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