-Álvaro de Campos
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
-Álvaro de Campos
Monday, June 28, 2010
Empire of Dreams
Just a slippery, quicksilver glimpse
of someone faintly resembling her
or the mere mention
of her name in passing
between two passing strangers
(maybe a seeing-eye-dog
and a black bird perched
on a parking meter,
and a thin, murder-red line of liquid fire
meanders its way, languidly,
down the spiny contour
of this bizarre,
I call my soul,
in the stone bowl
of my belly, where, it will
bubble and hiss and sulk
long into the night.
-Jason Ryberg, 2004
Sunday, June 27, 2010
each drop breaking
without breaking into
the next, describes
the unrelenting, syncopated
mind. Not unlike
imagining their wings
to be their heart, and swallows
believing the horizon
to be a line they lift
and drop. What is it
they cast for? The poplars,
advancing or retreating,
lose their stature
equally, and yet stand firm,
in order to become
imaginary. The city
draws the mind in streets,
and streets compel it
from their intersections
where a little
belongs to no one. It is
what is driven through
all stationary portions
of the world, gravity's
stake in things, the leaves,
pressed against the dank
window of November
soil, remain unwelcome
till transformed, parts
of a puzzle unsolvable
till the edges give a bit
and soften. See how
then the picture becomes clear,
the mind entering the ground
more easily in pieces,
and all the richer for it.
Friday, June 25, 2010
|Honky Tonk in Cleveland, Ohio|| |
It's a jazz affair, drum crashes
Thursday, June 24, 2010
It is later than late,
the simmered down darkness
of the jukebox hour.
The hour of drunkenness
The fools hour.
In my dreams,
I still smoke, cigarette after cigarette.
It's okay, I'm dreaming.
In dreams, smoking can't kill me.
It's warm outside.
I have every window open.
There's no such thing as danger,
only the dangerous face of beauty.
I am hanging at my window
like a houseplant.
I am smoking a cigarette.
I am having a drink.
The pale, blue moon is shining.
The savage stars appear.
Every fool that passes by
smiles up at me.
I drip ashes on them.
There is music playing from somewhere.
A thready, salt-sweet tune I don't know
any of the words to.
There's a gentle breeze making
hopscotch with my hair.
This is the wet blanket air of midnight.
This is the incremental hour.
This is the plastic placemat of time
between reality and make-believe.
This is tabletop dream time.
This is that faint stain on your mattress,
the one you'll discover come morning,
and wonder how.
This is the monumental moment.
The essential: look at me now.
This is the hour.
Isn't it lovely? Wake up the stars!
Isn't it fabulous? Kiss the moon!
Where is the clock? The one that
always runs ahead. The one
that always tries to crush me with
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The Flash Reverses Time
DC Comics, November 1990, #44
“Never Look Back, Flash
Your Life Might Be Gaining On You”
-A. Van Jordan
Monday, June 21, 2010
Of old dreams
Are washed out video-shadows
Milling about in salvage stores,
Train yards and vacant lots,
Muttering state secrets
And family recipes into the wind.
Of old dreams
Are fleeting quicksilver gleams
In the corner of the mind’s eye,
And then, suddenly,
In a flurry of back road dust
And magpie wings,
Of old dreams
Are fat bottom feeders, much like
Their not-so-distant cousin
They often dine
At the same greasy spoons
And bed down at the same
A hollow log, a tire, a Christmas tree,
A chamber in the heart,
A cavern in the skull,
Maybe a washer or refrigerator,
Whereever there’s a vacancy
Or a free meal.
They do what they can to survive.
It is said
That there is a giant catfish
Somewhere at the bottom
Of the world;
Bigger than the Blue Whale,
huger than the Brontosaurus,
more gigantic, even, than the ancient,
And many believe
This surly old boy to be God.
And there he is, way down deep there
Among the jutting pillars
And slowly eroding walls
And steel skeletons
Of his first clumsy experiments
Slithering and sucking about,
Sifting and breathing out our days
From the primal mud and muck of life,
By his angelic battalions of advisers,
His armored corps of engineers
There they are;
Rippling out around him
In concentric circles
And billowing coronas of silt,
Hard at work,
Sniffing, tasting, testing, triangulating,
Picking over the tiny,
Time-filtered bits and pieces
Of the past, reworking
The problems of the world
From the bottom up.
It is said
That no other creature
Of his creation can withstand
(if you believe in such things),
the ghosts of old dreams.
-Jason Ryberg, 2003
A child wakens in a cold apartment.
The windows are frosted. Outside he hears
words rising from the streets, words he cannot
understand, and then the semis gear down
for the traffic light on Houston. He sleeps
again and dreams of another city
on a high hill above a wide river
bathed in sunlight, and the dream is his life
as he will live it twenty years from now.
No, no, you say, dreams do not work that way,
they function otherwise. Perhaps in the world
you're right, but on Houston tonight two men
are trying to change a tire as snow gathers
on their shoulders and scalds their ungloved hands.
The older one, the father, is close to tears,
for he's sure his son, who's drunk, is laughing
secretly at him for all his failures
as a man and a father, and he is
laughing to himself but because he's happy
to be alone with his father as he was
years ago in another life where snow
never fell. At last he slips the tire iron
gently from his father's grip and kneels
down in the unstained snow and unbolts the wheel
while he sings of drinking a glass of wine,
the black common wine of Alicante,
in raw sunlight. Now the father joins in,
and the words rise between the falling flakes
only to be transformed into the music
spreading slowly over the oiled surface
of the river that runs through every child's dreams.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Those far-off and fleeting buzzards
of indeterminate feeling,
pyrning and gyring on the horizon,
those flittering moths of thought
recently seen accumulating, at the oddest times,
on the shimmering quicksilver edge
of your mind's magnificent fish-eye lens...
they've been rapidly devolving
into dubious notions and bizarre insecurities
concerning the teleological motions
of moth's wings and the polar ice-caps of Mars
(and their collusion and subsequent influence
over your own precarious place
in the grand schemata
of people, places and things)...
And what about that sweet, young thing, there,
givin' you the cheerleader sneer
from across the bar?
What is that, exactly, that she's beaming out,
Some subtle shade of pathos, at best?
Or that grizzled, hoary Ahab
of a character shootin' you the stink-eye
from the back window of a passing bus...
Maybe it all adds up to nothing much,
but, something both all-knowing
and faintly unwholesome was
most definitely transmitted in the brief,
teleo-scopic instant of that
And those little clickity-clicks
and distant kettle whistles
and whispering phantoms of white noise
you'd swear, sometimes, just like
billowing clouds of gnats and other no-see-ems
(hosting the reincarnated souls
of grievous sinners, no doubt)
always mucking up your receptions
What could their involvement be
in all of this and to what possible purpose
Well, maybe you've even thought to yourself,
from time to time, "how strange
to always be found, lately,
playing the part of the sad, little
Charlie Chaplin of a clown
in Life's three-ring sodomy circus."
Zen masters, fortune cookies
and bar-stool philosophers,
street-sweepers, antique dealers
and the capricious daughters
of Mexican generals, alike,
will tell you,
it is precisely at these moments that
one must immediately pull the rip-cord
and nullify all contracts and pre-arrangements with the world,
let loose the horses,
release the hounds,
and set free the birds of paradisal light
that have languished too long in their cages.
But, most importantly,
one must stalk and chase and feed, voraciously,
upon the hot, dripping, still-beating hearts
of wide open spaces.
-Jason Ryberg, 2004
Summer, red violin,
smooth and shining as
and beneath its gaze,
fish of the
terrible, paternal sun,
sweaty as a
pounding on your head
like an unexpected
across the sand,
ray by ray
the celestial sun;
down a forehead
in the mine
in a diamond.
in the greenness, lips
of wild plums,
of soft dust
and in the afternoon
the desert furnace,
in the somber
in the crackling
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
there is a painting,
I am convinced is responsible
for the disappearance
of a number of, otherwise,
innocent art aficionados.
Once, while flirting
shamelessly with one of Gauguin’s
little island girls,
I noticed a man
Jean Baptiste Camille Corot’s
“A Day In the Country,”
with its blustery, leaf-flustered world
of browns and blacks and greys,
(about the only colors
he ever seemed to use in those days),
except, of course, for his
tiny signature dab of red
that always manages to grab the eye
and mind like a bright ember at twilight.
And the guy
is completely frozen, there,
an unbeliever, perhaps,
beholding the hybrid angel-demon, at last,
a bird lost in the thousand-yard-stare
of a cobra.
And I swear
I only turned away from him
for a second (to give my
little coco-chica a reassuring wink)…
When I turned back,
there was nothing left of the man
but a shoe.
This went on for a couple of months-
a kid with headphones,
a guy wearing cockroach killers
and a burgundy shirt,
an old man with a straw pork-pie,
a woman with a fake leg,
and a girl with a dragonfly
tattooed across her entire back.
And though I never actually saw
any of these… abductions,
would never be able to testify, reliably,
as an eye-witness to just exactly
what went down.
I know these people had been chosen by Beauty;
carried off, spirited away, shanghaied…
and, I knew that I could never know Beauty
like they did, could never possess Beauty
like they did, could never curl up next to it,
make dinner for it, take it on the job,
go on long walks through the park with it,
ride shotgun with it in a ’68 Chevy pick-up
through a monster summer thunderstorm…
unless, of course, something… substantial
unless I offered myself up, completely,
to the grinning, lizard-tongue-flicking
devil-god of the moment,
whatever that moment may be.
I went home,
took a long pull off a half-pint
torched everything I’d ever written
in a metal trash-can
and through my television
off the roof of my building.
I felt fucking beautiful.
-Jason Ryberg, 2004