Jonathan Hayes lives by the San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz, California where the CZU Lightning Complex Fires struck in August. He is the author of the book A Full Moon in Santa Cruz.
The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Jonathan Hayes and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Sojourning outside lands
A loitering of doldrums
Pale the sunrise, sedge, and lake too
Withering of air
No birds sing, no birds sing
For man or woman nor earth or child
Knowing why, being here
The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by John Grey and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Man Who Collected
His house is full of his collections,
stuff he’s brought back from all corners of the world.
There are old Roman coins stuffed in drawers,
rolled up Persian carpets,
a grinning cat statue from Alexandria,
a menu from a restaurant in Vienna –
it goes on and on.
But he no longer does.
They buried him yesterday.
So, for now, this place is a museum.
A few family photographs are scattered about.
But they give the impression
they were not the focus of his life.
Not when they had to compete with a cigar-store wooden Indian.
Or a rusty blunderbuss from who knows what battle.
Or the stacks of magazines,
some with the accumulated yellow of three different centuries.
His books line dusty shelves.
So many authors from the early twentieth century,
most of them unknown to me.
I grab his rapier by the handle,
swish a dozen times at an invisible foe.
I turn over a mat and wish I hadn’t.
A dead mouse, I’m sure,
is not what his accumulating spirit had in mind.
And, as I scour through the piles,
family buzz in my ear.
“Is any of that junk worth anything?”
“When can we sell?”
How much of this is insight into the man,
they could care less.
He owned an old Victrola.
And the uniform of a Prussian soldier.
Toss them together with a reprint of National Geographic number 1
and a voodoo doll from Haiti
and the result can only be the one man – this man.
And he’s dead.
To hear them talk, he never even lived.