They even pipe it into the bookstore

It’s never quite silent, though
there’s no lowing, not from God
nor his glutted blind bovine. Only

the thudding of shuffling ungues
on stereos hemmed, hidden
in the high grass — muzak

piercing through, prodding
each tagged ear. Far better this way—
now they needn’t contemplate

the cacophony in BARN 8, the strain
of strings tucked tight to necks, jammed
trumpets jutting through guts, and

the flutes flushed fast with blood.
No, much better this way.
Bow, hark, try not to think.


Ed Martin harangues Facebook, but not for us

Here the morning colors,

muted with cloud,

scud unto dusk —

dull, adumbrated gray.



There a lone popinjay,

atop rampart, proud,

twits down

both purlieus, boos

the unbothered crows

who ballyhoo for no one.


This is an orange, round tablet

Autumn starts when the trees give up drinking.
An appointment is made
in the ditch of Lake Mead
and the hairy hands,
tented on mahogany,
speak calmly,
which can only augur hell:
“You’re a snail who fears salt too well. Liquefy.
And don’t ignite
if you exercise.”
So I eat the whole box of tissues
and wrap piles of bramble
and wish you’d wish us
neither wood nor label.
Kiss me I’m sick!
But who kisses the roots
under the hydrant?
Text Jesus,
you contradict the good doctor;
the script reads clear: there’s no shortage of water.


On leaving

Does any grip find it fucked
how we fly for the first pretty
face or picked dream, any
plan of quick pique: we pluck
decades for freckles, ephemera.

For the fresh dream is a tangled war.

They know you know the more
we know of four arrows—context,
time’s gas-go of planted pulling,
and the knot of cause-affect—
the more the gripped slack forgives.

But it’s still fucked.

For me, think of this: your folks
releasing us at the big red door,
‘You’ll certainly do great things,’
and the stifled draw of hot tears
as you vie to bisect you and your past.

You’ll find the burns are stuck.


Vaughn Hayes is a poet and writer living in central Kentucky. His work has been featured in Harbinger Asylum. Words are his whole world.