December 30, 2015

Gary Hardaway

At Play in the Fields of the Lord

Monet painted the haystacks over and over,
in different light, from different vantage points,
as if to discover and record
every haystack ever raked.

Rothko explored horizons,
blurring figure and ground
by omitting the figure.
No peopled landscape there.

After thirty, Bach concluded the Variations.
He could have pictured the shared notes
another hundred ways
and not exhausted the possibilities.

Closest to God, the artist,
who knows how many ways
the simplest elements can re-arrange themselves
but lacks the time and devotion to capture them all.

Self Portrait with Google

Some days, you just want
to stay at home and Google yourself
to find out who you are and what you are

because you can’t remember.
Try it with and without
middle name or middle initial.

Try different keywords.
Maybe, amid the electron residue,
you will find enough of yourself

to remember your self by.
Maybe you will come to recognize
the odd, haggard figure in your mirror.

Things I Will Miss Once the Apocalypse Is Done

Sonorities of large bore well-tuned V8 engines.
Soft fingertips and palms,
clean fingernails,
Ibuprofen tablets
downed with potable water.
Alacritous computer screens flashing
through bits of the world.
The warm stream of a showerhead
splashing away a winter nap.
Bacon sizzling.
Abundant eggs over easy.
The scent of fresh cut grass.
The idiot sense of accomplishment
mowing the lawn can bring.
The whispered whoosh
of cool conditioned air in August.
The flair of artificial light.
Photographs of food on Facebook.
Complex British costume dramas on PBS.
Inflammatory edits of the news on Fox.
The aroma of coffee brewing.
Gluttonous satisfactions of Thanksgiving
and the glittering excess of Christmas.
Unsolicited email offers
of chemical peels and electronic cigarettes.
Cigarettes and butane lighters.
Reliable clicks of date and time.
Music played by professionals.
Junk mail and postcards,
mail delivery of any kind.
The sound of machine-washed clothes
tumbling in the dryer.
Beer, wine, and intoxicating spirits
safe enough and good enough to drink.
Anything like a clean, well-lighted place.

Last Poem

At some point
in the locus of points
it will be true.  When

the heart stops
caring enough to squeeze
pallid blood through

or the voice that wants
to be inscribed
forgets the sounds

the vowels make
or the shapes
of the consonants.

Some one
must be the last.
Why not this one?


Work by Gary Hardaway has appeared in Silkworms Ink, Connotation Press, Olentangy Review, Arlington Review, Blue Fifth Review and other fine places. He lives in Texas and has earned his living as an urban planner and architect.