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By Jason Ryberg

Oh it’s all well and good
when the world helps a sad lady
get back on her feet again
and truly start to believe again
and laugh out loud
in the wide-open-like-a-flower,
sun is shining,
birds are singing
outside world again
and takes her out dancin’
and buys her drinks
and shows her the glittering path
to new and fabulous romance.

But, how does a fella
get his groove back,

his moves,
his verve,
his nerve to follow through
on the follow-through,

or, is he like a race horse
come up lame
or a ball player
that’s lost his game,
for most intents and purposes, ruined?

That is to say,
once he starts losin’
(and losin’
and losin’)
is he doomed
to keep on losin’
and with little hope
for some new precedent set
to stop his slow, grinding
wounded-submarine-on-the-side
-of-an-undersea-canyon-like descent
into the funky, foul-smelling pit
of compounded booganism?

And if (as some would say)
a man is his game,
his moves,
his groove,
and the groove
is what maketh the man,
then is a man that’s lost his groove
less than a man;

maybe a bumbling, buffoonish,
fundamentally clueless
BeaverCleaver/CharlieBrown
hybrid kind of a man,

a mildly amusing Charlie Chaplin tramp
or Giligan-esque court jester always good
for a tumbling pratfall kind of a man,

maybe a skittish little Woody Allen
without the jokes or geeky, boyish charm kind of a man
or a poor Little Oliver with wide, hopeful
kitten eyes and empty bowl kind of a man,

a “right away, on the double, sir” kind of man,
an “of course I wouldn’t mind
dancing your Cutty and water
over to you, sir” kind of man,
a “my lord, the Royal Chef assures me
your Hasenpfeffer should be ready
any minute now” kind of man.

And whereby and therefore (in accordance
with the universal laws of God, woman
and natural selection),
should anyone but this man’s mama
really even give a damn?

And once the “It,”
Which so vitally composes and contributes
To “The Shit” (which it seems he must
At all times and with supreme
universal confidence
believe himself to be), is lost
is there really any chance
of getting it back again,

any probability or possibility
of hope, left in Pandora’s
little black grab bag,
for a monkey-boy to be a man again?

Or, is a man,
once his spirit and stature
have been properly dismantled
(and the parts all sold for scrap),
best led out back behind the wood shed
or to an open pasture, somewhere,
and the fabled diamond bullet
of clarity put through his head?

‘Cause sometimes there seems to be
a mighty fine line between
the merely walking wounded

and the dead that just don’t know
they’re dead.

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