Perhaps It Would Help If You Thought of the Poem as… — by Jason Ryberg


a hermit’s hovel of many mansions,


a shimmering silk kimono billowing

on a clothes line in Central Kansas,


a meteorite, suddenly fallen in your backyard,


a particularly toxic strain of word virus,


a flaring moment of clarity in the middle of a moshpit,


a tattered travelogue entry written in hobo code,


a series of lies that leads (ultimately)

to (something resembling) the truth,


a random, haphazard arrangement

of the 10,000 myriad archetypes of the world,


a sum of parts that is actually larger

than its whole,


an unexpected arrival at reality

via the unwitting disengagement from it,


a Chinese puzzle box or Russian nesting doll,


an open-air market bazaar in a lost city,


or, perhaps it would help if you thought of this

fragile little contraption of memes as a butterfly

flittering the non-Euclidian geometry

of its flight pattern through a forest of wind-chimes,

still glistening with rain from a brief

morning thunder-shower.

~Jason Ryberg


Jason Ryberg is the author of twelve books of poetry, six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders, notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be (loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry letters to various magazine and newspaper editors. He is currently an artist-in-residence at both The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collections of poems are Head Full of Boogeymen / Belly Full of Snakes (Spartan Press, 2016) and A Secret History of the Nighttime World (39 West Press, 2017). He lives part-time in Kansas City with a rooster named Little Red and a bill goat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, where there are also many strange and wonderful woodland critters.


Al Ortolani’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, and Tar River Poetry. His collection, Paper Birds Don’t Fly, was released in 2016 from New York Quarterly Books. Ghost Sign, a collaborative work, was released in 2017 from Spartan Press in Kansas City. It was named a 2017 Kansas Notable Book. His poems been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and he has been featured on the Writer’s Almanac by Garrison Keillor. Ortolani serves on the Board of the Little Balkans Press and Woodley Press. He has also been a member of the Board of Directors of the Writers Place in Kansas City. Recently, he retired after teaching for 43 years in Kansas. He’s sometimes trips going up or down curbs. He once said that if he didn’t laugh at himself, someone else would beat him to it.


2 thoughts on “Perhaps It Would Help If You Thought of the Poem as… — by Jason Ryberg

  1. Wonderfully done. I will think of it in all of these ways, and more. Great ending.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s