Monday, March 30, 2015

Ron Hayes



Betrayal weighs like wet clothes
cleaviing to you, sloppy and cold
after a sudden summer storm.
Treachery is the sharp bite
of bile that surges
to the back of your throat.
A shudder flutters
through your muscles as you try
to comprehend the news:
someone you know has killed
another human being.

Did you see it coming?


Place a penny in your mouth.
Feel the spit rise and swirl,
choking you, gagging you.
Bloodshed tastes like that.
Foul. Sinister. Metallic.
It never goes away
no matter how much you drink
no matter how much you spit
no matter how much you try.

Do you ask yourself why?

Don't bother. The reasons never matter,
and circumstances merely complicate
the mystery. Your questions
will never find answers.
You'll never get to ask them.


Willie hacked his neighbor to death with scissors.
Brandon hitched a ride, shot the driver in the head.
Larry hunted a high school rival, shot him dead
on my birthday in a convenience store parking lot.

These are the killers I know.
They were once my students.

I never saw it coming.

Ron reads "A Contemplation on Killing":

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Ron confesses: "This poem is the truth: these ARE the killers I know. When I decided to become a teacher in 2003, I never thought I'd come to know anyone, let alone have students, who would kill someone. Within five years, I knew three. It sucks. But that's what prompted this poem."

RON HAYES is a poet and fiction writer from Erie, PA. He teaches at inner-city East High School where he also coaches football and girls' basketball. A graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program at Queens University of Charlotte, Ron has twice been named Poet Laureate of Erie County, Pennsylvania. His poems have appeared in such places as Fjords Review, Rosebud, and Gutter Eloquence.

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