Some days even the dirty backsides
of old buildings have a sort of disheveled
and crumbling beauty to them
like neatly stacked heaps of scrap
with sagging fire escapes and cracked,
wire-mesh windows bursting forth
with clots of bird’s nests, here and there:
a small, man-made mountain range
piled against a sweeping backdrop
of clouds like drifting glacial masses
and the sky all atomic swimming pool blue.
And here, grazing in the foreground
on the south side of Larry’s Auto Supply,
looking like it could have been painted yesterday,
the bull of an old Bull Durham Tobacco sign
(big balls and all), recently uncovered, I’m told
by some old boy in bib over-alls and muddy boots
(with the steel toes showing through),
when the building next to it got hit by lightning
last month and burned down. Other than that,
he says, been a pretty quiet summer.
—Published previously in Outlaw Poetry (23 August 2018); appears here
with poet’s permission.
is the author of fourteen 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,
Are You Sure Kerouac Done It This Way!? (co-authored with John Dorsey, and
Victor Clevenger), was published by AC Books in 2021.
Ryberg lives part-time in Kansas City, Missouri 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.