North Highland Rainscape

September 6, 2011      James Hayes Nichols
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In foursquare rooms

they’ve cordoned off

the walls

and heat oozing

from the windows

drips the skin

like watertorture


and coaxed from

the rooms by threat

of watertorture,

we enter streets

rendered warlike –


– flooded sewers


the uncaring filth –


– travesties –


streets no better

than foursquare rooms


only more open


more per-square-foot

helpless shrugs


ancient glittering

STOP signs




peat bog glip and glop

of faultline sidewalks


mothers pushing

babies in



and only

doctors and lawyers


Reflections on an Old Notebook

June 16, 2011      James Hayes Nichols
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a last page-en-ing

a soft lax-en-ing

of thoughts un-think-en-ing

but now —


we’re here and not

there and not

bolted on pages like

idiots abroad


no wordy preamble

no Tower of Babel


no flaw left unnoticed

no clog left un-hairy —


scary word — last —

whether page or song

or friend or glass


or life


it’s gone and no

chest-thumpy gutcheck

will bring it back.


May 24, 2011      James Hayes Nichols
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And as the days go

so goes the sky and

as skies go so go

minds, hearts, assorted

cellular viscera

muddled down to dreams


and dreams steaming up from

sewer grates like New York

fogs, saxophones blazing

over burnt sienna

70s butt-rock

parodies — but where were we?


May 20, 2011      James Hayes Nichols
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The air smells of salt

and tastes of dust

a chalk as fine as

powdered wig workshops

and black cats waiting

in the wings

in the dark

for tunacan handouts

and rainwater in beercans

and broken mirror beardtrims

of SatNite pre-revel

drunk on nighttime and sauce —

powdered nose nightcaps

powdered nose nosebleed

powdered nose bloodsneeze —

filling up only to empty

and fillup again

all that agriculture

down our throats

in service to muses unknown

in parlors and bartops unnamed

but names known to kids

like us and blackcat kittycats

on carpenterbee porchtops —

black like riversilt

black like ocean like

nuclear raindrops

Chernobyls of time

and times short and flitting

merciless —

hourhand minutehand

secondhand Vlad —

impaling us all with heaven

and sunshine, imploring

nothing but life and striving

but getting nothing

for pains but what it is –

beercans on porches

Titobottles on porches

vomit off the porches

nourishing soils that

no one deigns to feed.

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