R. W. Haynes: Four Poems


Harry Crews Walks at Midnight, Slapping Yellow Flies

No point thinking much about the pay.
It’s counterfeit, son, and all it ever buys
Is trouble you don’t need. Surprise, surprise.
No one needs that stupid bullshit anyway.
First thing a writer should do if he wants to write
Is to eat one ton of grits, and not one ounce
Less, load a pulpwood truck, get drunk, and pounce
On that typewriter and hammer the thing all night.
Do this a thousand times, take your masterpiece
To your girlfriend’s house, lay it by the door,
Set fire to it, and, as the flames begin to roar,
Holler, “Hallelujah! Call the police!”
This is step one. Next time I’ll take you through
Some of the easier details of step two.


Against the Bare Room for Writing

Those who write in a bare room to avoid
Distraction must have weak distractions,
It seems to me, for mine are not annoyed
By wood and sheetrock; in fact, no actions
Deter them. Bare rooms welcome them in;
Jail would be a fantastic paradise
For them and their swarming, twitching kin,
Hopping and darting around and breeding like mice.
Focus comes with the words which find
Their destined disposition on the screen
Of the mind read roughly, like a blind
Message found on a stony road, seen
In the rain in a dream in fever, one day
Long ago, anxious, with friends far away.

The Words of
The Cocker Spaniel,
Having Voluntarily Accompanied His Master
Out of the Garden of Eden

Paradise is relative. It was fine with me
To live in that big garden, eat sweet fruit,
Chase clawless cats up the forbidden tree,
And all that. When Adam put on his suit,
However, and headed out the front gate,
I’m his dog, and where he goes I go,
Therefore, of course, I didn’t hesitate
To run where he and Eve were walking slow,
Ashamed of disobedience at last.
And I barked at that Angel as we passed.


Sorting Out the Voices

Get there first with the most, and then burn
Everything you can’t carry, and ride like hell
For cover, pick your battles, try to turn
The adversary’s plan to serve you well.
Walk by the deep sea, where deepness revises
Itself in the dark depth of whale-road confusion,
Passing through shadows the murky mind devises,
Craving bright sunlight’s prolific profusion,
And take this book, and read, now tranquillized
By the fitful trauma of this obscure reflection,
Primed to hurl the text if criticized,
Or if someone suggests some new direction.
The law of all this: while chaos sometimes rules,
Sometimes it yields to the firm ideas of fools.