Archive for the ‘Jason Ryberg’ Category

Jason Ryberg



I Swear to God

sometimes it seems like
the goddamn cynics and nihilists
and various other strains of nattering
nay-sayers of hopeless negativism are right,
that nothing really matters
in the grand scale of things,
that there’s no real meaning to anything,
as in nothing you do can really mean
or change or add up to something greater
than just a lumpy sum of parts.
Or, at least that’s the line of (quasi) reasoning
I use, occasionally, to justify and / or excuse
those days that come along every now and then,
when you wake up around ten or eleven
and maybe it’s grey and raining
and thundering out there, or,
better yet, one of those quaint,
postcard perfect / phone-book-cover-photo-
either way, probably best to spend
the better part of it in bed (just to be safe),
the shades pulled down most of the way,
some solo Monk or Red Garland on the radio,
a box fan blowing out a rough accompaniment
from the corner and nothing to do
but drink beer and write poems (maybe even
one about drinking beer and writing poems)
in bed all day.


Blind Dog Barking at a Train

There’s a blind dog barkin’ at a train,
a bloodhound with the broke-dick blues,
a scarecrow standin’ at a crossroads,
a radio cryin’ in a one-hour room,
a radio cryin’ in a one-hour room.

There’s a moth circling the porch light,
there’s a jackalope on the hill,
there’s a sad boy prayin’ for his luck to change
but he knows it never will, Lord,
he knows it never will.

There’s a ghost out wanderin’ the back roads
and two mules kickin’ where there should be one,
there’s a stud-bull rubbin’ up against the barb-wire
and a mean boy lookin’ for his gun, Lord,
a mean boy lookin’ for his gun.

There’s a preacher shittin’ in the backwoods,
there’s a senator pissin’ in the wind,
there’s a poet in the graveyard
whistlin’ Dixie in the dark
and something creepin’ up behind him,
something creepin’ up behind him.

There’s roosters crossed with hoot-owls
crossed with crickets crossed with stars,
and blind bats flappin’ in the attic
and black cats scratchin’ in the barn,
wayward sons gone for months now
and mamas done worryin’ where they are.

There’s a statue of a little kid
pointing where the money’s hid.
There’s bones in the trunk of a car,
bones in the trunk of a car.

There’s a blind dog barkin’ at a train,
there’s a drunk man laughin’
at a silver dollar moon,
there’s a convict crawlin’ through a cornfield,
there’s a record skippin’ in a lonely room,
a record skippin’ in a lonely room.

Saints, outlaws and street cleaners,
eagles, earthworms and butterflies
big shots, bagmen and nobodies,
you better know it happens to everybody:
No matter how I struggle and strive,
I’ll never get outta this world alive,
I’ll never get outta this world alive,
I’ll never get outta this world alive ….




The sky was the whole panoramic spectrum assortment
of Crayola reds, oranges, yellows and purples— a
piñata ripped wide-open like a giant ten-point
buck by the side of the road, soaked with
gasoline and lit with a blue tip match,
and we nothing more than madly
scrambling ants beneath its
hot and bloody grandeur.
Or at least that’s the
way it seemed to
me that



Jason Ryberg is the author of eighteen 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 collection
of poems is The Great American Pyramid Scheme
(co-authored with W.E. Leathem, Tim Tarkelly and
Mack Thorn, OAC Books, 2022). He lives part-time
in Kansas City, MO with a rooster named Little Red
and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere
in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, where there are also
many strange and wonderful woodland critters.


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from November 2009-October 31, 2010

Jason Ryberg…The Time, Being

Hosho McCreesh… A Dark Desperate Kind of Luck

William Taylor Jr. … Lives Like Landfills

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The hill has been taken
for the time being,
the flag reclaimed
and the first-born bastard child
of every house-hold has finally returned
from his aimless wanderings
and night errantries abroad,
demanding his compounded allowance.
And the priests and politicians
and insurance salesman
are quietly slipping out of  town,
and the future wives of upper-middle America
are planning weddings to men
they haven’t even met.

And the guards of the gated kingdoms
have nodded off at their posts again,
allowing Night and its whole
gypsy gothic entourage
to slip right in.

And the whole slapstick, tear-jerking
tragic-comedy of it all will one day be recorded
on the walls of the deepest caves
for our great, great grandchildren
to one day find and wildly misconstrue.

And all the while, Life and Death
continue their heated Mexican stand-off
in the middle of the restaurant
while the rest of us look anxiously on,
staring into our Denver omlettes and Belgian waffles
and tofu scramblers, hoping, praying, pleading,
wishing we were having our “breakfast anytime”
any other time than this.

But really, now is probably the time
to learn to play the piano,
time to lose those troublesome twenty pounds,
time to drain the bad blood
from the abscess of the family,
to write those letters to the editor,
to go back to veterinary school,
to come out of the closet,
to finally ask that goddamn waitress out,
time to do that thing (whatever it is)
you’ve always meant to do,

for the time, being what it is,
was, will be, won’t just wait around
for you indefinitely.

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