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Look Upon











A. J. Hayes


Copyright 2014 by A. J. Hayes

Shakespir Edition

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.





“Look Upon”




i can’t get use

to typing on stone


fingers are bruised purple

wrists are deep shades of weary


i could return to solitude

being the sole thought in the room


(was this ever the case?)

but this hunger is an orchard


of low-hanging fruit

and i am all stomach


and no mouth

where is solace in that?


freedom is an eclipse

i dare not look upon







the face of madness

does not stare at me


in the mirror it’s the glazed

look of the mail lady


as she trots along her route

in the robotic fashion


familiarity mixed with boredom

nurtures in civil servants


i see madness in the glare

of a cop as he slow-rides


by me during my daily walk,

as if he’s some villain in a


john singleton film

from the ‘90s


i return both stares, my mind

pounding with idle threats:


“come close and i will chew

you up with my lacerating incisors


and spit you out

my lukewarm mouth,


your flesh tasting

of bitter indifference”


the face of madness is streaked

with tears, its teeth drenched in blood






Chill in the sun, homie—an oxymoron.

The sun’s countenance isn’t cold,

And though it is in space,

That’s not its home.


But see, you can go outside yourself and radiate.

Man, radiate. Step into the world

Wearing your crooked smile—

Who can tell you you ain’t awesome?


Become confident in your balance.

You can walk with your eyes

Half-closed. Feel life around you,

Rather than sit and view it.


Let me high-five your soul, homie.

Crack open your peanut shell.

Your interior meat is warm with love and goodness.

So stop chilling, homie, and radiate!





in a circle

a crying child

appears because

Santa or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy

or Mommy or Daddy

did not.


I promise my circle

that, when others were

square with me, to him

I will be a triangle—three lines leading

upward to a focal point:

a period of perpetual growth.


Yes, Fatherhood is also a womb.





“Twinkle, twinkle Little Fish

The stars are not yours to play with.

Evolution deemed you fit

To frolic between seaweed and algae.”


Fish doesn’t have ears and never heard that rhyme

of how fish weren’t supposed to climb

to the heavens, soaring amongst the stars,

traveling on wing-like fins wide and far.


Flying fish leap from the sea

to kiss the sky—even without legs;

salmon defy raging currents

to return to their birthplace to lay their eggs.


Determination: a spell to see goals through.

Fish have this magic, of that I’m sure.

And you have magic too;

I wonder what powers are yours.





I don’t claim to be the best poet in the world, and definitely not its best visual artist—I’m not even the best artist in my own family, my brother, Donte K. Hayes, is an amazing artist (seriously, check out his work at www.dontekhayes.com). So why do I expose my poetry and artwork to all the world, for it to judge?


I believe art (and poetry is a form of art) is an expression. It’s not about being the best when compared with other works & artists. For me, it’s about expressing myself and my thoughts and ideas in an authentic way.


People might think the artwork is poorly drawn, that my poetry is badly written, but one thing that can’t be dismissed is the authenticity and sincerity behind each piece. The poems and artwork within are some of my most personal pieces I’ve ever created. That’s the purpose of Look Upon—look upon me as I bare my soul before your eyes and ears.


Give a poet a pen,


A. J. Hayes


Ways to Look Upon further:


[+ Listen to audio poems on Soundcloud+]

Watch short film on Vimeo

Purchase handmade chapbook






A. J. Hayes is a poet and writer residing in Maryland. He is the author of over a dozen books of poetry, (as A. Jarrell Hayes) fiction and fantasy. His work has appeared in over 20 publications online and in print. He invites you to visit his website at www.ajhayes.com.


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Look Upon

  • Author: A. Jarrell Hayes
  • Published: 2016-04-13 23:20:11
  • Words: 843
Look Upon Look Upon