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


Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

John, I don't always understand what you have written and try to imagine the specific thing that brought the words to your mind. I can see the images of Rte 66 and especially enjoyed the line about the baltimore oriole whose nest is safe from the snake and most especially the last line: "sleeping's sort of irrelevant when everybody wants to smoke & be in love with you & be somewhere dancing." Beautifully said.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Could be Kerouac.

John Hayes said...

Hi Lizzy, Kat & TFE

Lizzy: Thanks for giving it a whirl--this particular piece was basically an example of automatic writing--I started typing, & this is what happened.

Kat: Thanks so much! Definitely flood of emotion.

TFE: Thanks!

Mairi said...

Now why do the policemen have Copernican eyes? Just because of the neat pun on 'cop' or because they're trained heavenward? And why are the ballons red and Israelite - Is it because they're tethered by the red thread Joshua told Rehab to hang from her window - the act of faith that saved her - and thereby to the collective memory of a people still wandering somewhere along route 66 in the Mojave desert, with the sight of Joshua's hand raised in prayer imprinted on every yucca tree on the horizon? Such transformations are the stuff of Mr Bullfinch's book. What of the fact that there are "only" 16 things left in the world besides that all important memory? In Hebrew the number eight is Sh'mone, from the root Shah'meyn, "to make fat," "cover with fat," "to super-abound. So, dayenu, as they say in the passover celebration. Eight things "would have been enough." The prophet Elijha performed eight miracles but Elisha performed sixteen as his request was "Let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me." So sixteen things left is a surfeit and a blessing, especially when everybody wants to be in love with you and dancing. He, whoever he is who's speaking to us, may be drunk as a lord and in the centre of a donnybrook but he knows what he's talking about and we should definitely pay attention.

Mairi said...

P.S. I just started typing my response and that's what came out.

John Hayes said...

Hi Mairi: I always enjoy your commentary--& what better way to comment on automatic writing than to do so in automatic writing. Some fascinating moments in your comment--the part about the number 8 & Elijah & Elisha is remarkable.

The cops aren't Copernican tho--they have Sea of Copernicus eyes.


Poetikat said...

@ Mairi - Ha ha! I thought I was bad (read verbose).

Mairi said...

Darn, Sea of Copernicus makes all the difference. I'll have to start all over again.

John Hayes said...

Hi Mairi: Sorry!