Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
So, it’s come down
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
A broken chair,
A bare mattress,
A dirty bulb
Swingin’ on the end
Of a string
In a strangely warm
Of February wind
That’s suddenly streamin’ in
Through a torn
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,
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),
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
-Jason Ryberg, 2003
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Little God Origami
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The Beauty of Things
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.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
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.
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,
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
in its logic.
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.
will break its chain
and jump the fence
to wander freely
through the dark, haunted forests
of young girl's dreams.
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.
will do time for attempting to bribe
public officials and
go joyriding in a '62 purple Impala,
returning it unharmed at dawn.
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,
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
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