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.
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.