Curtis Hayes


I’d been knocked out of work again.
This time it was a virus
instead of a recession,
a Wall Street disaster
or the indifference 
that low pay cultivates.
At least the words were rolling out
letting me sidestep
the reality of living broke,
being on the verge of losing
another woman
another year
another chance

When the sun dipped low
I dug into my old Frigidaire
found a half-full jar of Picante
named after a Mexican town
but made in a vast Ohio factory 
alongside the Rye Crisps and Oreos.
It was a month expired but smelled okay
and there was an opened bag of tortilla chips
I poured a fresh Jack and Coke
and moved to the cocktail table.
Brushing a stack of unpaid and unpayable bills
to the floor with my forearm,
I arranged everything around a lined yellow pad,
scooping the salsa with one hand
and scratching out words with the other.
The crows cawed from the palm trees
as the golden light dimmed 
as the moon began its quiet glide 
as life
once again
became worth living.

Curtis Hayes has worked as a grip, gaffer, and camera assistant in film production. He’s been a truck driver, a boat rigger, a print journalist and a screenwriter. He is the author of the non-fiction top-ten NYT bestseller, I Am Jesse James, and his first poetry collection, Bottleneck Slide, has recently been published by Vainglory Press.


All rights © Curtis Hayes