Jason Ryberg


It’s a feather from the wing 
of a naughty Halloween angel.

It’s the hot, boozy breath of Kansas;
early evening in late July.

It’s flashing red lights waiting for us at the end
of the underground Chunnel of Lust.

It’s the compounding absence that so often
facilitates the eye’s reckless wandering,

the drunken sleep of reason
breeding monstrous nightmares
and wicked hangovers of feeling,

the darkness of the deep 
Missouri backwoods after sundown 
and cellars in abandoned houses
on the edge of town.

It’s that high-test grade of silence
that deadens whatever meaningful
thought and speech that might
feasibly arise between us.

It’s the fabled philosopher’s stone in the soup.
Its bones hauled up from the bottom of a well.

It’s snow in the desert (like you would not believe).

We’re talking about kickin’ the front door in.
We’re talking about takin’ the back door out.
We’re talking a little “body and blood
of the Lord,” baby.

We’re talking dreams that sparkle and shine 
like a tinfoil sculpture or a Roosevelt dime,
like the Czar’s crown jewels, 
scattered and sewn 
out into the backyard 
late one night,
like seeds, 
like stars, 

so they might take root
and grow into whatever it is
they were meant to be.

We’re talking about that half-empty glass
of water you brought me

when you know I asked
for gasoline.

JASON RYBERG IS THE AUTHOR OF of seven books of poetry, six screenplays, a few short stories, several angry letters to various magazine and newspaper editors, and a box full of folders, notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be (loosely) construed as a novel. He is currently an artist-in-residence at The Prospero Institute of Disquieted Poetics and an aspiring b-movie actor. His latest collection of poems is Down, Down and Away (co-authored with Josh Rizer and released by Spartan Press). He lives in Kansas City, Missouri with a rooster named Little Red and a billygoat named Giuseppe.



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