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

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