Please do yourselves a favor: visit her website & buy her music. Zoë Keating is an independent musician who does all her own recording, producing, & promoting in addition to composing & performing her music. She richly deserves our support!


Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
Zoë Keating at eTech in 2009 (12 March 2009)
originally posted to Flickr as zoe keating by Ed Schipul, who makes the image available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

two hallway octets



19th century men & women playing
baseball in an orchard, pillow as home plate,

in one photo; wallpapered room, a zither
on the wall, man with a harp guitar sporting

a necktie in the next; city street mirrored
on a car trunk, buildings bending away from

a 1939 plate into sky in
a third: merging with, emerging from white walls


a black baseball cap with embroidered cowboy
hangs from a metal knob; on the closet shelf,

Sandy Koufax autograph glove needs oiling,
shoeboxes stacked three deep—empty gig bag stuffed

between the wall & a green sport coat, rarely
worn now; rolled wrapping paper in one corner,

disassembled pedestal fan on the floor:
when the white door closes it all goes elsewhere

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Two Octets from an Ice Storm

sunday inventory octet

gamelan clink with cello ostinato
contrasts with ice clatter hitting the window;

a box of colored pencils, two matted prints,
Waley’s translation of The Book of Songs, black

bookmark protruding, sofa pillow’s compass
rose design on ecru fabric, collected

chord progressions in a black 3-ring notebook:
ice transmuting to rain as in morning’s dream

◦    ◦    ◦

bookshelf inventory

on the one hand The Romance of the Rose; on
the other, The Raymond Chandler Omnibus

a shame there’s no place for the printer except
the next to lowest shelf; at least it’s all dusted

now from black-spined Lord Dunsany to oddly
mauve Auto-da-Fé, cover slightly crinkled—

framed on opposite ends of the top shelf: Hicks
Peaceable Kingdom, Zhuangzi’s butterfly dream

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

five albina ave octets


golden bamboo leans forward in fluted urn
planters outside the adult day care as snow

swirls; maroon stucco walls, beige awning shades three
windows; down the street, rosemary profusion

& a black garage door; spurge leaves shrinks inward,
garden bench dusted with snow & long vacant—

fistfuls of firethorn clusters overhang this
black iron gate’s illegible graffiti


snow outlines hens & chicks between lava stones;
a single gold thread cypress nearby, branches

weeping trajectory; under slim bamboo
a slant corrugated shelters outdoor

tables no one is using; yellow bike locked
by the bus stop, empty green sparkling water

bottle laid on the sidewalk as though with care:
gray stone walkway turned white except for dark seams


chain link slats graffitied with a repeating
character & an apostrophe; inside, three

doors, paint flaked & joints separating, lean up
against barbed wire strands; a blue tarp billows but

what it covers is unknown unlike boxwood
rising green by the rolling gate; parking lot

up the street empty & white except the one
silver car & the storm drain’s black striations


herb garden held in a galvanized planter
painted white to match the brickwork, now snow glazed:

lemon balm’s chartreuse heart leaves, trailing ivy,
parsley & summer savory, out of place—

winter’s ten thousand fish teeth bite in the wind—
slatted bench bolted to the wall surrounded

by footprints; past the glass door a matching
planter shows its red Chinese lantern fruit husks



across the street from the tattoo parlor’s red
entrance, the pale, dormant seven-son flower;

no cars disturb new snow in the lot beyond
the pickets decorated with kids’ paintings,

polka dots, handprints, blossoms; by wooden steps,
two sentinel cement bantams are waiting—

on the white lawn a lone glass lantern either
fallen from the leafless sapling or the sky

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Two January Octets

infusion center octet

behind the curtain’s turquoise-violet shimmer
offering a forearm perforating vein

for the IV stick; then the anonymous
alien plasma, an IV pump’s rasped breaths—

on my right a fleshtone compression bandage
makes a tourniquet for a blank monitor;

on my perforated left no one watches
from the beige corner chair with its crescent arms

◦    ◦    ◦

sandy blvd octet

pawn shop’s color wheel of cordless drills, button
accordions, laptops, electric guitars—

twin privets lean in terracotta planters
on either side of the tavern’s half moon door—

traffic thrums past the hair salon, all tile, glass,
& black chairs; a helicopter, red taillight

pulsing, jangles north into mauve sky; westward
all the gold has drained down to the horizon

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

two beech street octets



stop sign bolted to a power pole; at its
base a toaster oven & a cardboard box

with caulking gun, roofing nails, & a brass hinge—
down the street, two nested sawhorses, weathered

gray & a cable spool in like condition;
aluminum wind chimes peal a major scale

from a stairway between cedars: sun reflects
off the travel trailer’s silver tarp blanket


two crows gazing west from the cherry’s black boughs;
one crow clucking on the power line against

a monochromatic sky where the half moon
tilts left over the ponderosa pine’s high

hopes; unleafed red maple bides its time
spreading branches, an uncanny open hand—

at the corner a discarded paperback
titled Lost Star: sun hovers not so far above roofs

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

"Sun Will Set"

A bit behind schedule, but here’s Sunday music at last! We’re continuing our series of videos from Zoë Keating’s performance at MacWorld in 2011.

“Sun Will Set” is from her 2005 album One Cello x 16: Natoma. Please do yourselves a favor: visit her website & buy her music. Zoë Keating richly deserves our support, & her music is sublime, as you will hear.


Image links to its source at Wiki Commons:
Zoë Keating at eTech in 2009 (12 March 2009); originally posted to Flickr as zoe keating by Ed Schipul.
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

octet from Powell's

lured for a moment by a new bilingual
Sappho, white cover with papyrus fragment;

Sima Qian needs to wait for another day,
but there’s the Pearl Manuscript edition I

used to own—big snowflakes suspended over
Star Wars books; intercom announces the used

book you were seeking can’t be found
; the woman
absorbed in Lorca who could be you is not

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

four fremont st octets


fortune cookie fortune caught in a Chinese
evergreen oak windswept outside the market—

green travel trailer jacked up on blocks, signed for
amongst closed food trucks—stubbed cigarettes in

a chipped yellow planter, gas line loops around
a low bamboo; crumpled black bag surfacing

from Japanese maple leaves by the handpainted
car, a red-gold dragon blazoning its hood


concrete Budai frozen in laughter between
two pruned camellias & two bowing ferns;

concrete pavilion under mitsumata’s
silver buds; they dangle off red branches like

baubles next to the hooped wooden rain barrel—
multitude of fallen leaves in a circle

of pavers mottled with colonies of moss:
whenever you look the Budai’s unaltered



cold frame hoops piled against chain link—too late now;
Tuscan kale & chard in raised beds with frost killed

lettuce; tomato cages in primary
colors, some upright, some tumbled down; dormant

grape vines knotted & snarled along the top rail
by the sidewalk; flattened cardboard boxes rot

on mounded black soil, a slatted compost bin
heaped half full with stalks & unharvested squash


where the street curves, black mondo in disarray,
hellbore budding despite blighted leaves, yucca’s

haphazard gestures; two sandwich boards: yoga
& bakery; steam gushing from the laundry’s

exhaust pipes, & a coffee cup with heat sleeve
between two stones with indecipherable

white letters; past the hermetic ivy hedge,
swing set’s unorthodox tire on rusted chain

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Two Octets from New Year's Day

willamette river octet

gulls circle the Burnside Bridge in clockwise swoops,
launching from trusses, soaring over streetlight

towers—but the green-black water is troubled;
leaves still haunting the east bank, bleached & drifting;

at water’s edge, in the douglas firs’ reflection,
underwater rocks, one heart-shaped wine-red leaf

shimmering: the merganser floats on current’s
ripples away from driftwood, rusted culverts

◦    ◦    ◦

january evening octet

between here & Fremont: unforgiving air
pinched bronchioles with invisible digits—

sharp aroma of home fried red potatoes
in olive oil with scads of crushed red pepper—

boxwood Guanyin at the edge of lamplight, eyes
lowered, listening amongst framed photographs—

unnamed sound from the kitchen clicks at random,
off time to syncopate with the clock, these breaths

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

two lombard st octets



outlines of nameless trees sketched against puce clouds
spread on the north horizon; the cinderblock

Chinese restaurant reflects its own cerise
& emerald lights, its scarlet doors embossed

with diamond outlines—the doughnut shop sign,
rounded triangle embellished with faded

sunbeams, overlooks dormant roses: throbbing
ambulance lights accelerate past it all


what an array of nails & staples piercing
the utility pole! pavement radiates

gold flecks from afternoon rain into frigid
interminable evening—next to

a dentist’s office a small metal trellis
wrapped in what you may remember as yellow

roses: past the lone false cypress, one yellow
dragon coils in front of the restaurant’s blinds

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

tuesday inventory octet #2

lead sheets jumbled on a music stand catching
sunlight, also scored with the blinds’ thin shadows—

on the sofa table, polished agate slice
glows from its white center, jade rabbit crouches

between photos: two women in sunglasses;
a woman gazing intently to her right—

in a glass frame fringed with leaves, Yoshitoshi’s
Cowherd & Weaver Girl, with waxing crescent

Jack Hayes
© 2017


Monday, January 9, 2017

double octet for Guanyin

eight framed photos equal a meditation;
in their midst, carved boxwood Guanyin, attentive—

uncertain light enters through three south windows;
for an instant the glimpse of a circling gull,

white & gray as the sky—whatever happened
the days those photos were made manifest, now

gone now lingering—what would you each say?
my eyes try to meet the statue’s downcast eyes 

◦    ◦    ◦

the shikimi begins to bud; beyond pickets,
cotoneaster berries hang heavy; Guanyin’s

right hand ever open where the chisel cut—
each of your faces permeated with one

moment’s unrelenting desire, one moment’s
distraction—under the east window those few

red barberry leaves cling in January:
after all this, dim reflection of her gaze

Jack Hayes
© 2017


Sunday, January 8, 2017


We return for more wonderful music from Zoë Keating, as we shall every Sunday this month. Today’s selection is “Tetrishead” from her 2005 album One Cello x 16: Natoma. This piece is also currently being used by the Brazilian television series Felizes para Sempre? (“Happily Ever After?”). Keating has worked on a number of soundtracks, including Manhattan & the recent A&E series, The Returned (based on the French series Les Revenants).

Please do yourselves a favor: visit Keating’s website & buy her music. As I’ve mentioned previously, Zoë Keating is an independent artist who composes, performs, & produces her work. She richly deserves wide support for the great artistry & vision she’s sharing with all of us.


Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
Zoë Keating at eTech in 2009 (12 March 2009)
originally posted to Flickr as
zoe keating by Ed Schipul, who makes this file available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

moonlight quatrain

haloed crescent radiates over Venus;
earthshine discovers the old moon, embraced—

then cumulus clouds blend, drawing the curtain:
everyone I love in some other place

Jack Hayes
© 2017


Friday, January 6, 2017

State of the Blog 2017

Mitsumata on N. Fremont St 1/2/17

Hello friends. I decided to step aside from the torrent of poetry for a day & address you directly about where Robert Frost’s Banjo is at these days.

If you’ve been following the blog regularly, you’ve noticed a couple of things over the past few months. First, I’ve been blessed with a remarkable degree of poetic inspiration, & in the close to 40 years I’ve been seriously engaged in writing poetry, have never enjoyed such an output. I’m deeply grateful for this, but it’s strained what the blog can take—even posting two or three poems at a time, the posts now, with the exception of the occasional recent composition, such as yesterday or the last two Saturdays, are still poems from a month ago. Because the poems in essence form a journal & are very caught up in the moment, it’s making much less sense to continue the complete sequence here, & going forward I’ll only post poems that have been composed much closer to the date they appear
—say within a couple of weeks at most.

This means the blog won’t have a complete record of the work, nor will there be a blog dedicated to the poems from this manuscript as there have been for The Spring Ghazals & The Days of Wine & Roses.  I also didn’t create blogs for the poetry contained in the Union Pacific chapbook & the full-length collection Ullambana in Portland. This decision is in part simply because I’d like to sell some books, but also because of the work involved in maintaining so many blogs. Possibly in the future I’ll create such dedicated blogs—we’ll see. But not now. For those who are interested, the poems that have been appearing on the blog since early October will be published within the next few months, probably by early to mid March. News of this, with relevant links, will certainly appear right here!

The Sunday Music feature has returned, & I’d really like to keep that going; & occasionally I even post photos of the week! Ideally, I’d like to get Robert Frost’s Banjo back to something more resembling “A miscellany like Grandma’s attic in Taunton, MA or Mission Street's Thrift Town in San Francisco or a Council, ID yard sale in cloudy mid April or a celestial roadmap no one folded—you take your pick”—but for now my poetry is simply too pressing to allow for the research & writing that would entail.

We—that is my translation partner, Sheila Graham-Smith & I—really want to get back to the Chinese translations too, but again, the original poetry has taken precedence for the time being. I was sad we had to drop Du Fu’s “Autumn Meditations” halfway through, but the reality is we only have so much time for writing & editing. There are draft versions of “Meditations” five through eight, as well as a few other Du Fu translations we’ll complete when we can—& eventually forge ahead with many more from the Chinese classics!

Thanks for your continued support, & a very happy 2017 to you all.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

thursday octet after Vallejo

I’ll die in Portland some Thursday when cold rain’s
metal filings cascade through security

light’s golden shafts & memory turns to black
asphalt without cars, when the freightyard’s whistle

extends to infinite whole rest—come morning’s
usual light you’ll ask which cloud is mine, or

not: I’ll die in Portland some Thursday, perhaps
not this Thursday as silver overcast swells

Jack Hayes
© 2016


Note: The poem is obviously based on César Vallejo’s famous “Piedra negra sobre una piedra blanca”, though from a rather different perspective.

Those who are interested can find English translations of Vallejo’s poem at the following links: Thomas Merton; Robert Bly & John Knoepfle; Clayton Eshelman; Ed Dorn & Gordon Brotherston; & Andres Rojas. At the link to Rojas’ blog you’ll also find Donald Justice’s “Variations on a Theme by Vallejo”.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Two More December Octets

saturday inventory octet #1

second cup of coffee, the microwave’s hum;
on the counter, a full bag of mandarins—

small jar of Tiger Balm, camphor & menthol
rubbed on a balky back; a cough that won’t shake

despite weeks of slippery elm tea; pale sun
east behind unsettled clouds, double strikethrough

of power lines—white hoodie, black jacket tossed
across an arm chair, waiting for what comes next


multnomah st octet #2

from Holladay Park’s high maples, crows’ rhythmic
conversation accents a MAX train’s eastbound

clatter—a walk through air permeated with
chilled infinitesimal water, breathing out

through pursed lips—sun’s semi-circular halo
burned on nimbus overcast; on the pavement

crabapples gone black: deep in a puddle one
hornbeam emerges under a floating leaf

Jack Hayes
© 2016


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Two More Octets

killingsworth st octet #2

stroller hitched to a bike flies green & pink gauze
banners outside the music school—blue red green

neon balloons light up a florist’s windows;
carpets piled askew in a halal market

by the one shopping cart—the pho restaurant’s
lucky bamboo thrives in a water pitcher—

blue mattress collapsing against a streetlamp:
oak leaves rot on pavement; no oaks in sight

◦    ◦    ◦

b-loop streetcar octet #1
(Burnside to 2nd)

red shopping cart stocked with two empty beer cans,
a candy bar wrapper, birch leaves just as brown—

next stop nobody exits; a gust lifts leaves
counter to the blue wheelchair sign’s white arrow

aimed north—a small tweed suitcase forsaken in
gas station lights glowing primary colors—

impassive white brick building tinged stoplight red;
doors glide open, the white-bearded image shifts

Jack Hayes
© 2016


Monday, January 2, 2017

Two Octets from Failing St

failing st octet #1

alizarin camellias, their delicate
gold thread anthers, bloom then drop to sloping mud—

Oregon-grape staked to an iron pipe in
ragged grass by the street; evergreen glimmer

despite this overcast—ferns at the base of
a privacy fence blacken & rust—yellow

recycling tub amidst chestnut leaves’ decay
sits empty & mirrored within the puddle

◦    ◦    ◦

failing st octet #2

a gap between raindrops at first; catalpa
heart leaves have mostly fallen, leaving more space—

no one on the park’s basketball courts behind
heaped Chinese abelia; lights glowing tall

at 3:00 pm—upended blue wheelbarrow
seen through fence slats; aluminum ladder rests

tilted, not quite hidden behind trimmed privet:
raindrops fall closer & closer together

Jack Hayes
© 2016


Sunday, January 1, 2017

"Frozen Angels"

We have some very special music for your January listening pleasure. For each of the five Sundays this month, a video from Zoë Keating’s performance at MacWorld in 2011.

Those of you who know me &/or have followed the blog for some time are aware that I hold Zoë Keating’s artistry in very high esteem. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Zoë Keating’s work, a few words, however inadequate, as a brief introduction.

Zoë Keating is a cellist who uses looping software to create richly layered soundscapes with her compositions. This is simple in the telling, but the results are some of the best contemporary music I know. Keating has been described as a “one-woman orchestra”, but recently she has been a bit critical of that term—which makes sense. Her sound is much more about polyphony than symphony in the strict sense of the word. Originally Keating envisioned her compositions as being played by a consort of 16 cellos, but when this proved impractical, she used her technological expertise to perform them as a soloist.

“Frozen Angels” is from her 2005 album One Cello x 16: Natoma. Please do yourselves a favor: visit her website & buy her music. Keating is an independent artist who manages not only to compose & perform all this amazing music, but also to produce & promote it on her own. She deserves a wide audience & wide support. Also: if you ever have a chance to hear her perform live, do not miss it.


Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
Zoë Keating performs with Rasputina; Concert at La Sala Rossa, Montreal, Quebec, 26 October 2005.
Photo by Wiki user Simon Law, who generously makes it available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.