Jared K Hayley

Two poems from Jared Hayley’s The Depopulate

followed by a note on the author


If I can, I’ll grapple with exultation,
grip it into an old, stained pillowcase,

and drop it, knotted, into the river it loves.
When sidewalks don’t weigh enough, shade and seal them

with scaffolding and spray paint. Fill the ground with garbage
seeds when the flags flap like a child reciting.

Hothouse things tethered to and trailing from me,

I want to crawl to you with robbed pottery,
so you can sell it and take credit, make treasure.

If I can, I want you to filch it with your own fingers,
dug up from my dark mud and the loam beneath

your nails, ecstatic, bearing the scent of feral animals,
greedy, thinking of honey, thinking of me.



Every Man for Himself

Most of me waits at the crossroads,
only an empty guitar case to lean on,
another locust stuck in my teeth.

Flip-forward the zoetrope and I —
the hippie, the drunk, the punk, the psycho —
cycle through names: Echo, Eeyore, Eddie, Egon.

My eye twitches to watch
the force-feeding commence
in the mirror. Vesuvius moves.

In one future, speakers inside a plush
casket play three chords to dead ears forever.
In another my soiled hand rips through the screen.



Jared K Hayley was born and raised on the Piney Woods of East Texas and raised on Galveston Bay. He was educated at the University of Texas (BA), the CUNY Graduate Center (MA), and Columbia University (MFA). His poems have appeared in various journals, including The Paris Review, Western Humanities Review, Spinning Jenny, and American Poetry Journal. Previously an editor for the Academy of American Poets, he teaches in various colleges around Queens, NY, where he lives. When not teaching, he builds guitars and raises his children.