|City That Does Not Sleep|| |
In the sky there is nobody asleep. Nobody, nobody.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
all cold, black infinitudes and Lovecraftian
expanses of time, the headlights of the truck
barely illuminating the road ahead,
no signs of civilization anywhere and I'd swear
the wind has been alternately whispering
and roaring its bleak sermon for days now.
And somehow I'm still working on
the same foot-long truck stop sub,
still nursing on the same twenty-some-odd-ounce
cup of cold truck stop mud (funny how
with the right amount of faux-dairy creamer stuff
it tastes faintly of burnt popcorn).
But at least that low-hanging cloud cover
has finally rolled on and the stars have all come out
and there's a guy on the radio now going on and on
about the various health benefits that come from
consuming coral calcium deposits ("marine grade,"
by the way) which apparently include (but are,
by no means, limited to) curing any and all forms of cancer,
living to a hundred and twenty years of age and,
most amazingly, the ability to grow a new brain.
And on that last, ringing note (and vivid mental image)
we seem to have arrived at "one of those moments, "
where, who knows, maybe the planets and the stars
are aligned just right; one of those moments
when it's perfectly appropriate and all right
to ask of the night, the stars, the spirits of your ancestors
or whoever may be sitting next to you 'what's it all about?'
As in the big 'it.' The very 'it' from which all rivers
and roads issue forth and eventually, inevitably return to
and within which all the myriad archetypes
and things are contained and are each,
in their own way, ultimately about (aren't they?).
And it feels, somehow, like we started out
on this trip weeks ago, months even,
the whole thing a grainy late, late show
starring some second-rate Hope and Crosby,
Laurel and Hardy, Mutt and Jeff,
Kerouac and Cassidy, but, probably more like
the 21st Century American answer to
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; a couple of
luckless chuckle-heads suddenly thrown
by wild circumstance on to the road
with little more than the clothes on their backs
and the coins in their pockets,
more than just a little bit out of their depth
and out of step with the various machinations
at work around them.
But, now it's starting to feel
like maybe the wind is finally settling down
(for a little while, anyway)
and the stars are burning even brighter
all around us in the cold night sky,
yes, like fireflies,
like Christmas lights.
And there, to our right,
by the side of the road, a giant cross
comes looming, more than a little ominously, into view,
a hundred feet tall (at least) and all stage-lit
to properly announce the Judeo-Christian
All-Father's wrathful return to earth.
And now some British-sounding news-guy
on some other (shall we say more "standardized"
and "accountable") radio program is reporting
"live, from around the world (Greenwich Mean Time),"
recapping a few of the day's major headlines-
"Astronomers say they've found
a miniature version of our own solar system
only five thousand light years away,"
"In Israel, a woman believed to be
the world's oldest person celebrated
her one hundred and twentieth
"and for the first time in living memory
snowflakes are falling
did he just say
-Jason Ryberg, 2009
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
"Buildings can't want."—Donald Rumsfeld
Neither does the ax regret each tree it has bitten,
though it leans against the shed
like a drunk locked out of his own house.
The tractor doesn't moon
over the physique of its youth.
The dry birdbath makes no plans
for the future.
What can the barn recall of the day
you climbed the ladder into its loft and found
a pair of buzzard chicks
skulking among the hay bales?
Your grandfather shot them with a pistol
and kicked them out of the haymow for you
to carry to the ditch beyond the field.
Does the barn remember those shots
exploding inside it like a burst neuron?
The weight of those bodies thudding to earth?
Can the field remember your feet crossing it, the air
heavy with crickets?
Does the ditch remember the bones the coyotes
gnawed and scattered?
You stand here, where the walnut tree was felled,
one foot on the smooth disc of the stump.
The grass makes no demands on your soul.
The cow paths are as forgetful as the rain.
If it is possible,
grown over with morning glories
is less than indifferent to silence.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
A spring snow coincides with plum blossoms.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Deaf Night at O'Donnell's
Friday, March 19, 2010
Body my house
Thursday, March 18, 2010
They wrote it all down for me
in the living room on the walls.
They wrote who gave it up and who wanted it
most and a phone number. They told me
where to stick it, how to like it,
what the consistency was. There was a lot
I didn't get, but they left more under the bridge
and against the back of Red Plank Records.
I never met them. They'd come in the smoke
of my absence, during the hum
of appliances that needed to be wrapped
with stuffing and tape.
They made me the queen of their intent,
all the messages like stars
on the undersides of overpasses. I stay informed
about the people—what they do to each other,
how to take it, what number to call
for a piece of your own, and what happens
if you're not there to get it.
I watch for them to come back.
I watch for them from across the street
in my rented room with the walls painted red
and my little bit on and the curtains
more than slightly parted.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I give the undertakers permission to haul my body
Thursday, March 11, 2010
|Gic to Har|
It is late at night, cold and damp
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The night was thick, black and nasty
and my mattress was a raft, drifting down
a mighty Mississippi of memory-
a Viking longboat in which my broken
warrior-poet’s form had been placed
and sent downstream through the grey mists
of eternity and on to the far bright shores of my
forefathers and their fathers before them,
only to be turned away from those fearsome
gates for being “insufficiently deceased.”
And, lately, it seems like I’ve been waking
in varying stages of dream-state, at all my
“former places of residence,” feeling around
the bed for some imaginary “former spouse
or significant other,” freaking out about
being late to some “former place of employment”
and whatever it is I’m gonna say (this time?)
to assuage whichever “former employer.”
I can’t help but believe if things continue
at this rate, eventually, I’ll bolt awake thinking
I’m late for my first day of kindergarten
(though, hopefully my mother will also be
on hand to say, “It’s OK, little man.
It’s only Saturday. Go out and play.”).
And then there’s that recurring one where,
in what some new age, metaphysical,
guided meditation counselor type might
call “a deep subterranean cave of me,”
some here-to-fore unknown (or merely suspected)
part of me suddenly cracks and snaps off
like a massive icicle or stalactite, morphing
on its way down into another more fully actualized me,
a new and improved me, you could say,
and hits the ground, running, like Jesse Owens
at the ’36 Olympics.
And let’s just say, for the sake of the poem
(and your brief relationship with it),
that this new and improved me is actually you
and it’s not a slimy or treacherous cave floor
that your feet have found but a cool, rain-slicked street,
late at night, in some industrial part of town
you don’t recognize
and, just over there, to the right,
maybe fifty, sixty feet away, at most, there’s
a freight train blowing out its big brassy basso profundo
as it slows down to take the curve and it's not
even an issue of nerve or wanting it bad enough
'cause you know you can make it, this time, man,
and you don’t even have a suitcase or bag or anything
but that shit don’t even matter ‘cause everything’s
gonna be different from here on out if you can
just catch that train, man, everything gonna be just fine
if you can just keep runnin’ and sayin’ it
and sayin’ it and sayin’ it:
"everything gonna be alright,
everything gonna be alright,
everything gonna be alright,
everything gonna be alright... "
-Jason Ryberg, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
|I Am a Cowboy in the Boat of Ra|| |
'The devil must be forced to reveal any such
Thursday, March 4, 2010
|Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital |
for the Criminal Insane
Hard Rock / was / "known not to take no shit
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
|Eyes Fastened With Pins|
How much death works,
Monday, March 1, 2010
Whereas I can understand why coveting what
other people have is generally considered to be
a bad thing (or at least not good in the way, say Socrates
would have conceived of it along with his notions of
the Just and the Beautiful; the “what”, in this case,
being a real beauty I’ve had my eye and mind on
for some time now and the “other” being, not exactly,
a good friend of mine but an otherwise “OK guy” who,
just for the record, always seems to net a little more
than his fair share of both the Good and the Beautiful
if not exactly justly, so) and why loving thy neighbor
is usually agreed upon by priests, philosophers, politicians
and other members-in-good-standing of Chambers
of Commerce everywhere as being a good thing
(even though my attempts at loving them both
in my own separate and compartmentalized way
have been met with a degree of complication, if not
resistance, respectively, and, you know, the more
I think about things, this guy probably qualifies
as more of a “friendly acquaintance” than a “friend,” really),
the more I think about how much I’ve really wanted to
fuck this girl (as well as do other nice things for her
like bake bread for her and lift heavy things for her
and massage her feet and shoulders and be there for her
when she needs someone to hold her and say “there, there,
little soldier, everything’s gonna be OK” and still do,
now more than ever, despite the fact she’s “taken”
as they say), but I just can’t help wanting some vague
misfortune to befall this dude and just sort of
knock him out of the way; nothing by my own hand,
of course, and nothing too terribly bad; maybe something
along the lines of a minor industrial accident or alien abduction or
perfectly mundane and random example of someone
simply slipping on a well placed banana peel of the perverse
and tumbling right the fuck out of the scene, leaving me
absolutely golden and resplendent in a somehow wholly new
and different light in her eyes, right? YER GODDAMN
RIGHT I’M RIGHT!!! Somehow more intriguingly mysterious,
more smolderingly, viscerally virile, more ruggedly,
ribaldly, irresistably charismatic (if not exactly as monied
and handsome as my former nemesis-by-proxy) in a way
she somehow hadn’t noticed before this momentous occasion.
But, if you’ve managed to labor this far into the poem
and you’ve got even a basic aptitude for three dimensional
thinking, then you probably already know the score:
she’s every girl I’ve ever needed but couldn’t have and he’s
every one of those guys that swoops in superhero style
and scoops them up right before the pool of my idiot
slack jaw drool and my bugged-out, disbelieving eyes.
And me? I guess I’m the kid what likes to crack wise a bit,
sitting nose-first in the corner of the classroom,
wearing a pointy hat, or maybe I’m the guy that kid
inevitably grows up to be if he doesn’t get wise, fast,
you know; that ragged, little monkey man (with the haggard
little monkey dance), the one you see every now and then,
standing at that dangerous and dreary three-way intersection
of Rejection, Self Loathing and Unresolved Lust (some long,
dark knight’s errant quest for the Good, the Beautiful and the Just,
very possibly the reason he’s even in this mess),
a cardboard sign in his hands that reads
“PLEASE HELP. GOD BLESS.”
-Jason Ryberg, 2010
|The First Night|| |
The worst thing about death must be
Before I opened you, Jiménez,