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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 13: May 2022
Poem: 161 words [R]
By Jason Ryberg

The Sudden Appearance
of Giuseppe, the Billy Goat

And here’s Giuseppe, the billy goat, 
just now marauding his way onto the scene: 
horn’d brow set in permanent hung-over scowl 
above a fiercely territorial boogan glare, 
mouth mechanically masticating on a clump of grass 
like it was a big, fat wad of chaw; 
a low-hanging storm cloud of pissy indignation 
and simmering violence slowly cutting a broad swath 
through the gossiping gaggle of chickens, 
indifferent to their idiot jibber-jab 
and their blustering bully-boy 
alpha-rooster chaperones, as well 
(shiiiiiit, those prissy, puffed-up pea brains 
wouldn’t even dream in their deepest, 
most recessed rooster dreams 
about taking a shot at him) for he is 
the one, true and rightful king 
of this little bump of a hill 
on this little farm just outside Salina, KS. 
Out of some genetic sense of reverence 
and respect, no doubt, 
one is automatically moved 
to cover the family jewels 
whenever he passes. 


—First published in Ryberg’s book Head Full of Boogeymen / Belly Full of Snakes (Spartan Press, 2020) and reprinted in Evening Street Review (Number 30, Summer 2021); appears here with poet’s permission.

Jason Ryberg
Issue 13, May 2022

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.

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