Sunday, November 7, 2010

Acknowledgments, Dedication & the Future

& so we come the conclusion—last Sunday’s poem, “She Sells Seashells” is the last poem in the book The Days of Wine & Roses, & so is also the final poem for this blog.  When I first began The Days of Wine & Roses blog, I thought I might use it for my poetry in general, but at some point it became clear to me that it should only be a online repository for the poems in my book, The Days of Wine & Roses.  So this blog will remain online, but I won't be adding new content for some time.  At some point in the next year or two, I'll be re-publishing The Days of Wine & Roses (book form) with ISBN & improved distribution.  I did this recently with my book of recent poems, The Spring Ghazals.  As a minor note: while this blog is inactive, I will be moderating comments just to keep spam out.

What remains?  I would like to reproduce the Acknowledgments & Dedication:

I want to acknowledge those I believe were most crucial to the creation of these poems & this book:

Judy Anderson, Gayle Eaton, Meghan Gehman, Eddie Gehman Kohan,  Dani Leone, Brittany Newmark-Klein, Pete Simonelli, Molly Turner, Eberle Umbach, Jonah Winter

I’d also like to acknowledge the readers of the Robert Frost’s Banjo & Days of Wine & Roses blogs for their encouragement.

This book of verse is dedicated to my beloved wife, Eberle Umbach, without whose love, hope, encouragement, & creative presence there would be very little poetry in my life.

If you are interested in this book as a book & not just as a series of blog posts, you can purchase it at lulu for $10.00 (US).

Thanks for your support, & all my best wishes to you, dear readers.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

She Sells Seashells

The tugboats are all in a hurry like clocks
& 7:00 a.m. is never far off
while the trolley's clanging its bell
It feels like
a glockenspiel looking for love all the while
she sells seashells by the seashore

& we're all in the pink this minute like
a soap bubble floating downtown with nary
a cent to its name Meantime
the newsstands just now are opening their shutters
What heartbroken gladiolas! Still
she sells seashells by the seashore

I suppose our sadness never quite gets ripe
& vermilion as mangoes blush
but the ocean gets tipsy sometimes
What can't it forget like a rainbow that's lost
its hat in the breeze?  Nonetheless
she sells seashells by the seashore

Hey Time slows down sometimes
It never sits down in the sun-
flower yellow sun on a beach blanket spread as
thin & flat as a snapshot
That's ok take my hand anyhow & anyhow
she sells seashells by the seashore

& 7:00 p.m. is never far off it's
a tramp freighter turning aquamarine as
a ferris wheel taking a spin somewhere
north-northwest of the moon & Forever's
always arriving just a little too soon as
she sells seashells by the seashore

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Heaven #6

Once upon a time there was
Once upon a time there was a castle by the
    *  *  *

Once upon a time there was a castle by the sea & a percolator bubbling on a faded taupe Formica counter
    *  *  *
the sand is just so much white sugar
    *  *  *
this unheimlich clock, this black-ice breaking
    *  *  *

Max whispers sharps, she whispers dry-ice stars
    *  *  *

The real world had had its day, it ended in a fit of rain & blackbirds
    *  *  *

A patch of witchgrass
    *  *  *
A patch of witchgrass gone to seed in the

    *  *  *

A patch of witchgrass gone to seed in the asphalt & the asphalt looks a little bit like a cracked mirror
    *  *  *
Max in a black dress in the fractured light
    *  *  *
Once upon a time there was
    *  *  *

Once upon a time there was a german sanatorium swarming with black tubercular sport coats, a novel swarming with purple finches
    *  *  *
free at last from the wages of sin, Max gets into her car
    *  *  *
This is the street where we danced last Wednesday—have the streetlights vanished so completely
    *  *  *

there’s no sunset there’s only the wet wet heaven

    *  *  *

a last chance to float on wide band radio waves

    *  *  *

Once upon a time there was
Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kinder- Und Hausmärchen Without A Nightlight

The trees muy ansiosos tried—
they couldn't locate their fingertips the
dehydrated hands
the xylem & phloem cracked skin's surfacing through they

clutched shovels—
& maybe this was the answer— &
stove-pipe hats the crowns ripped up the geese
flew out these chimneys

(grandmama's feathers scattered a mortal cough
rousted—was this my childhood— the
trout à tort et à travers
lacustrine etc air streaked the— why

wicked birds roosted in a
bride's eyes— a wish dizzier was what it was
than a newspaper hat aswirl in the well's
pneumonia— first there was the air

then there was sky too higher—
what comes next
(quartz river with its grave robbers & seamed eyes'
zwitterig red trees— a novena

candle smoldered jaune in that
kitchen window (on
young trees the bark is smooth &
gray-brown becoming scaly

& furrowed with maturity— (my
lace schrecklich curtains waving— what nerve—
inflamed like a hangnail hands burned

campfires— they tried I said
to loiter like toughs smoking
bones— trout streaked
silver shovels shoveling rivers was this

my childhood (hands
splintering grasping the spoon o the
bird's nest soup
(no one sleeps

no one sleeps at last
except grandmama she's the house asleep
in the trees— muy ansiosos— a roost
where is this the Black Forest

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Call Me Ishmael

Ishmael was walking into a restaurant where the walls were plastered with clocks.  A pair of PF Flyers.  A crabapple tree beneath which someone’s sitting skinning an apple with a paring knife.  Alice is far away on a steamship sailing for Turkestan.  Ishamael felt certain he was wearing a turban.  A mischievous stop sign.  A cup of lukewarm latté served by 1 of the dozen anonymous gals he thinks about at 3:00 a m in lieu of smoking cigarettes.  The gobi desert seems so empty: nothing but dinosaur bones & sand dunes & a hot dog stand rising with its weiner dog sign grinning crazily in the orange & gray sunrise.  A white hand was reaching thru the sky— as if she’d busted it open with her fist as she reached for this morning’s new bottle of milk & the newspaper.  It wasn’t as violent as all that.  Just a rupture thru the azimuth between True North & Modesto.  True North/True West.  A piano rising awkwardly off the lawn in the midst of Hungarian Rhapsody No. ? in ?.  Ishmael is unhappy just now.  Ishmael has a tootsie pop & a cup of coffee.  There has to be more than this.  The Royal Palms on Cumberland Island, GA were fucking the thunderheads.  Lightning bolts scratching the black sky all the way to the ocean surface.  The night sky as usual could be just abt anything: a time machine for instance.  Ishmael could walk into it without scarcely getting his brown oxfords wet.  It could be said he needs a shave.  The night sky black as the skin of a Royal manual typewriter that’s black as the skin of a pit viper coiled in the mud in the Okefenokee swamp gorging itself on screaming mice.  An alligator marching into the Winn-Dixie in Ocala as if it knew how much we love parades.  The ticker tape raindrops, the glass busting kersplash as her hand busts thru the sky’s picture window.  Makes me think of fisticuffs on St Pat’s in the Mill bar in Winooski, VT, Ishmael w/an infected set of stitches swelling his left wrist as he wallowed into the 3rd year of a 3 week binge.  It was like leaning off the same bar stool 3 weeks running.  Ishmael in a knee-length navy coat falling smack off the curb into the street onto his kneecaps.  Somebody playing sweet jane from Rock n’Roll Animal & Ishmael gonzo in the bathroom trying not to drown in a urinal: I know a man in Christ who, 14 years ago, whether he was in or outside his body I cannot say, only God can say— a man who was snatched up to the 3rd heaven.  I know that this man— whether in or outside his body I do not know, God knows— was snatched up to Paradise to hear words which cannot be uttered, words which no man may speak.   & so forth.  A Royal manual typewriter spitting out obituaries in the alcove back of a bay window & outside the winds getting especially frantic, the hurricane of ‘38 with its flipped out pea-green houseboats scattered across the Fenway— the sky which could be a time machine so dark it’s spitting out rutabagas & eggplants etc.  Ishmael walks into the future with wet feet.  He’s standing in slushy snow on a street corner in Washington state just outside a Rexall drug store.  The ghost in the machine.  An american chestnut bookcase.  Emily drove a blue car.  Jane reaching thru the sky to snatch the milk bottle.  A rupture.

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Full Moon Wearing A Fez

In a castle that's brainstorming atop a mesa,
in Istanbul under an orange street lamp,
the typewriter won't stop clattering—
which irks Max Gala, the infamous ballerina who's tipsy

in Istanbul.  Under the orange street lamp
Jimmy Calypso does the sort of tango
which irks Max Gala.  Infamous as a ballerina, tipsy,
sweating capsized stars from a dry martini,

Jimmy Calypso does the sort of tango
that also looks like a sharkskin suit
sweating capsized stars from a dry martini.
These love letters penned in the moon's ink seem hypnotic

& also look like a sharkskin suit
lacking a handkerchief.  Max Gala stares at
a love letter penned in the moon's ink; it seems hypnotic,
& literally flies off the clattering typewriter

like a handkerchief.  & Max stares at
the castle's silent films while Silent Alice
literally flies off the clattering typewriter
that keeps itself busy cranking out

the castle's calamitous films; while Silent Alice
is smoking Chesterfield Kings on the heavenly elevator
that keeps itself busy cranking, out
where there are just a few stars

smoking Chesterfield Kings. On the heavenly elevator
also, Max feels like a palm tree in an Istanbul saloon
where there are just a few stars.
Some are blondes, & some the are the red-heads

Max also feels like.  Palm trees in an Istanbul saloon
are obsessed with Silent Alice, like everyone else;
some are blondes & some are the redheads
drunk on french kisses—the french kisses

are obsessed with Alice.  Like everyone else
Max sometimes takes life for a 3-ring circus
drunk on french kisses, the french kisses
glowing like the whiskey sours

Max sometimes takes life for; the 3-ring circus
is sparkling in the oasis amongst the stars; they're
glowing like whiskey sours
the moon sucks through puckered lips

sparkling in the oasis.  Amongst the stars there are
last cigarettes & then there are last cigarettes
the moon sucks through puckered lips.
Max Gala thoughtfully finishes off the sky's

last cigarettes.  & then there are last cigarettes
rolled up in Jimmy Calypso's love letter
Max thoughtfully finishes off.  The sky's
like Alice's rhinestone-studded sunglasses, absorbing things

rolled up in Jimmy Calypso, his love letters
& Max Gala's feathered Stetson & Alice's
rhinestone-studded sunglasses.  Like Alice, absorbing things,
a beautiful brunette bird's soaring thru the miasma

like Max's feathered Stetson.  & Alice is
also one of the Queen of Night's incarnations that's
a beautiful brunette bird soaring thru the miasma
flecked with light, & graceful as a leather jacket

that's also one of the Queen of Night's incarnations.
That's how night exists in the desert castle,
flecked with light like a leather jacket
Max sports in delinquent mufti.  She knows

that's how night exists in the desert castle
where bubbly's drunk from the snakeskin boots
Max sports.  In delinquent mufti, she knows
the last dance is saved for Alice who's soaring

where bubbly's drunk from the snakeskin boots
that are actually Alice's;
the last dance is saved for Alice who's soaring
where the moon's fez is also floating.  These thoughts

are actually Alice's
in a castle brainstorming atop a mesa,
where the moon's fez is floating, these thoughts also
are the typewriter's, & it won't stop clattering.

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Heaven #5

Mycenean death masks unearthed in Jersey. Scrambled eggs.

*  *  *

This morning shimmers with such an aroma of    
volatile organic compounds & bird's nest soup.

*  *  *

One feels faint like Alice surrounded by a quorum of dodos.

*  *  *

A croquet game interrupted by sonic booms. The seventh inning stretch.

*  *  *

An actual quill pen that once rested in Saintsbury's palm.

*  *  *

A gas range, & Djuna Barnes singing All the Things You Are.

*  *  *

Here's a Rudy Vallee record in a soaked raincoat its life's tragic

*  *  *

The bus hasn't come

*  *  *

We're not monomaniacs says Max, she likes country music far too much

*  *  *

Sometimes she wishes for wallpaper & a train rushing into oblivion somewhere across the Nevada's white skin then

*  *  *

Tons of crows thrashed the air black & blue

*  *  *

Santa's Land USA seen from an El Dorado

*  *  *

A diner in the shape of a rainbow trout swallowing the wet fly, into which a herd of holsteins is transported rosily melting

*  *  *

Stars & more stars stars with weird monikers for instance egg foo yong or pink flamingo or Mildred

*  *  *

Praying mantis

*  *  *

    It could be anybody it could be you

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I Cover the Waterfront

I forget what I was going to say oh
bony kneecaps with gooseflesh
not to mention a blossoming quincebush
asleep on the deck of a steamship
pretty face
in a broken glass
in an underwater cocktail lounge
here's a man who lives a life of danger
a tourist from Kansas a fat cloud
            floating towards the wharf
Sayonara pal time passes non-
chalantly into San-raku's Sushi House
            Platonic watches
            Mickey Mouse watches
            day-glo watches drenched in lethal doses of radiation
A water pistol's waiting in the bushes
for something & it's blue & yellow but I
forget what but that won't stop
time passing with its
hats with stupendous last names
            Amoretti Timaeus
            Gamma globulin
floating nonchalantly as I forget what
jellyfish steamships
There are so few real eyeballs left
Most of the rest have become Death's-Head Moths &
the rest are first-day issue stamps
& the bugs are furious furious gyroscopes
spinning solid gold hits from the Fabulous 50's I forget which
the bugs are furious furious zeitgeists
are zipguns
it's 86 fabulous degress in this obese fog
it's 97 degrees
it's 103 degrees in the wide-eyed white-hot moonlight
The amphetamines have big ideas
            Forbidden Planet
You're asleep on a steamship
Do they call those packetboats or
package stores
            covert radios
            Platonic radios
Rosie glued to the Outer Limits reruns
It's sad how these things happen
Who feels like
rose bushes
rose bushes blooming peppermint swirls
& corneas red from crying I
forget why
You're asleep on a steamship the water's blue but it's
unsatisfied—Life's funny
what's anything like
a steamship
green anti-freeze green ocean
with no name other than Joe
or oviparous mass or radio out-of-commission

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

Things are coming to life as if
things had much choice: the masking tape, the
scissors, mothballs, rootbeer-flavored lollipops
sucked clean to the cardboard fingerbone
baby carriages like umbrellas on wheels, I'm in one now
smoking a macanudo, it tastes like Papa's socks on April
8 1965— these inanimate objects
had their own ambitions in life: the whiskbroom, the peppermint
candy wrappers crackling something electric gone on the fritz
the briarwood pipe
                               now we're in business
c'est la vie c'est la guerre there are no more
doctors more importantly there are no more
black doctor's bags, no more stethoscopes
there are plenty of folks who can't comprehend the absolute
despair of watching a wind-up elephant
pedaling a trike
tip over as I am right now
as my head becomes a light-blue lightbulb
it's not what Mamma wanted what Mamma wanted was
a new turquoise car
& visions of the beautiful for instance a conical party hat
walking past a flatiron building on a lemon yellow
soda pop of a saturday afternoon
which reminds her of a song
for four hands
& pink & turquoise visions of the beautiful a
picnic basket & excelsior & every possible color of
jelly beans
I'm going to town
where everyone as if they had much choice
dreams dreams
                      & one night Jane dreams the circus has come to town

& the town's a laundry basket developing mildew
& the mildew's a town with its outskirts & storefronts boarded up
& the board of directors spends wednesday on the phone
spouting obscene graffiti
& as usual Jane comes to in Golden Gate Park
which as usual teems with ducks & perambulators
Look at me I say I'm an Easter basket

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Terzanelle 4 Rent

The apartment's windows vibrate white wavelengths
& these resemble nothing so much as a sublime rendition
of Rhapsody in Blue played back with the volume off;

in between I floated deaf as an umbrella raised
in June in its positive-thinking weather & you
resembled nothing so much as a sublime rendition

of resentment like The Waltz of the Flowers backwards;
so many frequencies criss-crossed it felt like silence
in June in its positive-thinking weather & you

spoke mouthfuls the way a potted cyclamen speaks,
the syntax reversed; there were lots of objects falling;
so many frequencies criss-crossed it felt like silence

it felt like a petunia screwed into one's lapel;
the petals must give you a headache budding like that
their syntax reversed; there were lots of objects falling

like petals that give you a headache budding;
our apartment's windows vibrated white wavelengths
the green-skinned nights we got tipsy on jazz & streetlights
& Rhapsody in Blue played back with the volume off

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 8/1


A dish of red beans & rice congeals on top of
a mahogany armoire while yellow light slants thru
venetian blinds like a baby grand’s
lid trembling imperceptibly during some

Revolutionary Étude climax while a sack of
Popeye’s 3-piece spicy white meat chicken
oozes grease on an embroidered ottoman while
Charlotte paints her toenails C# black while

a passel of mayflies is giving it up in
the mentholated smoke New England evening
air like a swarm of slot machines simultaneously coming up

cherries while a rose bouquet leaves Marlowe with
premonitions of 1 thousand Maoist blossoms debating
the musical questions of a personal life

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 7/23


A doorknob sprouts in a VA tomato patch under a
steaming tapioca bare-assed sun—
but it’s not a miracle Ma Chère it’s got no
door to look forward to— in a VA

tomato patch where Marlowe’s making a
new start as a garter snake creeping thru the
evil 4-leaf clovers & a croquet match occasionally
interrupted by sonic booms that are actually

latex enamel electric blue peacocks whooping
Siamese orgasms— in a VA creeper miracle
Ma Chère where there’s no new start to

look forward to Marlowe sheds his skin 1 more time
like a drenched black trenchcoat mumbling
Sayonara to all that

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 7/18


A prop job with the tsetse fly shakes like a
ukulele strumming My Little Grass Hut like a
kaleidoscope undergoing the shudders shattering then
coalescing as a map but it’s alright darling

Marlowe just thinks he’s a desert island with a
fountain pen & 1 solitary Royal Palm
He’s actually an Easter Island fetish dressed in a
tux aloft in a shuddering lawn swing surveying a

distant landscape that hasn’t got many
mouths or ears or eyes tho
the wind’s got an armload of black & white photos

swirling like so many undead shadows The
prop job hunts for any chimney it can descend into
in lieu of a dead volcano

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 7/16


A streetlight with scoliosis a
confirmed old bachelor too the night’s
prismatic night sweats are a problem too a con-
firmed old bachelor with a bunch of re-

collections it just can’t shake with a
wheeze like a fire extinguisher wheezing mica a
confirmed old bachelor a trace jaundiced at that the
night’s incontinence is a problem too there

isn’t much sunlight to say the least there
isn’t a Holiday Inn swimming pool glinting blonde to
say the least the fog on Divisadero 12 any-

thing a m thick with soap bubbles in search of a
mouth & Marlowe feels more like a spectroscope
with an astigmatism no less

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 7/11


India ink spruce trees up on the hill it
could be anywhere watching the sunset’s
locomotive crash into the swamp with its
refrigerators & rowboats & slightly effeminate

ferns & a black wool blanket overrun with
beetles & ladybugs & a snapshot of Jane with
a peach pie & a thermos It could be
anywhere anytime September 2 1988 Albemarle

County VA like a porcelain full moon that looks like
a magnolia blossom sprouting from a caboose that’s
rattling & hooting through heaven like a

tugboat chugging through water lilies &
Marlowe’s just now dropping a line to the past stating
If you miss the train I’m on you will etc

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 7/1


The sky’s big blue eye isn’t a blue eye after all
sure looks like 1 tho & sincere too the rose
petals pressed between the pages turning black the
newspaper clippings turning piss yellow the

Polaroids taped against the infinite the clouds’ whitish
teeth chew them up spit them out just like
Wrigley’s Spearmint Well the sky just can’t quit
smoking So why’re you so nervous Mr Marlowe

There’re awnings everywhere on the margins of
existence & they’re all undergoing acupuncture It’s
taking place on Haight & Masonic for instance

where Rosie’s strolling like a dog-eared paperback
novel as dirty blonde & voluble & in which
Marlowe can’t find his place

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 6/30


A coffee cup squats in a singular mood of
lust & vapor & resignation like a shooting
gallery duck that keeps coming back for more &
maybe the night’s kind of syrupy not sweet tho

there’s not 1 toothache in the violet fog not 1
sugar packet not 1 pair of panties drying on a
clothesline under a gawking monocled blue
blue moon’s decapitated noggin that can’t stop

thinking Who wears monocles nowadays but
the sky’s riddled with unstable stars that can’t stop
coming unsnapped like safety pins that can’t stop

falling gigantic as ironing boards flattening
hopes & fears & so forth unnoticed by most as
Marlowe’s head floats off like a chipped coffee cup

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 6/23


A blue coughdrop lost in the depths of Marlowe’s
sport coat pocket like a spelunker run out of
luck amongst vampire bats & subterranean
phone numbers no one answers gives up the ghost

gasping We are such stuff as dreams are etc. &
sinks like a mollusk that’s lost it’s shell into the
godforsaken depths of a lachrymose pre-socratic
tidal pool tastes like a stale Carling Black Label

& it wasn’t so long ago either Jekyl Island GA
June 1988 Jane did the australian crawl in a
lukewarm ocean of interminable love or at least

sex with loads of good will behind it like
a waterbed on castors with a burnt clutch lurching
like the subway Marlowe now stumbles into

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 6/21


A deuce of hearts misplaced in the arms of a
VT forsythia bush the other blossoms of course a
sort of raincoat yellow & the heart inside the coat’s
sort of sputtering like a buckwheat pancake on a

griddle in a Mojave truck stop in the middle of 100 miles of
yucca & borax & bleak fortune cookie sticking their
paper tongues out like so many 5¢ Chinatown
postcards Marlowe’s penning return address un-

known tho it could be the North Pole for that matter
someplace he couldn’t escape from like a snapshot mis-
placed long ago in a bungalow run aground long after the

Mendelssohn wedding recessional shed white yellow
blue pink scads of umbilical blossoms scattering ev-
eryplace as tho the mailbox had blown up at last

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 6/20


The sunset just looks like radioactive chicken soup
iridescent & pissed-off & splashing across the flat-top
Victorians lurking Dear Diary like water glasses
in a diner whose whole herd of stainless butterknives

will slice fluorescent light into butter & harmonicas &
Marlowe’s jukebox breakfast on another tomorrow with its
        odor of
sex & Ivory soap floating across the Pacific amongst
almighty Holsteins chewing & lolling like trawlers

It all looked like a vinyl tablecloth spreading a classical
picnic in the ruins of the Parthenon where Maggie’s
sipping her 5th milky espresso & the moon by then

spilling its milk across the table
spilling its milk across Marlowe who’s feeling about
        as bucolic
as a hospital bed sleeping it off in Dolores Park

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 6/13


A black umbrella wobbling above blue yellow &
purple gingerbread houses thru sheets of
rain with its maple sap half-life & an avenue meantime menaced by
black rotary phones & princess phones & the stained

glass doors guarded by dachshunds with
bobbing heads & the only fish that swim past Marlowe sport
big black dewlaps like Jerry Lewis bow ties tho
Marlowe feels like a kite doing the deadman’s float tho

Nantucket is pretty far off still &
Maggie’s flickering there like a lovely black haired candle a
smattering of black-eyed Susans blooming across her

black scuffed combat boots tho as usual she’s a
concertina exuding Nino Rota
tho the wedding got rained out in the 2nd inning

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 6/9


The blue cars sighing a little like zippers
unzipped in a breathless studio apt in the midst of
this miserable sonofabitch effluvial moonlight that’s
sweating like a bottle of Mexican Coca Cola in the

Sacramento bus station May 1988 It felt like
a country radio station sobbing sucrose &
Dear John letters & Pictures from Life’s Other Side across a
Formica counter in the midst of Marlowe’s nervous

collapse like a red dwarf star’s collapse like the
red tip of Alice’s Marlboro collapsing into an ashtray amidst a
fistful of ocotillos when it was too late after all & Marlowe

feels like Ambrose Bierce in the midst of
Mexico D.F. in the midst of life & so forth & after all darling
the blue cars come to a stop at the stop sign

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 6/8


Marlowe at 1-something a m on a worknight’s
like a typewriter with a case of yellow fever
a ‘56 Chevy Bel Air rusting in
a humongous ice rink

like a cigarette butt with hepatitis B a
rheumatic 2-slice toaster clogged with
poached eggs & who crammed the
poached eggs into the slot

In the dream Marlowe’d rather have for breakfast
he tells Charlotte all the relevant stuff
like a wedding band made of lips

like a peach crate come down with textbook melancholia
& Spring is springing like nothing off a trampoline
in a wood-paneled rec room

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 5/30


A cigarette drowns in a strawberry milkshake its
last words being Save the last dance for me as the
tumbleweeds waltz a Brahms waltz under a life
preserver orange TX sun May 1988

& Marlowe walks smack into the future into a
telephone booth misplaced in a spaghetti western an
unruly Rorsarch blot smearing the western horizon like
a down sleeping bag with egyptian dreams

But a few things are true at present a slice of
strawberry rhubarb pie drenched in melted vanilla
ice cream a dial tone chirping Waltzing Matilda

& Marlowe growing a little bit older as VT
sinks like a beer bottle in a stagnant beaver pond
whether or not Marlowe actually uses the phone

Jack Hayes
© 2010

This poem previously appeared on the Haphazard Gourmet Girls blog. Although the blog is no longer extant, the editors have my continued gratitude for the role they played in my return to writing poetry after a 12-year absence.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 5/27


A quart of clamato & a wrecked green
canoe amongst loads of other stuff a stuffed
orange easy chair going up in smoke to the tune of
Beim Schlafengehen set by Richard Strauss sung by

Ms Melodramatic Archaic Ocean tragic as the
rain in Charlotte NC raining mandolins & buttons &
Vitamin B complex something Marlowe longs for
like a cigar store indian with a breathtaking crush

So Marlowe wants to unscrew his lid
& spill it There’re so many dishes surfacing in the
sink the toy boats have all run freaking aground like

an onslaught of words starring dirty windows like a
wishing well smashed with wooden nickels like a
waterlogged Kaw-Liga in a bonfire

© Jack Hayes 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 5/23


Tweed birds— sporting thought balloons too thinking
gadzooks an unmanageable rainbow landing at the
        bus terminal

& other wooly entities in the bottlebrush trees &
tea kettles whistling thru Marlowe’s paranoia

So much for Wednesday’s red desert floribunda
with its debonair hopeless yodeling
The cigarette smoke’s a gray sky white planes
penetrate What could they be hunting down

A wool NY Yankees cap misplaced under a quilt
Or somewhere equally stifling
17 weeks of Sneaky Pete & smoke not to mention

oceanic dreams about steamships & icebergs emerging
under a hairy evening star that’s recuperating
like a fright wig floating above Point Lobos

© Jack Hayes 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets - 5/21

A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets were written over a bit less than three months in 1996; the date on each poem indicates when it was written. I remember them as being pretty spontaneous overall, & while I’m sure I envisioned more than seventeen sonnets, I think the seventeenth sonnet, dated August 1, 1996, brought the sequence to a good end point. The sonnets will be posted here, one per week for the next 17 weeks!

Some people assumed at the time the sonnets were being written that the character “Marlowe” was literally intended to be Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe character. Tho I am a big Chandler fan & read him a lot around this time, this was at most a piece of the puzzle. I liked the name in general, & I also had the (reputedly) dissolute Elizabethan poet in mind as well as the fictional LA detective. There also are both autobiographical & imagined details contained in the character quite separate from either of those two figures.

One final note—just because I liked the way it looked, I abbreviated state names in these poems: VT=Vermont, VA=Virginia, etc. When I gave readings I would say the state name, not the abbreviation. The streets referred to are in San Francisco, mostly either in the Mission or the Western Addition (or betwixt & between the two.

The first sonnet was dated 5/21. Here it is:


A badminton net in a VT backyard afflicted with a
Rosicrucian sunset & an outbreak of communist mosquitos
buzzing a Manachevitz buzz in Mr Marlowe’s a-
symmetrical ears— & a transistor radio

perched in a scotch pine sporting superfluous
shades & crooning Blue Bayou— which is likewise
superfluous— as Baltimore Orioles
swooping into the hedge to roost make Marlowe think

Descartes was right for no particular reason
except he’s cadaverous drunk & shouldn’t be lounging
in the tattered green & white lawn chair after all

his eyes floating westward plasmic inside a spectacular
bronze Chevy Malibu 15 miles east of Needles
where shuttlecocks & fortune cookies are likewise dissolving

© Jack Hayes 1996-2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Heaven #4

There aren’t any plans, just sand dunes & morning sunshine w/ its coffee & scrambled eggs on a blue plate & so forth.

* * *

The zinnias are on the nod.

* * *

A snowdome in the midst of which is Max strumming a guitar. She has dreams about flamenco dancing on the deck of a packet boat. Were these packet boats or package stores?

* * *

Cigarettes lit & smoked in a gray frenzy.

* * *

The walls weren’t any color that’s got a name &
I wasn’t about to give them 1

* * *

The snow fell, each flake a homunculus w/ an umbrella.

* * *

Max & Jack in a parking lot under an orange marmalade full moon, & it’s dripping sweat & tears of rage & cigarette ash & bread crumbs. They all went out to breakfast.

* * *

What a plethora of picnics: & all w/ the accompaniment of a string quintet.

* * *

The stars were late—

* * *

The world’s up past it’s bedtime
It’s not the world’s bedtime it’s mine

* * *

They were never really lovers, it was just one of those unavoidable collisions in the midst of stoplights & Black-eyed Susans

* * *

How often can a memory warm a soul?

* * *

The night sky is puzzled & has only 1 cloud— there are a whole string of etcs & ampersands stretching toward the western horizon.

* * *

A lonely harmonica w/ laryngitis.

* * *

Ascending on funiculars into the constellations

* * *

A bassoon-like cough maybe like a couple bars from Franck’s
Symphony in D Minor

* * *

The nameless hour
the sky leaning upon the hills

Jack Hayes
© Jack Hayes 2010. All rights reserved

Sunday, April 25, 2010


You’re laughing the silk poinsettia
Xmas necktie again, the one the fuchsia bush ties on for
another hungover magenta Sunday here in
                                                                           statussymbolland & laughing
an HO gauge Lionel trainwreck, the requisite
catastrophe: jumping the tracks at Santa
Rosa sometime in March 1987 when you yourself were feeling a
                                                                              tad like a bicycle perhaps—
jumping the tracks under the indefatigable
lemonade sunshine you can sip if you like thru this pleated
the trainwreck spilling cedar waxwings &
eggplants & a passel of gorgeous scarlet yo-yos soaring let’s say just
for the heck of it into the clouds etc

I’m constantly astounded by such things: & June busting thru
as usual like a headstrong taxi nailing a puddle—
Don’t contradict me!
I’ll deny nothing: you somewhere else in that pink & green neon-hemmed
black pleated skirt: the night itself with its tons & tons of black coffee dis-
solving sugary stars into sugar itself & as I was saying a neon-hemmed
                                                                                            advertising Vegas
sexy as a 2-door Cadillac Coupe de Ville rolling over
the Mojave northward ex-
ploding San Francisco snowdome calendars skyrocketing out the power
windows, rolling from
                                          diner to event horizon to diner
like a flying saucer

like a flying saucer sporting a bonnet with actual
gardens sprouting on it— which is 100% demonstrable
fact, this happening— which includes a waterfall falling then falling some
                                                                              such a silky lincoln green
necktie with big coin print, such a cascade of schmaltzy
Nilsson songs with their own astonishing beauties, such
a torrent of surfactants— i.e. your laughter & crankiness &
                        nobody knows your business &
nobody knows your business— & fugitive goldfish & April showering
strawberries strawberries strawberries & stubborn
Vietnamese lunch menus, in essence they’re bad translations from
Les Misérables
                                                with a touch of fish sauce
& fragments from 10,000 homeless nasturtiums scattered across
the know universe & across the first
drive in theater in Camden NJ 1933
                                        & you somewhere else

But you are most assuredly NOT NJ whatever else I might say
I might say for instance bird’s nest soup or I Didn’t Know What Time It Was
as if I were actually Frank Sinatra oozing Extra
                                                                    Virgin Olive Oil
all over the antipasto’s black tree-lined avenues— but
the checkered tablecloths were spectacular as ever!—
but more like an opera actually, actual plastic redshell turtles glued to the
terrarium rocks & of course your weekly horoscope with its fits & its
                                   empty hands & a half a grapefruit—
as if I were actually Frank Sinatra though I’m really neurotic & twitchy, I’m
Rudy Vallee with a redwing blackbird’s
heart where my tongue ought to be
                Take my word for it! Things are always this way:

black penny loafers aching for a shine & actually feeling about as
        dumb as
a Bellows Falls VT wishing you were here postcard especially if seen thru
basically octagonal glasses brimming with
hummingbirds swirling kaleidoscopes, a diet
                Mountain Dew effervescing into
lily of the valley in a glass
snowdome, a field deep in the depths of darkest Sonoma comprised of
lime sorbet a misplaced blue sailboat sailing west by southwest thru a #1
PETE plastic Pine-Sol bottle
                                                                          a skyblue-pink
                                                                          TV set hovering
where the sunset was supposed to be, a blackrose print
dress speaking perfect French & hovering
on its own lonely clothesline— black penny loafers self-conscious meantime
as a frozen vanilla yogurt upside-down on the sidewalk i.e. the paper
cone’s downside & nothing to say but
See you in the funny papers or else

I’m OK actually I feel like a blue light blue
moon on any godforsaken Saturday in the most Pabst Blue Ribbon-
          ridden cocktail lounge on Valencia— or else
          like a raspberry bush with its bruised
          ego & angst & feeling slightly preposterous sporting as no plant has ever
          the black silk full moon
          rising necktie you’re laughing thru your
          117 moods
                                              each in a different shade of green
          I don’t doubt the world or fate
          but I’m standing by a cup of tea in my hand
          but maybe it’s not your cup of tea

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010


when the sky’s tumbling into a heap of frustrated
nightsticks the cops with their sea of cop-
ernicus eyes gawking luridly & gray at the
balloons in disarray
which are red & Israelite with memories of the
desert the silhouettes of Joshua trees the tawdry
Rte 66 gift shops lurching into view straight out of the pages
of Bullfinch
                    the hedge had a baltimore oriole nest hidden just out of the
king snake’s reach
there are only 16 things left in the world besides memory
green eyes a television set a pair of Reeboks a baseball glove a
cheeseburger etc
I can’t remember what to say after we say good-bye
& the blinds are drawn &
the oven’s turned off the
streetlight on Grove St glaring into my eyes well
sleeping’s sort of irrelevant when everybody wants to smoke &
be in love with you & be somewhere dancing

Jack Hayes
© 1996-2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dr. Zhivago

In this film I'm not quite dead but I'm just as good as because I'm a snowman; & besides she's wearing a wool cap, which gets my attention. There was something, too, about catching a train, & the train meantime was inching up the elevator shaft or somewhere else it's snowing like crazy & in the Cyrillic alphabet or, as you might guess, a bit effervescently like this string of white Xmas lights exploding into still photos of her 93% naked. I've said that before. It's not like a string of white Xmas lights exploding into still photos of her 93% naked, it's like a flurry of eyeballs each staring fixedly behind a monocle. I told her it's 7:23 in Berlin & there are few poems that could compare with the goldfinches singing in her underthings or some other French lyrical malarkey about jewelry, rhododendrons & grecian ruins undergoing a blizzard; but as desperately as I was looking for an orthodox church & a Pennsylvania Dutch quilt with complex memories of her pajamas, just then I was somewhere else; & who doesn't understand that desperate sense of being displaced when someone passes the borscht through the clouds, through the Bolsheviks in their rabbit-fur hats & through that piquant aroma of copulation that accompanies every good meal, & all the while you're thinking of making it like souls in bliss in a house full of 16 tons of snowdrifts: though to be honest you're utter strangers, not to mention you're a snowman. But I told her it's 9:30 a.m. in Moscow & I need to get inside. There were a few other non-sequitors, for instance my moustache becoming the 1 sentence of a love letter that'll penetrate the centuries like a passenger train, its sleeper cars awash in snowstorms— but it really wasn't like a flurry of eyeballs each staring fixedly behind a monocle, it was like a seasick dictionary. Words, words, words. Right now it's hard to say why I'm thinking so much about her amidst the dead sockeye salmon gillcovers & the brokendown zambonis & the crumpled Personals section & the baggy Russian monsters. It's hard to say anything. That's what winter means, folks. The world is flat & so is this beach. Skating across the Pacific. Skating across the Pacific we fall in love & then through the black ice thousands of miles west of Waikiki. Under the dense & frozen waves you could see boxes of chocolates that sailors have been tossing overboard since time immemorial. I was about 7 then & drowning in the rural town pool's black water; at the bottom was a no-wax ice rink linoleum floor chock full of figure skates cutting her silhouette into a map of upstate NY's unhappy arthritic finger lakes, & there I was becoming a balalaika. Thank god it didn't hurt, & on top of that, here I was, if not dead as a doorknocker, then a snowman at least laying with her under a ton of salt & beach balls & dog sleds. If this
ain't love, what is it? Nonetheless, I'm inundated with realists. Nonetheless, the revolution is tramping on snowshoes towards the Ice Palace. At last we have reached that delicious place where everything makes sense, but here amidst the Kleenex & the tortured teeth & the blowfish & the hypothermic gloves, who can tell who actually had a mind of winter? Good-night, my one-&-only, I'm floating away from your lovely wool face through the ice & through the regions of space where there isn't an awful lot of matter, just a few mongrel stars & a tavern with Rhinegold on tap. When next we meet I’ll practically be an iceberg.

Jack Hayes
© 1990-2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Love Song #57

It was one of those nights the wind has lots of hands all groping for 16th notes the turntable spits out spinning off whistling black lips without any body— they sounded like a clarinet wheezing a kiss through exsanguinating teeth & it emanates from this birdcage that's in fact a wire mannequin's pelvis & there're no sleeping parakeets there, there's only a radio perched on the edge of a precipice & a pair of mirror sunglasses looking lonesome without a face;

& each hand gestured desperately like the hotel's curtains, & just as out-of-breath & as stitched at the wrists, because one night at the same time Gwendoline snatched the pentangle down through the curtains thinking eternity & The Sunday Funnies as well as I want a blue ballpoint— which is nothing if not blue blue eyeballs exsanguinating— they'd come to realize they were not so happy as everybody thought they must be;

& each hand had a few too many blue blue eyeballs bursting the seams i.e. the lifeline, the loveline, they looked like paper napkins folded into hats transformed to the Sunday Funnies folded into hats— as if some stupendous haberdashery had been turned upside-down & shaken through the curtains & then over the edge of the precipice;

& there wasn't much wine left & what there was tasted like combs & paper napkins & Gwendoline's blue blue eyeballs, it tasted like dried roses in a Mexican chapel, except it was white— & Jackson sat slumped on the edge of the bed because he'd come to realize he was not so happy as everybody thought he must be, in fact he was out-of-breath like a turntable & had had a few too many, he was a sleeping parakeet caged in a mannequin's wire pelvis & at the same time slouching without a face inside his raincoat;

& as I was saying there wasn't much wine left behind in that hotel with stupendous curtains & what there was swarmed with spongilla & ciliata & hydrozoan polyps & of course flagella enacting a tableau from this Pompeian fresco emanating halos & combs & whirling black lace personal things stitched at the wrists, or was it actually the Sunday Funnies folded into hats;

& Gwendoline sat on the edge of the bed, the bed was a turntable whirling black lace personal things on a stiffened finger, & these things were actually black lips whistling without a face, & as I was saying this turntable it was spinning 16th notes into long black hairs combed straight through teeth through an out-of-breath clarinet;

& that clarinet spit up bloody teeth, it was the kind of kiss Gwendoline recoiled from tasting, all spongilla & ciliata & hydrozoan polyps & also this exsanguinating rose halo— she thought she must have been drunk in a Mexican chapel, & she was tired already from resuscitating so many suffering bastards;

& Gwendoline wondered what she should do with her hands, they were desperate gestures stitched at the wrists— or were those actually stitches or were they pentangles Jackson's blue blue ballpoint had inked in at the same time he was thinking paper napkins or 16th notes, because he was perched on the edge of eternity like a hat;

because it was one of those nights the wind has lots of teeth, when everybody realizes they're not so happy as everybody thought they must be, i.e. they would be headless mannequins sleeping in a Mexican chapel except they're white & unresuscitated, & Jackson's wheezing drunk on the edge of the bed, he's slouched inside his raincoat & at the same time recoiling from flagella's long black lifelines & lovelines stitched into the Sunday Funnies among the suffering bastards;

& Gwendoline sat on the edge of the bed, she was a radio perched on the edge of a precipice, which was in fact as like eternity as the hotel's curtains transformed to mirrored sunglasses, or was it pentangles the black lips spit up— because at the same time she realized she was not so happy as everybody thought she must be, i.e. she could not in fact be a halo, because Jackson's folded into a hat & stitched at the wrists & she's the flagellation tableau from a Pompeian fresco which is actually the Sunday Funnies upside-down in a birdcage;

& there wasn't much wine left & what was undrunk was actually exsanguinating roses & as I was saying it got shaken out like black lace personal things when the turntable's transformed to wind amongst lots of whirling hands, except the wine was white though it tasted like a raincoat & at the same time Jackson was perched without a face on the edge of a precipice like a 16th note groping for a kiss;

& Gwendoline wondered what she should do with her hands.

Jack Hayes
© 1990-2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010


the moon's less green than yellow
it has a plan a
chinese take-out menu
the sunday funnies

of course there were trees
fish skeletons a
few numbers grew among them a 4 &
blue beds & window-box coral & your hands

this is the plan
get a stupendous green car
drive past the sleeping halos into the sky-

gray sky to the door
of the house wearing a hat wishing it were a star
keep driving to the brink of day

Jack Hayes
© 1990-2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Heaven #3

Hushed as a fishtank amongst the cock-eyed stars

* * *

The stars aren’t flowing downstream they’re static

* * *

Eating tortellini with pesto & just the proper shower of black pepper &
slices of Granny Smith apple

* * *

I suppose the desert’s just another big sky-blue American car you can sleep in

* * *

The gray sky kind of cracking at 5:00 a.m.

* * *

A humungous iceskating palace crammed to the rafters w/rusted
The windows don’t open & it’s raining

* * *

The stars hung to dry over Mission Dolores, probably
sad themselves; we were having a perfectly sober chat about
                                                                                        domestic life

* * *

Feeling categorically empty at the bottom of the well
surrounded by tarnished pennies

* * *

The mailman was extremely, one might say perilously, late that day

* * *

Somewhere it’s midnight in an peach orchard where Max is
strumming a mandolin in lieu of gathering fruit

* * *

Cat’s-eye shades that yearn to be butterflies. A yen for gothic literature.

* * *

A teacup filled w/evil conundrums & blue eye shadow. A cigarette holder that doubles as a letter opener. The mailman delivers.

* * *

A mirage, a gasoline stain smearing rainbows across the pavement
until it shimmers into a dim glimmery swimming pool.

* * *

Dilapidated hurachi sandals slapping anapests

* * *

Fire trucks

* * *

There was such a profusion of golf balls orbiting the earth at that precise latitude. You could see them day or night, marking perfect parabolas, with a yen to become true satellites.

* * *

A peasoupgreen trolley car an easter bonnet an elmtree

Jack Hayes
© 1990-2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Another Legend Without A Red Convertible In It

There was something like snow I think the sky spit
out it could have been postage stamps steamed off envelopes
it could have been candy kiss wrappers
too bad it wasn't Though someone says
Alcoholics Anonymous it's No Exit's sentences reflected in a gin
gimlet's remains make Victor's head swim like that
but it could have been
frosted artificial fingernails Nuncle Artie'
d like to gnaw he feels toxic caustic metastatic
as if he were lost in deep space nebulae above
Las Vegas As for the sky
it could have been diet pills it could have been the fizz
's 1000 fisheyes as if this were just another evening
Dixie spent drifting through the bathtub speedread-
ing Schopenhauer & the Personals & bubbles that could
        have been
snowdomes if they weren't soapsuds if they weren't thought
balloons there was something inside them if it wasn't plastic
roses it was homunculi chirping snatches of
Blue Velvet & asinine Schubert lieder
& Judy Garland's mouth was there someplace a taste of
eucalyptus coughdrops & butibarbitol melting under her
tongue don't ask me why she does that those bubbles
        exploded off
the Rum & Coke Dixie sipped washing them down there
        were 250
miles left to travel through the known world including
all the horrors and hoo-rahs of Utah the
Great Salt Desert's white skin's a car crash waiting
for Jayne Mansfield to happen it had that same sense of tragic
preposterous happenstance as The National Enquirer & was
as flat Let's go mumbled Victor like the reincarnated
Jean-Paul Belmando he felt like just then & in general
as hooked on Lucky Strikes too Back to the sky
it could have been nickels the one-armed bandit
coughed up the sun at the vanishing point of Winnemucca's
main drag seemed no more no less blonde rising that
        morning than
Miranda her hair could have passed for Pernod merging with smoke
or some equally poetic vapor she was someone Nuncle Artie
        wanted desperately to
drink there were never any other tomorrows he could walk in on
there were checkered tablecloths & horoscopes
& copulating ice cubes whatever that
meant She tells him Get a life
that moment she felt she could understand Elsa Lanchester's
dilemma everything's alive including herself
everything began with an F
as in Felix Culpa who's staggered clear from
the innards of a Holiday Inn sign in Needles the one
Victor & Dixie'd eaten Coconut
Cream Pie scribbled exquisite cadavers on napkins drunk Coc-
a Cola smoked dope in the parking lot at They were looking for
junk supposedly stashed in the bronze
Impala's glove compartment turgid as Bangkok & looked for
spaceships zooming westward like postcards through the
pink cellophane sunset stretched above the Kingman MacDonald's
Dixie chewing Bazooka
Joe Bubblegum read aloud The Poetics of Space & Dear Abby
for answers no one knew the questions
to the news-
print's Baskerville typeface was something else the sky spit
out another tragedy on the rose-pink
horizon another mov-
ie Nuncle Artie's masticating phone numbers during like
popcorn actually he's choking on raw
stockings this is the way the world ends he quotes he didn't
anymore like TS Eliot sporting a Stetson than
any other compulsive masturbator he keeps his false
teeth his ballerinas his fugitive numerals in the water-
spotted glass on the dresser steeping in Polident his hands
are Raggedy Ann dolls his body's a doubleknit
suit hung-up undrycleaned in the Oldsmobile's
backseat window viewed in passing like a late night TV
the sort the frolicking goddesses of banana splits
whisper true love throughout he doesn'
t think Hegelian suicide in so many words it's
a fact of life like scads of pink paper parasols scattered
across the polyurethane bar that thinks it's a mirror
of course there's not much hope for
Nuncle Artie in any purple kimono sky good-bye
I can't say I knew him that well everybody'
s alone in this world & so forth Victor for instance whose
words are laughing bones fedora dope & void he does-
n't look like Robert Frost he feels like him sometimes
the lounge's Bride of Frankenstein Motorola's blue
capillaries rippled the picture
tube's screen it was someone's face Dixie
couldn't place though she wants to kiss it if it wasn't
Proust it could have been any drag queen crooning
Over the Rainbow which gives her the strength to live
the next five minutes She feels like a Vivaldi violin
concerto about as labile
like a string of bubble lights
love's everywhere then for a millisecond it
reminds her she once saw Carmen Miranda's
plastic grapes plastic apples plastic
apricots spilling hopeful though bruised through Lodi's clear
        blue sky
the taste of amyl nitrate
urgent she thought on her palate that was last August
so many temblors ago
hello it's Felix Culpa reduced after
25 hours of doubling down at the Blackjack
table to Patsy Cline's bolo tie a seashell a tarnished angel
hood ornament the sheet music to Roy Orbison's
It's Over & a state map placemat He'll never plant
a wet one on Miranda like a
fallen star floating on top of a cocktail
& as for the sky it could have been
snow swirling out from one of any number of luminous
TV's descending incandescent just then through spheres
of fire above Nevada Victor thinks
you can look for love in all the wrong places for instance the
lobby amongst the smoldering carnations ditched in the sand
ashtray Miranda's
exasperated with this poem already she tells me point-blank
she expected No Exit except in a
Motel 6 in Tucumcari one of those Hope-Crosby Road
extravaganzas gone wrong
like everything else she's been put together
Tyrone Power's soul in a zaftig Clara
Bow body the Katzenjammer
Kids on the loose in her head that's where they vanished
to from the contemporary desolation of the Sun-
day comics page the sky spits
out in the midst of a jazz
radio station's confusion having taken a wrong turn off I-
80 west of Provo in this snow-
storm Some people are rushing east as if their veins ran
crystal meth & memories of the good old days when Albrecht
painted himself as Christ ev-
erybody's Christ
nowadays this is a problem while
the sky spits out Jean-Paul Sartre's spectacles Miranda's
vodka & orange juice manifesto Felix Culpa's genuine Navaho
barbed wire necktie & bad luck a ticket parts
unknown the sky for instance Victor & Dixie wish
they could move there like all the other test tube radioactive
effervescent infants hooked on
Tosca & all-purpose cleaners what
do I care I'm a celestial road map no one folded they've got
miles to go before they sleep & miles to go before they sleep

Jack Hayes
© 1990-2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010


His anger looked like a Piper Cub in a downpour
off the coast of Santa Barbara
Hey it’s January the corn syrup rain is coming down in
big sticky sheets It’s true you can move along somewhere
I’m going somewhere else
A mess kit
Shortness of breath
The shakes from Folger’s coffee
The armchairs circling like frantic helicopters
I want to get going
I’ve got to get there soon
Bejing Forbidden City
Phoenix shaking the gray ash from its crimson wings
There’s nowhere left There’s a map of North Dakota a
tree growing straight thru the map They call that a
pine tree
American food macaroni & cheese TV dinners a
pack of Marlboro light 100's a diet Pepsi
It’s hardly worth the effort
No one trusts my hangnail-ridden
fingers no one trusts my
alphabet soup
The steam’s rising off the breakers &
the plane’s going down

Jack Hayes
© 1990-2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Funny Valentine

It wasn’t 10,000 unstrung fog beads the half moon perspired
It was 10,000 lemon drops most of which tasted like sweat
It wasn’t a half moon about to conk out & crash land splat in an
        ash tree
It was a half pint of Four Roses whiskey headed straight for the
        olfactory cortex it wasn’t
Rosebuds babbling about the ineffable it was just me opening my
        trap which wasn’t a trap at all but a beak warbling
Laura is the face in the misty etc it wasn’t
A fern bar glimmering with candlelit chlorophyll Holy Smokes
        Laura looked great in a bowling shirt there it was
A greenhouse buzzing with O Thou Art Sublime Evening Star
But it sounded like Zippos hissing the first 3 bars to Somewhere
        a place for us
Unless it was the coffee talking

It wasn’t a greenhouse right on the verge of carbon dioxide
It was a green chartreuse soused aquarium 10,000
Tonic water bubbles exploded across it splashing shipwrecked on
        deafening ice cubes they were
Desperate to get something off their chests the fact that Laura
        looks great in a bowling shirt for instance such
Tongue-tied effervescence it wasn’t my
Body floating thru ocean snow a clownfish stashed in my right
        jacket pocket it was
A Buick Skylark sunk facedown in a ditch amongst 97 impetuous
Sea anemones sprouting cowlicks in bad need of combing it wasn’t
        a cowlick it was a
Black comb humming Laura is the face in the misty etc à la
        Charlie Parker thru green waxed florist paper
Unless it was the coffee talking

It wasn’t a black comb hummed thru green waxed florist paper
        it was a
Catbird perched saxophonic atop a phone pole the phone pole being
Immaterial just about then there weren’t any phone calls there
        were crystalline red coral
Skeletons longing to do the tango it wasn’t a tango it was
The Waltz of the Flowers played backwards though it wasn’t a
        windowbox full of
Waltzing zinnias it was 79 cocoons splitting open inside my
        innards &
Tiger moths seeping out rustling cigarette paper
Wings which wings sizzled green in plastic ashtrays like a ditch
        full of catnip whispering
Laura looks great in a bowling shirt
Unless it was the coffee talking

It wasn’t a ditch full of catnip whispering Laura looks great
        in a bowling shirt it was
Wheels of Botticellean bicycles whooshing swimmingly taking a
        wrong turn thru the Tunnel of Love
It wasn’t the Tunnel of Love it was my mouth stuffed with
        waterlogged paperbacks hoping to
Speak to the situation
Unless it was the coffee talking

Jack Hayes
© 1990-2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Book Giveaway – Days of Wine & Roses Edition!

Yes, as promised, albeit a bit late, I’m here to announce the second giveaway for The Days of Wine & Roses. Not the blog, of course, but the book. As stated previously on Robert Frost’s Banjo:

“The specs: 92 pages, paperback “perfect” binding (your standard paperback set-up), with cover design by yours truly using three of my father’s photos—ones that have appeared on this blog. It contains 48 poems (the sonnet sequence “A Few More Fold-Out Postcard Sonnets” is listed as one entity in the contents, but it’s a series of 19 poems). There’s a bit of old Hollywood, & bit of hard-boiled stuff, a fair amount of surreality, some form, some free verse, some prose poems, long poems, short poems—a bit of something for everyone! These are the poems I wrote while living in San Francisco from 1989 to 1998, plus one from the early 00s in Idaho—so the recent poems that have appeared on this blog won’t be there. But don’t fear: that manuscript is quickly assuming book-length & I’ll almost certainly publish it next year.”

Here’s how to enter: if you’d like a copy of The Days of Wine & Roses signed & inscribed by yours truly shipped to your place of residence, simply leave a comment on—please note carefully—Eberle’s Platypuss-in-Boots blog post for tomorrow, Monday February 22nd &/or on her Theme Thursday post on Thursday February 25th. Please mention the book giveaway in your comment. If you comment on both days, you’re entered twice! However, two entries are the maximum per person. We’ll keep the contest open until midnight Mountain Standard Time on Thursday February 25th, & we’ll draw the winner’s name on Friday morning.

Good luck one & all, & hope to see you at Platypuss-in-Boots over the next few days!


Vaya con dios. the blooms
the frozen orange juice cans
sweat in the trees. what
are those trees.

are they Saturday
trees. an easy day
they say. the green hummingbirds
leaving town.

they are always telling lies.
they don’t know nothing
like I know nothing.
Go to hell.

Saturday is another
lie without trees: the
newspaper’s headlines
thaw out across the

tablecloth. who can read it.
god’s not home
in the trees she flies
inside of.

I’m not home. no one
eats breakfast. they suffocate
in pillows. Leave me
alone. her hair, etc.

god is an apartment with
magnolias blooming lemony above
a table & chair.
how long did we live there.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Big Sleep

On the way downtown I stopped at a bar and had a couple
of Scotches. They didn’t do me any good. All they did was
make me think of Silver-Wig, and I never saw her again.
Raymond Chandler

I haven’t been getting much & there were 19
faces pal in that tumbler & none of them mine
some of them looked like night-blooming cacti looming
on the outskirts of Tijuana all they’d ever wanted
was to grow up as purple orchids
lousy break
but I was thinking way too much without much to
show for it 16 charred
valentines in a clear glass ashtray hearts
smoldering amongst the stubbed Kents the 5:00 a.m.
sky was going to look like an immense
pack of Kents the cellophane ripped
but I wasn’t there yet I was wearing
my hat on my heart
& my heart on a frayed black tweed sleeve it hadn’t
slept for a slew of dog years the sleeve lay supine in
a puddle of cocktail glass sweat the globe lamps
broadcast as if
the light were just dead trout or tincture of
iodine or a fruit
cocktail can its lid 3/4 peeled off & jagged & drooling
& I was feeling a bit like Marcel Proust myself with this
for scribbling in bed when I should’ve been
sleeping with the fishes
as if my heart were a cocktail glass humming
Born To Lose all by itself when I’d meant to say
I’m holding my heart in my hat &
my hat’s in my hand & there were
19 faces pal staring &
some of them looked like a roadside hot pink neon
lit motel 10 miles west of San Berdoo with its pine oil
reek & the cable TV buzzing killer bees swarming
headlong northwest from Mexacali they’d never
had a chance to really live as
a Rte 5 fruit stand &
I was thinking way too much in the midst of the white
white stars’ degenerate matter furious
all-night jag
they were bawling
zircon & Tanqueray as though they
thought this was all rock candy & seltzer &
streetcars named
Desire & Mildred & Russian Lullaby hoved by lugging their
Venus on the half-shell frenzies their
freight of ampersands their
yen for mad love shuddering the cables
& I thought this is just asking for trouble the 5:00 a.m.
sky will probably look like a dead fish gawking
blind from crushed ice in a chinatown
market but I wasn’t there yet I was
holding my hat in my heart & my hand had
sunk gurgling under a capsized
gray fedora this hat felt
bitter itself it had
missed its chance to become a conchshell washed up
at Long Beach in the phosphate detergent
foam with the rest of the sexy jetsam as if
my heart were ice in a cocktail glass humming
Rose Of Tralee all by itself as if I’d actually said
Scotch & alkali when the sky at 5:
00 a.m. will actually be a
flat Fresca
green & unbubbly
but I wasn’t there yet I was thinking
Big mistake when I’d meant to say I’m holding my
heart in my hat & my hand’s a tumbler pal holding
19 faces & only one of them actually was a
dirty blonde palmtree brooding next to
Mission Dolores it’s
no one’s fault her brown eyes never got translated into
an authentic Manhattan brownstone brimming with
Caffé Lattes brimming with
steampipes spinet pianos a
hardboiled novel in which
characters shoot the moon through the actual
orchard of spheres I was planted in just then amongst
everloving lemontrees the lovebirds
squawking their nitrous
oxide yuks straight out of Hitchcock clutching
discombobulating boughs I was thinking
when you’re in this line of lost & found
in this sleepless bamboozled eat-
your-heart-out universe pal
you end up doing a lot more of the first

Jack Hayes
© 1990-2010

This poem appeared previously in Chump

Sunday, February 7, 2010

La Giaconda and The Shadow


Rag wings stitched with an F flat stolen from Ma Rainey's throat:
        in her throat it'd gotten by on desire, it'd lived
        a poppy's meet me at the Casbah life;

but in the time before time was they were happier maybe, a
        black tux, an ivory satin gown (that sort of smile
        that's an unrelenting lunule glaring amongst the
        crystal candlesticks, that sort of rigorous mouth like a
        black tie, Mary Egypt remembers these things
        inhabiting movies) until a diamond stylus inured to
        tunes wounding the body sewed their tatters to the
        scapular muscles;

but once patched together they were disreputable as that
        poppy, as problematically smoky, & when they
        shuddered it was because they remembered fezzes
        congesting the speakeasies, Stutz Bearcats,
        Humphrey Bogart, someone whispering huskily take
        a message to Garcia, & minarets there in the menstrual
        twilight announcing God's absence through the

& this photograph seemed as fraught with inside dope as the
        orange Ford taxi cab that just now sloughs toward
        Mary Egypt who's loitering dissonantly on the corner
        blowing soap bubbles;

for lack of kisses she blows them between the needle-like
        bodies of fish that purl past threading & knotting
        through her wings C sharps, typewriter ribbons,
        attenuated spit like strings of pinprick white lights
        snarled in the cycadeoids;

(Johnny had observed the phenomenon often enough in that
        Jurassic edifice where he slumped in the most
        visceral red chair while he thought about gulping
        lagers amongst humongous fern fronds;

(& they called that joint the Egyptian Book of the Dead, it
        hadn't stopped raining there for over 10,000 years—
        however they never lacked for insects there, the
        insects showing traits of gigantism & a taste for
        Stravinsky's most violent strains, they were violins
        pitched sharp as if whipped); then

the fish they get euphoric on her & Mary Egypt can't take it
        any more, these mouths gulping hunger, spewing
        bubbles, & the bubbles actually molten charm
        bracelets the fish disgorged— because it is almost
        that time;

& the taxi floats past taking on water & churns past water
        snakes where they thread through the scuttled
        dressmaker's dummy's wire pelvis & past these
        hirsute lilypads while it honks dahlias, Storyville
        Blues, & a sewing machine in ecstasy;

but mostly it sounds like the mynah bird cracking wise at the
        Greek's deli: above the bouzouki's vibrato it cracks
        aphorisms regarding the beautiful & the eternity of
        love, it sounds like the old guy cracking beer bottles
        with a pop & a rasp;

it's several weeks after midnight, in other words, almost
        that time, & Johnny lounges in the blue Tiparillo
        smoke— as if everyone's lips were evaporating— &
        he's dissolved a priori, he's gray eyes afloat between
        the brim of a brown fedora & the collar of a

& the trenchcoat slumps frazzled & wrinkled & without
        ethics, without honor, without a thought for the wide
        world's spasmodic splendor;

the world wasn't wide but deep;

& here comes the taxi to take Mary Egypt out...


& o yes it takes her out because the wings don't work;

& just then the town seemed more than ever like a Mesozoic
        morass, its restaurants all reeking catfish, & decaying
        Da Vinci landscapes loomed— it was frightening
        how they loomed! you could hear the cabbie remark
        on the rocks, how they looked like ears & there Mary
        Egypt sits timeless amongst the rocks & looking for a

& Johnny feels like an aficionado gulping espresso from a
        dirty cup— as if he actually had a face, not
        something ersatz sutured;

how many stitches had he taken? how many chances had he
        missed? how many windows had his fist shattered
        allowing the shadows to rush in, back then when
        movies first created night— & he liked to hiss these
        scars on my back are Trilobites okay they needed
to sleep it off;

he didn't mean much by it, just ossification & night terrors
        like this 3-D screen distending, its wings thrashing
        faces watery, wings like an extinct bird's— which is
        mostly what he feels like paying the tab with a fin—
        & like venetian blinds creaking exhausted from
        witnessing sheer lust that often amongst the ashtrays
        inside the reptilian buildings— until his whole
        existence reeked gingkoes— then he arrives;

how would they be troubled by this beauty into which the soul
        with all its maladies has passed? the cabbie asks, though not
        in those words exactly, he actually says So do you like
        baseball or Stormy Weather, the latter phrased in a
        different key & as a question, the way it'd sound
        through a pawnshop trumpet;

& Mary Egypt thinks I've got the answer: I am rag wings (the
        fabric was 60% a piano's black keys melted down, it
        was 40% a movie poster for Casablanca scissored into
        a collage;

& they called that jazz;

& Mary Egypt arrives;


& this moviehouse half-sunk in the swamp: it was a castle a
        tractor hauled in from the late show's Carpathian
        tor— it looked that much like a pyorrhetic mouth, it
        looked that much like a face turned to stone from
        staring at sleep's face— which Johnny knows
        something about, as he knows something about what
        evil lurks in the hearts of men;

where there is water everywhere usually, or bruised black
        motor oil, & a lightbulb dripping hopeless water
        which somehow reminds Johnny of a cock getting
        wrung-out semi-tumescent in an Exxon station's john
        in the absence of beautiful gorgons' mouths;

they were such embittered tidal pools! what did they care
        about the Jersey Turnpike's stupendous
        petrochemical tanks on stilts or the fishscales
        showering everywhere, & Mary walking in asked
        Who turned out the lights?

because it seemed more or less insubstantial to her, this
        darkness complicated with pupae & recluse spiders
        & the echoes of a Django Reinhardt improvisation
        trembling near the soda fountain;

not to mention the animalism of Greece, the lust of Rome, the
        mysticism of the middle ages with its spiritual
        ambition & imaginative loves, the return of the Pagan
        world & so forth;

not to mention Johnny envisioning silver light & silhouettes
        trying to break free of it— he knows how they feel,
        one supposes, because he knows more about
        vanishing & suffering & suffering & vanishing &
        crawling amongst the bivalves & starfish & salt water
        taffy wrappers, crawling through water which seems
        strangely dead as well as infiltrated with shadows &

it went something like that;

because the movie screen looked like it had a lot on its almost
        inert mind besides inertia, besides this mayfly hatch
        the projector aimed at, it was a bus mired past the
        hubcaps in quicksand & who knew if anything could
        ever move again?

The Shadow knows...



& Johnny thought I've got it made— as if the Spanish moss
        dangling like so many shrunken heads could give a
        damn &

the theater yacked bacteria & electrodes & appendages with a
        life of their own: for example thighs, for example ring
        fingers— meanwhile

Mary Egypt rose so strangely beside the waters—

as if this were the instant she reached inside herself;

as if this were the instant the movie started to roll out the
        silence without any cigarettes, without any

which isn't silence at all but a phone off the hook spewing

actually it was pterodactyls & a scream shorn from the body:
        for all the world it sounded like Fay Wray's except it
        shimmered with tarantellas & luna moths

& they called that jazz

which was the silence Johnny heard like a saxophone's
        exhaust pipe— it sounded like hearts convulsing in
        surgically-opened chests— meanwhile

he slumped amongst the theater's emphysemic lungs— they
        gurgled: hours hours hours ensemble like an
        aquarium— it only sounded like horror of horrors;

they had their vestigial gills now they wanted wings— their
        talons were cooked lobster claws grappling with
        whatever floated past belly-up;

because they lived off hearts & not much else except off
        various Jack Teagarden riffs & off unmentionables;

& what could you do with these old fuckers? the next thing
        you know they're waterbugs the hotel's sink spit up
        as it gasped: loss loss loss— it only sounded
        sometimes like Eros;

& whatever else Mary Egypt couldn't get off her mind from
        the wax museum— for instance, dolls' knuckles
        glued to the backs of their hands as if they gnawed
        blue veins— & all she can think is one last kiss


because a kiss is just a kiss, despite the fact someone's mouth
        bursts into Japanese Beetles, bowties, & carbonation
        broadcasting My Funny Valentine through yellow
        candlelight amongst the tuxes & gowns, & the
        candles are after all poppies with immemorial

once upon a time, before time was, they were perhaps
        happier, but there's no guarantee of that amongst the
        melting blues platters & the belemnites squirting ink
        until the entire theater's blotto;

so they step outside into this effusion of music like Green
        Dolphin Street down which taxis drift through a
        detritus of photographs, crumpled cigarette packs
        like someone's notion of crushed gardenias & a
        detective novel dredged from the swamp dripping
        volvox, oscillatoria, chlorella, & hyacinths, & the
        flukes & leeches are inching between the pages;

which summarizes the movie's plot— so who can blame her
        if her eyelids are a little weary? because all this has
        been to her but as the sound of lyres & flutes & an
        entire bandstand jammed with sewing machines
        whining mechanical yens & a theater full of caged
        mynah birds cawing beauty wrought out from within
        upon the flesh;

but Mary Egypt remains unflappable;

but she is thinking about veils, how they spread out across all
        space for instance like cobwebs or the negative image
        of a jazz platter bodiless hands push under the Singer
        Stitch-o-matic's needle & all they wanted to be were
        wings composed from memories of Ingrid Bergman
        beside a piano;

though the platters were in fact melting, black vinyl melting
        into shadows which were not her wings, were
        distended dismembered bodies like Johnny's which
        is everywhere & nowhere— along the walls, across
        the sidewalk, some residue seeping along the
        theater's floor until you can't help but think about
        lips dribbling musical notes which are really black
        dahlias he wants to stitch into his trenchcoat— as if
        that could help;

as if that could change the fact that the insects are crawling
        for the most part in a dark room amongst the sounds
        of plumbing & gulping & the screams of an
        archaeopteryx ripping up the curtains— there where
        he marks time while itching for some Duke Ellington
        cross-hands passenger train solo to shanghai him out
        of this lagoon—

where the one is becoming the many &

his face, like something he's known for far too long— for
        instance, fossil Paleozoic dragonflies with 30-inch
        wingspans enmeshed in fossil cobwebs— when this

So what if his face is a spider web thought Mary Egypt, & her
        hand crept off by itself to look for big bloody lips
        which were not his;

(a diamond stylus hemming the grooves

(retrograde into Ma Rainey's throat

at which point she's flying.

Jack Hayes
© 1990-2010