Monday, June 26, 2017

June Moon

(8 quatrains)

1. new moon

one blush rose blossoming east reflects the sun
in more than one sense; the white rose bushes bloom

fair weather clouds come to earth—flying straight west
above blacktop one crow carries the new moon

2. waxing crescent

that single white rose by the front steps unfurls
new petals under the rosemary’s needles—

west horizon holds on almost white at dusk:
the crescent a lone petal in deeper blue

3. half moon

the rhododendron lets its petals fall off
to their mauve sleep along the walkway; brass wind

chimes play a lazy riff down the street; those white
clouds soar: half moon appears to sink on the slant

4. waxing gibbous

the big magnolia’s first white flowers gaze
south past the bus stop sign, almost shyly; this

violet light’s a bruise on the horizon:
the moon’s pupil looks in the same direction

5. full moon

in eight second story windows, just one light—
above the concrete, the shikimi’s leaves nod;

cedar boughs ripple against a dark sky where
the moon emerges as if between curtains

6. waning gibbous

leaves are black paper cutouts on this block past
the white reach of any streetlights; two rooftops

drawn in ink lines hemmed with a golden brushstroke:
moon just past full rises between their chimneys

7. last quarter

beyond green trusses of the Interstate Bridge
three geese fly south: shadows against overcast—

white sailboat mid-river is waiting for wind:
half moon drifts toward setting beyond white clouds

8. waning crescent

petals & leaves of the cirrocumulus:
the eyes can never visit the same one twice;

could cottonwood pollen fall from that distance?
blinded by the sun in search of the crescent

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Volunteered Slavery

We bring our all-too-brief series on Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s music to a conclusion today—but it is a rousing conclusion!

This video shows Kirk in peak form, playing sax, a conch shell, a gong, police whistle, & eventually using a wood chair as a percussion instrument, destroying it in the process! The energy level is at maximum level, & also includes a great piano solo by Ron Burton, while Kirk wanders through the audience at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, led by his percussionist & sidekick, Joe Habao Texidor.

“Volunteered Slavery” is the title track of a 1969 Kirk album issued on Atlantic. He also played it as a coda to “The Old Rugged Cross” on his masterful 1972 release, Blacknuss (& I very much regret I wasn’t able to fit a cut from that album into this overview).

I hope you enjoyed these selections, & if you’re new to Kirk’s music, I hope this spurs you to explore his work further. Stay tuned next month for more Sunday music!

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Roland Kirk playing at Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry UK, January 1972.” Photo by Kentrethewey [link provided on Wiki Commons is empty], who makes it available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license

Friday, June 23, 2017

Backyard Loving-Kindness Double Octet

                        for Sandy

you & I talking over coffee, bench swing
rocking between sun & shade, the motionless

bicycle pinwheel in the garden, foxglove
flashes white facing east, purple facing west--

spider silk strung from the paperbark maple
to the rhododendron glistens, a live wire

vanishes as we turn our heads; such is light:
meanwhile we’ve each turned up in the other’s eyes

daylilies blossom in an orange circle
ahead of today’s heat; the future happens:

that frame hammock streaked with the ginkgo's shadow,
a rusted songbird’s mute note on the latticed

fence rail, that glass sun with curved black metal rays
& face; clematis twines on a bamboo pole,

& prayer flags reach from there to the pear tree:
light permeates ragged fabric, thread by thread

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Dao De Jing 15

Dao De Jing 15

The ancient & skillful sages, subtle, mysterious, profound, were too deep to be fathomed. Because men could not fathom them, it’s best to describe their appearance:
Cautious as men fording a river in winter!
Trembling with fear at what surrounded them!
Grave & respectful as a guest!
Dispersing like melting ice!
Simple as uncarved wood!
Empty as a gorge!
Turbid as muddy water!
Who can turn muddy water gradually clear?
Who being quiescent can stir others to life?
Those who preserve the Way don’t desire fulfillment.
Not desiring fulfillment, they remain concealed & don’t ripen prematurely

Laozi, 道德經
Translation by John Hayes
Unlike with my original poetry & poetry translations, I don’t asset a copyright claim on my translation of the Dao De Jing. It may be freely used under the terms of the Creative Commons license.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Depiction of the Daoist immortal Lü Chunyang, also known as Lü Dongbin”: Zhang Lu (1464–1538) – Ink and light colors on gold-flecked paper; album leaf. Ming Dynasty.
Public domain.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Four Octets on the Way to the Solstice


1. Williams Ave Morning

the cartoon bee on the shop sign seems to fly
smiling into white birches, satisfied to

never land—katsura branches reach higher
than 10:30 sun, but its light penetrates

leaf skin on the verge of translucence, veined green
hearts—multi-dimensional curve & swirl of

black plum flattened to silhouette on pale green
fabric of a picnic table umbrella

2. 7th Ave Noon

the Japanese maple’s parasol: spring green
below, maroon up top; white pickup truck

in the driveway matches two calla lilies
by the house, at least in some sense; vanilla,

strawberry, chocolate balloons swirl on that
sandwich board’s ribbon as noon sun emerges

to cast the invisible robin’s shadow,
the one singing from the invisible tree

3. Glisan St Afternoon

near the bus stop the sidewalk’s strewn green with grass
a weed-whacker scattered there; elsewhere sharp black

angles of street signs, the power lines’ scalloped
edges criss-cross concrete; it’s different in

the sky: cotton rags of the cumulus clouds,
the poor at heart at the fringe of the high blue—

bamboo stands up in galvanized tubs above
barbed wire strands into irresistible light

4. Mississippi Ave Evening

at Beech St the sun has dropped below that brick
building, just the magnolia’s top boughs glow;

half a block north, white light halo envelopes
the ash tree,  blinding inflorescence of rays

intersects power lines; bus stop sign bends its
half-circle shadow up a plate glass door; my

shadow stretches past golden bamboo east to
the red metal bench where I saw us talking

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Crépuscule Sans Laisse

Some beautiful music for your day of endless twilight from Esmerine. Enjoy!

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
"Midsommar" ("Midsummer"): EvaBonnier; 1900 – oil on canvas.
Public domain

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Bright Moments

It’s Sunday—& that means more Rahsaan Roland Kirk!

I don’t tend to think in terms of “favorites” when it comes to creative work—no “favorite” poet, musician, song, poem, etc. What speaks most directly to me at one point in my life is bound to change as time passes &, with that passage of time, my consciousness changes. But having said that, today’s song means a great deal to me & has for many years. I first heard it played at the Vermont Jazz Festival in the 1970s, a dark time in my life, a time very much in need of “bright moments”—there’s something about this music that speaks to me on the deepest level.

This performance is from Kirk’s Bright Moments album, recorded live at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner & released on the Atlantic label in 1973. Indeed, the record is a great introduction to Kirk’s music, as it covers a wide array of styles—from the transcedent post-bop flute playing of the title track to his tenor sax take on Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz”, & a whole lot of greatness in between.


Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
"Roland Kirk at Ronnie Scott's Club" by Del de la Haye (Flickr name:del) who makes it available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.