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


  1. Very nice--and I can definitely relate! The conundrum from hell--a desperate hope you can neither abandon nor fulfill. All you can do is hang in there, chewing on the loneliness...

    BTW, check out my blog posting this week. It ought to shiver your timbers a bit.