Monday, May 31, 2010


If I look deep enough inside myself,

past the musty stacks of books and magazines,

past the crappy landscapes, still-lifes

and self-portraits and the dusty, junk-lined shelves,

if I squint hard enough

I can see the woman I need

riding a bike down the wet

and leafy streets of my dreams,

or, sitting at a desk in a lonely room, somewhere,

leafing through a magazine,

or, standing on a downtown corner,

waiting for the light to change-

a little spare-change in one hand

(for the man with the big, green parrot

and the little, red guitar)

and a book of Neruda’s odes in the other.

And I DO need her, I swear I do.

more than I need this paper and the pen

that pins me precariously to the world,

more than I need the job

(that barely keeps me from the curb),

more than I need Light’nin’ or Link Wray

or Motorhead or Miles or Hank

or even Monk, for Christ’s sake,

more than I need family or food or friends

or my Guiness and Powers at the end

of a twelve-hour, 110-in-the-shade kind of day.

MotherFUCKER, it hurts to say

and it’s sad, I know, I know, but it’s true

and it seems like there’s not a damn thing

I can do about it.

No, I need this woman so goddamn bad

it nearly bends me in half whenever I’m foolish enough
to really imagine what it must be like

just to taste her,

or, merely put my hand on her

conspicuously exposed waist-line or tightly

blue jeaned ass as she passes by (on her way
to buy us another round of drinks, perhaps).

Even a knowing or quizzical glance

across a crowded restaurant

would knock me three days walking distance.

And I CAN taste her, like the tart, oily after-glow

of a heavy red wine (that prob’ly costs

more than a days pay).

And I swear I can smell

that exact, invisible X-marks-the-spot

between her shoulder blades

and I can hear her singing along

(very poorly but with much duende)

to Big Mama Thorton or Loretta Lynn or Mazzy Star
while doing the dishes or just driving

around town in her car.

And I can feel her

contoured up along-side o’ me

in a bed, in a Motel 6,

just outside Tucumcari, NM (or, Talala, OK);

September, let’s say,

3AM and the window’s open

and the room is breathing slowly with the dark,

the TV turned to an info-mercial

for hair-growth formulas

or home-schooling or somethin’…

Shiiiiit. Who the hell am I foolin’!?

the night or Link or Monk?

this half-drunk Guinness or the person whistling,

now, down on the street or maybe

even this wise-guy on TV?

Aint no one here in bed beside me,

no one to sing me a blues

or read me Neruda or buy us a drink.

Hell, if I was to somehow

stumble upon the woman I need,

right here, right now,

or standin’ on a downtown corner

or walkin’ down some wet and leafy street

full of laughing children and happy dogs

and goddamn twittering birds

(all singing songs of praise, each to each,

concerning the woman of my dreams),

or, better yet, across a crowded bar or restaurant…

She’d look knowingly, longingly even,

and smile and wave, and beckon

to the guy right behind me.

-Jason Ryberg, 2004

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Hey peoples, only a few copies are left in stock of my and Iris Appelquist's latest collection of poems, "Blunt Trauma." They're only $12.00 (plus $3.00 for shipping) and the next printing probably won't be in until early next year. If you're interested, they're available at but there aint many left so order now! Do it! It'll be good for ya!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


As it so happens,
I’m tired of thinking about things,
tired of “mulling things over”
into a flavorless conceptual paste,
tired of “thinking things through”
to their logical, but otherwise,
less than satisfying conclusions.
I’ve decided from now on to live my life
in the blind spot of my own mind’s eye;
a compact car to a tanker
hauling liquid fertilizer
at 90-plus miles an hour.
I want to bungee from bridges
spanning unfathomable depths
of human depravity,
parachute from planes
in search of some zen-like nothingness
that comes only from risking everything
on, seemingly, nothing.
I want to conquer women
with a highly potent, yet imperceptible,
synthesis of slight of hand,
subtle hypnosis and positive/
negative re-enforcement via
their own masochistic tendencies
toward low self esteem.
I want to be a former member
of an elite, covert team
of... something or other.
I want to live a life on the run,
hitch-hike from mental state
to mental state, move from town
to no name town, always just
one step and one alias ahead of
the same mysterious (yet
oddly familiar) stranger.
I want to find the man
behind the man
behind the man.
I want to avenge the death of my master.
I want to reel myself in
through the winding wonderland
maze of the world on a string
I left for myself
countless past lives ago.
And when the great, cosmic
18-wheeler of eternity
finally comes for me
out on that lonely, moon-lit
two lane highway of Time,
will I be the lordly bull-moose
of a thousand campfire stories
suddenly appearing in the headlights,
refusing to give ground,
or a mere moth of a thought
caught in its gnarled grill,
for some higher power type character
to power-wash off later
without a second’s thought?

-Jason Ryberg, 2009


Your Idea of Embracing Horror

Your idea of embracing horror
was overwhelmed by the horror:

in the mild
milkiness of the afternoon, on the bluff
that commands a vision of bank towers
knifing up far higher than the rising, empty
shell of the moon ... on the height where you stand
and still can't understand your life
as anything but slow dying, your time seeps out
as into a warm bath, the way the exemplary career
of Petronius the Just—pornographer and satirist-
once leaked away.

-A. F. Moritz

Tuesday, May 25, 2010



The man who stands above the bird, his knife
Sharp as a Turkish scimitar, first removes
A thigh and leg, half the support
On which the turkey used to stand. This
Leg and thigh he sets on an extra
Plate. All his weight now on
One leg, he lunges for the wing, the wing
On the same side of the bird from which
He has just removed the leg and thigh.
He frees the wing enough to expose
The breast, the wing not severed but
Collapsed down to the platter. One hand
Holding the fork, piercing the turkey
Anywhere, he now beings to slice the breast,
Afflicted by small pains in his chest,
A kind of heartburn for which there is no
Cure. He serves the hostess breast, her
Own breast rising and falling. And so on,
Till all the guests are served, the turkey
Now a wreck, the carver exhausted, a
Mere carcass of his former self. Everyone
Says thanks to the turkey carver and begins
To eat, thankful for the cold turkey
And the Republic for which it stands.

-Mac Hammond

Friday, May 21, 2010


Thirteen Mexican blackbirds

who’ve burst from a pie,

flittering and skittering,
nervously, about the scene.

Thirteen devils dancing

on the head of a ten-penny nail

driven into the skull of a snitch.

A bear in a sundress

sipping fine Darjeeling and reading Rabalaise

and a bull consulting the I-Ching,

each keeping a wary eye on the other

from opposite ends of the room.

A surgeon juggling bone saws

and whistling show tunes.

A bloodhound with the boot-ass blues,

a skeleton with a fool’s cap

and a blind swordsman folding origami cranes.

3 Elvis’s eating chicken wings and playin’ spades

and a vampire sipping cappuccino,

smoking cigarillos and reading

yesterday’s USA Today.

A grand master
of the Drunken Monkey Technique

precariously balanced on the back of a chair

and a teary-eyed clown with

a fierce and elaborate network

of girdles and trusses,

holding a single red rose,

sitting atop a unicorn.

A lawyer centering her chakra,

and a lounge-singer finding his power-animal

(most likely a mountain lion

or salamander or maybe even a raven

with a cigarette in its beak).

A cheerleader purging behind a dumpster,

a preacher on the verge of kicking out

a stained glass window

and a circus-midget’s smirking ghost,

skulking under a bloody moon.

A jealous god sulking on top of Mt. Fuji,

contemplating the weather and whether

to smite Mr. Jones with
a suitcase full of money

or to enlighten Mr. Brown

with a falling baby grand.

An attorney general holed up

in his secret fortress at the bottom

of Lake Wassapomati, plotting
random harassments

and senseless acts of patriotism.

And, finally, beneath the massively gothic

masonic temple, in downtown Salina, Kansas,

in the hermetically sealed obscurity

of sub, sub-basement #3

a hundred cigar-smokin’ monkeys

are sitting at their big Macs and fancy PC’s,

staring blankly at the blank, glowing screens…




-Jason Ryberg, 2010


Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

-Wendell Berry

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


-with apologies to Arthur Tress

Strangely enough,

It all starts with Adam West and Eva Gabor

(having been cast, here, as a sort of

flawlessly wholesome American Hansel and Gretel)

gathering up sheaves of wheat

in the red-gold glow of a setting sun,

the whole thing set to a lush accompaniment

of angels with Chinese eyes

playing strange, other-worldly instruments.

And now, the smoky ghost of a former farm cat,

A miniature horse and a miniature shark

Are just about to embark on a truly incredible journey

Of potentially epic proportions.

And Johnny Socko and Giant Robot

Are finally done with their daring-do adventuring

For another day (having saved the day,

Once again, from the clutches of the evil Professor Hex

And the Dragon Lady from Mars)

And are now slowly spiraling down

Into a deep and dreamless sleep.

And Caruso, reviving his most famous role of Pagliaccio,

Is giving voice lessons to Anne Boleyn

(or is it Jane Mansfield) while some

Bit-part player (you know you've seen her

A million times, before) done-up in cliché

Antebellum slave-girl garb is grinning

A near-rictus grin and beating out a jungle beat

On an old washtub and a tambourine

And an (as yet) unidentified goddess or muse

Is waiting, anxiously, in the wings for her cue.

And down in the coliseum,

The wise man Laocoon and his sons,

Antiphantes and Thymbraeus are training

For their big steel-cage rematch

With the hot and deadly snakes of the under-world.

And all the while,

A butterfly sits dreaming on a railroad spike;

A dream of suddenly waking from a dream

And finding oneself to be nothing less

Than The Great American Everyman, himself,

Who (it will eventually be revealed

through a succession of wildly probable events)

Has somehow come into possession

(one could very easily name it either a curse

Or a blessing) of a magical toy chicken

That lays chocolate eggs covered in 14K gold leaf.

No one could possibly predict what happens next

Or how the whole thing finally ends.

-Jason Ryberg, 2010


3 Pages

For Jack Collom

10 Things I do Every Day

play poker
drink beer
smoke pot
jack off



positive & negative

go home

read lunch poems

hunker down


Life goes by
quite merrily
Hunting For The Whale

“and if the weather plays me fair
I’m happy every day.”

The white that dries clear
the heart attack
the congressional medal of honor
A house in the country


-Ted Berrigan

Monday, May 17, 2010


The map room

We moved into a house with 6 rooms: the Bedroom,
the Map Room, the Vegas Room, Cities
in the Flood Plains, the West, & the Room
Which Contains All of Mexico. We honeymooned
in the Vegas Room where lounge acts wasted
our precious time. Then there was the junta's
high command, sick dogs of the Map Room, heel-
prints everywhere, pushing model armies
into the unfurnished West. At night: stories
of their abandoned homes in the Cities
in the Flood Plains, how they had loved each other
mercilessly, in rusting cars, until
the drive-in went under. From the Bedroom
we called the decorator & demanded
a figurehead... the one true diva to be had
in All of Mexico: Maria Felix [star of The Devourer,
star of The Lady General]. Nightly in Vegas,
"It's Not Unusual" or the Sex Pistols medley.
Nothing ever comes back from the West, it's a
one-way door, a one-shot deal,-- the one room we
never slept in together. My wife wants to rename it
The Ugly Truth. I love my wife for her
wonderful, light, creamy, highly reflective skin;
if there's an illumination from the submerged Cities,
that's her. She suspects me of certain acts
involving Maria Felix, the gambling debts mount...
but when she sends the junta off to Bed
we rendezvous in the Map Room & sprawl
across the New World with our heads to the West.
I sing her romantic melodies from the Room
Which Contains All of Mexico, tunes which
keep arriving like heaven, in waves of raw data,
& though I wrote none of the songs myself
& can't pronounce them, these are my greatest hits.

-Joshua Clover

Friday, May 14, 2010


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

Thursday, May 13, 2010


the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls

the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
are unbeautiful and have comfortable minds
(also, with the church's protestant blessings
daughters, unscented shapeless spirited)
they believe in Christ and Longfellow,both dead,
are invariably interested in so many things-
at the present writing one still finds
delighted fingers knitting for the is it Poles?
perhaps. While permanent faces coyly bandy
scandal of Mrs. N and Professor D
....the Cambridge ladies do not care,above
Cambridge if sometimes in its box of
sky lavender and cornerless, the
moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy.

-E. E.Cummings

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


The quality of sleep during thunderstorms,

what with the wind and rain

howling and pounding away

at the house (if not the very foundations

of the earth, itself) always seems

to free the sleeper to sink

deeper and deeper down

to those primal subterranean layers

of semi-consciousness where sleep

is more like a ghostly oceanic underworld

and dreams are luminescent fish

skulking about among the weeds

and abandoned machines and whatever

other random little trinkets and things

that filter their way down there from the surface world,

down and down through the hundreds

and thousands of pounds per cubic inch.

And, sometimes, you suddenly come awake

down there inside the belly of a dream,

just lilting along on whatever

under-current that comes sliding by.

And, though you’ve become slightly

more self-aware (of a few of your
other selves) down there in the briny,
dreamy deep-down,

you do not drown.

-Jason Ryberg, 2010