Tuesday, August 31, 2010



On the ridge above Skelp Road
bears binge on blackberries and apples,
even grapes, knocking down
the Petersens’ arbor to satisfy the sweet
hunger that consumes them. Just like us
they know the day must come when
the heart slows, when to take one
more step would mean the end of things
as they should be. Sleep is a drug;
dreams its succor. How better to drift
toward another world but with leaves
falling, their warmth draping us,
our stomachs full and fat with summer?

by Todd Davis

Thursday, August 26, 2010


So, it’s come down

To this;

A lukewarm bottle of port
And an old porno magazine (c. 1973),

One book of
Lonesome cowboy poetry,
A print of a painting
Of a saint in a cave
And a kung-fu movie
On TV,

A broken chair,
A bare mattress,

A dirty bulb
Swingin’ on the end
Of a string

In a strangely warm
Little tributary
Of February wind

That’s suddenly streamin’ in
Through a torn
Window screen;

Just this tentative little stream,
Like a tendril or feeler reeled out
By a thunderstorm that’s just now
Windin’ itself up
Into a mean and evil frenzy
Somewhere across town.

Truly, it is a night for long-gone lonesome
Troubadours and dream-tortured warriors
That will never live to fight another day,
And wayward painters, who’ve watched,
Helplessly, too-little-too-late,
As all hope literally sailed away.

Truly, it is a night to ask,
“how the hell did all this come to pass?”
or “how else could I have believed?”
or, perhaps, even (for comic
relief, at least),

“why me!?”

Nights like this,
The very fabric of reality
Is saturated and crackling
With ozone and static electricity
And a great oily spill of bad ju ju.

Nights like this,
The night grumbles back
To foolish questions,

“why not you?”

So, I suppose
There’s really nothin’
Left to do

But throw open all the windows
And doors and turn off all the lights
(at that goddamned TV)
and turn on Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,”
or maybe even Stravinsky’s
“Rites of Spring.”

Nothin’ left to do

But settle back with a bottle of port
(no shit, found under a loose floor-board,
and, says right here,
“thirty years old”),

nothin’ left to do
but settle back and just sorta

watch things unfold.

Yeah… nights like this,
Hank,Sr., Bruce Lee
And even that crazy son-of-a-bitch
Caravaggio look down
From the ringside seats of Heaven

Upon all beautiful
And foolish souls in exile

And smile.

-Jason Ryberg, 2003

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Little God Origami

The number of corners in the soul can't
compare with the universe's dimensions folded
neatly into swans. In the soul's
space, one word on a thousand pieces
of paper the size of cookie fortunes falls
from the heavens. At last, the oracular
answer, you cry, pawing at the scraps that twirl
like seed-pod helicopters. Alas, the window
to your soul needs a good scrubbing, so
the letters doodle into indecipherables just
like every answer that has rained
down through history, and you realize, in
your little smog of thought that death
will simply be the cessation of asking, a thousand
cranes unfolding themselves and returning to the trees.

-Stefi Weisburd

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The Beauty of Things

To feel and speak the astonishing beauty of things—earth, stone and water,
Beast, man and woman, sun, moon and stars—
The blood-shot beauty of human nature, its thoughts, frenzies and passions,
And unhuman nature its towering reality—
For man’s half dream; man, you might say, is nature dreaming, but rock
And water and sky are constant—to feel
Greatly, and understand greatly, and express greatly, the natural
Beauty, is the sole business of poetry.
The rest’s diversion: those holy or noble sentiments, the intricate ideas,
The love, lust, longing: reasons, but not the reason.

-Robinson Jeffers

Sunday, August 22, 2010


The Poet Washes Dishes

It took several hours. There were spaces in the cookware of which no one was aware, save the poet. The soft downturn of the ladle handle soared and fell like the epic point guard's final jump shot as the seconds die away… Water turned from periods to semi-colons and, finally, ellipses. If the sponge was wrung-out in the perfect combination of soap and water - the poet erupted into mirthful glee. Otherwise, tears. The poet shooed his wife away from the dirty dishes like an Anthropologist hoarding the dirty femur of Java Man, stared out the window at the muddy March snow. He did not love the dishes; merely cherished them as a measure of time's elapse, a graceful collapse. Another chop gone by. The final swallow, the final tine, an expulsion of methane. As the last dish hit the rack the poet pondered the finality of one more meal; this all before dessert and coffee were even served. As always, it took a lifetime.

-Peter Conners

Thursday, August 19, 2010


This poem
starts from a postcard
from a place that no longer exists
(found in a book, never finished);

the book; Boccaccio's "Decameron,"

the postcard; "A View of Mainstreet, Studley, KS,

Boccaccio; whereabouts unknown,

Studley, KS; ninety years beneath a lake.

This poem

will have cold pizza

and orange juice for breakfast,

followed by three steep cups

of gritty black coffee

while sifting through

John Lee hooker's blues,

the 1952 Farmer's Almanac,

Lowrider Magazine

and the local classifieds

for something new to chew on,

something to stoke the Languishing Ember Of Hope,

something to clip out and keep

in its musty scrapbook of a brain,

something to fly on the end of a string

in the middle of a summer thunderstorm.

This poem will slowly begin

to find strange names

and phone numbers in its pockets,

coffee stains in its margins,

wrinkles in its face

and stress-fractures

in its logic.

This poem

will be wadded up

and banished from the court,

mauled by a one-eyed, three-legged tom-cat

named Lucky Ned,

rescued, reconstructed and rehabilitated,

then put back in the running

with a new lease on life.

Later, upon closer examination,

It will be discovered

to have developed night-vision

and a web-site with no domain.

This poem

will break its chain

and jump the fence

to wander freely

through the dark, haunted forests

of young girl's dreams.

This poem

will pay fines for pissing

on the Washington Monument,

Grants Tomb, The Alamo,

The George Brett Super Highway

and The Ronald Reagen Memorial something-or-other.

This poem

will do time for attempting to bribe

public officials and

go joyriding in a '62 purple Impala,

returning it unharmed at dawn.

This poem

will have itself forwarded

to the Great Unknown,

be found in a bottle

on the shore of Galapagos

and ride-out the rest of the 21st century

folded up in the inside left breast pocket

of Joe Bannano’s overcoat.

This poem will saturate the matrix

and circle the globe,

seemingly unnoticed.

Then, when it's used up

all its privileges and favors,

made too many of the wrong enemies,

burned too many bridges

and racked up way too much debt,

It will suddenly erupt

into an unfathomable mushroom cloud

of chain letters, computer viruses

and nagging late-night suspicions,

leaving the world

radically altered,


More or less.

-Jason Ryberg, 2008

Saturday, August 14, 2010


For Steve Bridgens

Even after the sun

has long-since gone down,

the raw, kiln-like intensity

of a day like today

(here, in this overgrown cow town

in late July) can still be felt

well into the night.

The sidewalks and driveways

and newly resurfaced streets

continue to throw off enough heat,

all our overgrown yards enough jungle steam

(due to a brief but mean little thunderstorm

this morning that not even

the weatherman had forseen)

that our clankity old window-unit

is forced to shift down a few degrees

into a lower, more determined gear.

Still, something has called us all out here

to the front porch, tonight;

maybe those recent reports of lightning on the horizon?

Constellations of fireflies churning before our eyes?

The tidal pull of a fat, blood-orange of a moon?

Or, just the inevitable madness of tiny rooms?

All we really need to know

(here on this not-so-disagreeable-night

in Kansas City, KS in late July) is

there's an hour of Mingus

coming up on the radio,

a 'fridge full of beer getting colder and colder

and a one-hitter already loaded up for you

and ready to go.

So, even though we all got jobs

that come calling way too early in the morning

and bills and debts that, over time, have become

highly resistant to our attempts at neutralizing them

and despite all the headlines and sound-bites

(detailing the latest home-grown inanity

or gruesome instance of international mayhem)

that appear to be conspiring to reinforce

the near-blasphemous notion that can

so easily lead one to believe otherwise,

from time to time

the universe does provide.

-Jason Ryberg, 2008