Thursday, July 23, 2015

poem in progress

my parents had been 
great readers
before TV
my mom
would discover 
an author
and read all 
his works
at the library
                        when i came
along there was
no reading 
only TV
but there were 
the stories
about the books
the library

a kind of
for books

then priesthood-
high school

no girls

bored me silly
started reading
for the first time
jules verne
robert louis stevenson

magnificent escape


was mocked
by an effete priest
for reading
kids’ books

ignored his rudeness

the world opened

July 2015

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

missing link?

broken link

[on seeing an online photo of an intern going through clancy sigal's papers at the ransom]

while googling myself a few years ago
i discovered that norman mailer
had sold his papers 
to the harry ransom center
at the university of texas at austin
and there was my name
as one of his correspondents
in an index to the boxes of letters
he saved, probably a dozen 
letters of mine over thirty years

i used to check the site occasionally
to remind myself of my brush with greatness
at the notorious 1968 democratic convention
i'd gotten an autograph and we'd
exchanged a few meaningless words before
he flew back to provincetown
i later sent him a letter to criticize his version
of existential philosophy and he sent
a fuck you reply, but it was a friendly fuck you
so i continued to send praise or blame
over the years
for his numerous works and he'd reply
as the mood struck him but he put my letters
into a file, evidently, quite the pack rat, aware
that someday the biographers would
come lurking

                       but yesterday
i discovered that the link is dead
and navigating the site is now restricted
the harry ransom center requires you
set up an account--life keeps getting
so much more complicated 
it was easier at the convention
when the humphrey people voted down
the peace plank, meaning we'd stay
in the war for good--as we have--
you knew then, finally,
where the establishment

was going, and it did

may 2013

stopping by weeds dive bar of an evening


cost me thirty bucks all in
two glasses of bombay-on-the-rocks
then another drink to pay off after losing at 8-ball
and a couple bucks to the barman

the entertainment lacked something rich
except for two performances
one, the crazed gorgeous senior declaiming violently
on middle-east politics, even

shrieking here and there
—a lota good that’ll do—
then chuck rolled out something from the past
about an aging rollicking r & b diva

shaking up a summer chicago political block party
on her way to a hoped-for comeback
then the one about the dying brother
hallucinating bravely before the nurses

put him back to bed—it said
something strong, moving even, about
endurance and imagination
even on the way out

i passed when i was offered the mike
too out of shape even for this
unsubtle venue, maybe in the next life
assuming the gods are generous

july 2013

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Always Fun

Always fun to witness
a frank poetry throwdown.

Goes back to Whitman
and the absinthe-swilling ass-fuckers in Paris

with a touch of Thomas Hardy’s brutality
and then the entire 20th century

–hipsters versus the suits–
pencils and then the keypads

blinking out secret sadnesses
and begging for love.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

poem, with fewer typos than the previous version
my single night in vegas
i find the woodsman, a local
bar open all night

i ask about a cheap room
they recommend a nearby place
resembling a space needle
with low off-night rates

but fearful of heights i demur
park across the street
get a $15 room attached 
to a mini-casino, the Aztec Inn

experiencing hard times 
its restaurant with practically
free steak-and-eggs
closed for good

before i head to the room
i'm shooting game after game
of pool alone stroking well
at the woodsman

in my imagination
looking the part, looking
like a money player
which i'm anything but

i overhear conversations
about boob jobs, blowjobs,
typical barroom sadnesses

in a knowing voice unique to
bar maids, bartenders, 
dancers, hustlers

as i leave, three short-skirts
walk in with their pool cues
but i'm just not in the mood

i retire to my crappy room
with no TV, the joint 
must date from 1950
the window open onto the 

sidewalk, the night air asphalt hot
i wake at 3 a.m. finished with
sleep, find a taqueria
and have chilaquiles before

heading back into the
desert on my way 
to a quick divorce

Copyright 2010 by Patrick O'Hayer

Friday, June 29, 2012

wise heads

wise heads suggest
balance, maturity,

forgiveness where
i find betrayal.

maybe violence
will make me whole.

silly since cracked
limbs barely

carry me along,
vision failing

hearing less, less,
flab where muscle was

heartbroken yet, 
ignoring wise heads

old friends, barely
wondering, walk away

Copyright 2012 by Patrick O'Hayer

Friday, June 15, 2012

transit of venus

old old friend
with plush equipage

scales heights to
view the rarest

cosmic event
a black dot

snailing across
the white-hot disc

used in olden time
to triangulate

the parallax of
the human heart

Copyright 2012 by Patrick O'Hayer