Monday, December 21, 2009


It comes to us
early in the morning
just before the Boss Man turns on the big light
or the middle of the saddest,
most haunted part of night-

some kind of slavering,
black behemoth, from what little we can see;

all teeth, tusks and talons,
snuffle and snarl
and primal, predatory aura.

A lonesome and sorrowful thing,
that looks to be part wombat,
swamp gator and slithering bottom-dweller,
mandrill, blood hound, wild boar
and raging wooly mammoth,

as well as something distinctly...


Sometimes it batters at the gates
of my brain with its great paws,
and its battering ram of a skull
like the giant fist of an angry
underworld god, shaking the walls
of this remote little city-state of mind.

It just rubs its back up against
the great tree trunk of my spine,
thrumming and thrumming
with what surely must be the funky frequency
of warm fuzzy love,

or, at the very least, the manic need
to satisfy some maddening metaphysical itch
(his or mine, Im never sure).

And, sometimes
it’s content to merely loiter
and look on, inquisitively,
studying our most insignificant routines
from just inside the tree line,
just beyond the reach
of our guard lights,

nothing but your classic “dark silhouette
and glowing set of eyes...”

But, of course, it could never really
charge out of that dark forest
of the wild night world of the soul,

and, by some freak cosmic occurrence
of a just and loving god blinking
or even looking the other way,

make its way into our safe, little,
climate-controlled environment.

Could it?

-Jason Ryberg, 2009


Daisy Cutter

Pause here at the flower stand-mums
and gladiolas, purple carnations

dark as my heart. We are preparing
for a war, and I want to drag home

any distraction I can carry. Tonight
children will wake to bouquets of fire

that will take their breath away. Still,
I think of my life. The way you hold me,

sometimes, you could choke me.
There is no way to protect myself,

except by some brilliant defense. I want
the black iris with their sabered blooms.

I want the flame throwers: the peonies,
the sunflowers. I will cut down the beautiful ones

and let their nectared sweetness bleed
into the careless air. This is not the world

I'd hoped it could be. It is horrible,
the way we carry on. Last night, you catalogued

our arsenal. You taught me that devastation
is a goal we will announce in a celebration

of shrapnel. Our bombs will shower
in anticipation of their marks. You said this

is to assure damage will be widely distributed.
What gruesome genius invents our brutal hearts?

When you touch me I am a stalk of green panic
and desire. Wait here while I decide which

of these sprigs of blossoming heartbreak I can afford
to bring into my home. Tonight dreams will erupt

in chaotic buds of flame. This is the world we have
arranged. It is horrible, this way we carry on.

-Camille Dungy

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


THE BOSS from zach rizer on Vimeo.


A bowl full of black plums and tangerines
sitting on the kitchen table
in the red-gold after-glow of an August evening,

Half-empty tins of smoked oysters and sardines,

Pickled peppers, crackers and cheese

And a gallon jug of homemade ruebarb wine.

A sliver of purple-orange clouds

hanging on the horizon

(like a strong wind could come along

any time and sweep it away),

two poets, and a painter

(currently giving the guided tour

of his latest work)

and now the old blind dog

is moaning at the screen door again,

hoping to go out into the wide-open world again,

to be young and fast again, really,

to run wild with his wild cousins

who've been calling from the woods

all evening.

It's the same ritual every time;

he'll get as far as the tree line,

bark a few times at nothing

and wait for a reply.

Then, he'll turn around, dejectedly

(dont tell me dogs dont know dejection

or even some semblance of shame),

amble slowly home (stopping

once or twice along the way

to look over his shoulder),

then moan at the back door again

Until it finally opens.

And, eventually (after a good deal of serious

searching for something and sniffing around)

hell make his way

back to his favorite rug

at the heart of the house

and proceed, carefully,

to turn,



down the creaking spiral staircase

of sleep into what must be

his favorite recurring dream-

chasing something:




any and every other thing

that catches his perfect dream-eye,

through an endless green sea of wheat.

-Jason Ryberg, 2009


Spider Crystal Ascension

The spider, juiced crystal and Milky Way, drifts on his web through the night sky And looks down, waiting for us to ascend ...

At dawn he is still there, invisible, short of breath, mending his net.

All morning we look for the white face to rise from the lake like a tiny star.
And when it does, we lie back in our watery hair and rock.

-Charles Wright

Tuesday, December 15, 2009



years of anger following
hours that float idly down —
the blizzard
drifts its weight
deeper and deeper for three days
or sixty years, eh? Then
the sun! a clutter of
yellow and blue flakes —
Hairy looking trees stand out
in long alleys
over a wild solitude.
The man turns and there —
his solitary track stretched out
upon the world.

-William Carlos Williams

Monday, December 7, 2009


Neighborhood Light

Like the rim of the known
universe expanding into the dark
non-edge of space,

the blurred knots
of the local clusters dragging
apart, drifting undone,

the golden arms
of each galaxy opening to the slowing
original spin,

like the loosening grip of each star
on each rotating body
revolving around its cooling center,

like the bodies themselves,
planets grinding down on imaginary
axes, each year a linear fraction longer,

like the light that pierces
the frail shell of atmosphere
on this planet, the light of dead stars,

like the expanding rim, the stars at the boundary
rushing into nothing, their light moving in,
moving out, light we'll never see,

like that light, the rays never entering
this sky, this sky a few molecules poorer
each lengthening day,

like the swell and ebb of the living
mass of species, emblems twice withdrawn
to abstraction by the reductive statistics of speech,

like the Dead Sea, the briny death
of its wet iconograph, the brilliant shapes
of crystal driftwood on its shores,

like the blind white fish of the caves,
like the song of the snail darter,
like the fish living on the edge

of the fresh, blinding hot currents
pushing into the edge
of that sea, every sea becoming that sea,

we come apart each night in the incandescent room,
untangling arms and thighs. How lovely,
the rich sweat of our finished work,

the bound salt that binds us
to the dim light thrown through the window:
starlight, moonlight, the light from this quiet street.

-Theodore Worozbyt

Friday, December 4, 2009


Consider a moment
those dank, primeval basements

and mud-flooded sub-basements of the brain

where the fish and lizards

and monkeys of our formative years

still wriggle and skitter and scurry about.

If we peer deep enough inside ourselves

we can see them, there, still completeing

their respective lengths of circuitry,

still telegraphing up their two-cents worth,

from time to time, despite all our attempts

at processing and refining them away

down the spiral staircase of the spine

out into the Big Nowhere.

Look, for example, how the Gar

with their jagged, maniacal grins

are all lustfully eyeing the little pink toes

of our haplessly bobbing frontal lobe,

while the Catfish are fatly content

to sift and slither in the rich,

fertile muck of prehistoric memory.

And the skinks and Geckos and Chameleons,

all contoured and layered together

in their crevices, are dreaming of the days

when they ran the show.

And the Monkeys,

that coffee and smoke saturated

back-room gaggle of gag-men

and speech writers, all hunched and contorted

over their cranky, old Underwoods,

are up against a bitch of a deadline.

For the Alpha Male needs something to say,

something witty and charming,

yet, still somehow mysterious and aloof.

And he needs it yesterday.

-Jason Ryberg, 2009