Category Archives: Ryan Bartlett

Musee Mecanique (For Angela)

secret sign in the cold, cold light

running fast to the Judah line

holding hands not to lag behind

fingers tugged just to get inside

tracing moons near the window sill

bag shoe biff asking for a meal

we’ve got food but he will not eat

we’ve got more than he’d ever need

your eyes change from green to blue

thumb war stakes mean more to you

let me win and I’ll let you go

let me win but don’t let me know

buffalo on the walk back home

your hair’s shorter than before

my breath’s heating up your neck

your hand’s warming up my hand

the way we came will never take us back

the sides of cliffs are falling way too fast

we’re chasing tracks

we’re making maps

Walk-in Killer

Hold my holy rosary

(turn out the light)

Jilly’s talking in her sleep

(turn out the light)

I can hear him in the wall

He is looking for a door

I clean my closet everyday

(I know)

yet it always looks the same

(I know)

Mom gives seconds to complete

what never will be neat.

Diamond Bar’s not far away

(turn out the light)

We just past it Saturday

(turn out the light)

We just left the house too soon

He’s snuffing up my room

Hair is wavy as the heat

(turn out the light)

His mouth’s melted to my sheets

(turn out the light)

My wall’s not really a wall

I’m not even here at all

Jack Clark hit it into space

(I know)

See the look on Daddy’s face

(I know)

See the lines left on my wall

that were not there before

Sweat is on my trundle bed

(turn out the light)

that isn’t from my head

(turn out the light)

Eyes the size of time and space

are sucking up my face

Police sketch stapled to my wall

(I know)

Matt just saw him in our hall

(I know)

He just opened up a door

that wasn’t there before.

Prince Carlos’s Poison (1568)

I keep falling down the stairs

especially those that are not there

Father said he’d save me first

but my best became his worst

Silent William, you had no choice

to fill me up to find your voice

Prince of Orange/Oh Prince of Fight

I’ll drink the day right from your night

Poison ends us all the same

Life is just like iocane

We choke loud on pregnant words

Ones that hemmorage do not surge

Mother, My Queen…Don’t cripple me just yet

just yet just yet

I could be your miracle

My brain reverses life cycles

I could darn your butchered heart

a broken clock turned brand new art

I could be your peace retreat

wind you back to be pretty

I could be all that you’ve reaped

Death won’t part us/help us sleep

I could teach you not to grieve

I’ve got clots no one can see

Yes, the blood we should not break

is the blood you have to take.

Father, my king…Don’t love us like this yet

just yet just yet

Uncle Rocky Rewrite

1987

I am not ready for any more acne. My sister admits it’s much more than malignant. She sits on Jillian’s twin bed, makes herself bewail to the Bangles, “Eternal Flame.”

-

1988

The Bartlett calendar has off-days you’d hope. We hear Sabbath from my neighbor’s tool-shed. His name is Neil and this is all he remembers for us.

-

1989

My granddad says a man is so much something when he has his own room.

-

Early 1990

Ryan, Uncle Rocky has AIDS. It is all over the kitchen, our bathroom, our living room. Hide your toothbrush.

-

Late 1990

Rocky’s long asleep somewhere upstairs, in the hallway, resting his legs for Man of La Mancha. Resting his limbs for someone else, he dances disclosed beneath a long hum in a playhouse room on another island.

-

2013

I still hear his summer samba as if it were a sonata, the crimson chords moving to angry blue. I still see him if I look away.

ICU

You took my brain

filled it up with rain

gave me a knife

so I’d leave a stain

on a piece

of your afterlife

one more night

-

I see no stars

in your aftermath

only death

without ambulance

only sores

in the sky tonight

for awhile

-

I still wait out here

in a plastic chair

I will wait for you

to get up and fall again

-

I just scream

when I cannot speak

break a laugh

when I cannot breathe

make a drink when

I need to sleep

for the night

-

When I dream

trees begin to shake

where the earth feels

its past its weight

you are my room

yet you overbooked

for tonight

-

I would wait out here

in a plastic chair

I still wait while you

get up and fall again

-

You tell me

Colton has never been

a place for happy accidents

then your sum took up

no more space

on that night

-

I have sons

and they learned to speak

in the air

that you could not reap

now the dry blinds

their eyes tonight

Go awhile

Stockholm

I don’t need you to show me you’re the one

I won’t need you to show me you’re the one

The moon is soft and low tonight

My mouth is soft and low tonight

I’m baking on a table just for you

-

You mend a monster with your arms again

You burn your army in my heart again

Your eyes are strained and cyclical

The fire is dangerous and small

The smoke is lovely when it’s hugging you

-

The man from Colton with the broken wing

Pumped all his gas then lit up everything

I lost my lungs again tonight

I lost my life again tonight

I was a massive parasite just for you

-

I was surrounded by the morning sun

I was an atom of the morning sun

My history is clear to me

My sons’ are way too close to see

I can’t believe we made them just like you.

kaspar hauser

some say I’m an angel

who ate his ugly wings

head as big as heaven

brains the shape of splattered meat

 

some say I had horseshoes

deep inside the womb

made with iron and mankind

I was not made for that shrew

 

you don’t know me now

probably never will

you can bet your henry

you won’t know me still

 

we look awfully similar

that means we’re the same

my face made all rivers

with a sweat confused as rain

 

my words are like digits

poking at your back

sharp as tiny mangers

I will be the death of fact

 

you don’t know me now

probably never will

you can bet your henry

you won’t know me still

 

I can be as curious

as a blade of grass

I can be communal when

my knife is spinning fast

 

some say I’m a liar

with my stocking low

some say I can tatter

all the dirt and feed the earth

 

you don’t know me now

probably never will

you can bet your henry

you won’t know me still

 

Gary Went Missing

Gary had a bad day

so he went into his locker

and he pulled out an old picture of a saint

named Francis of Assisi

who had all sorts of diseases

and thought people were God’s

animals to taint

who made all these

funny speeches about

miracles without leeches

and pretended he had never been to Spain

so he’d get all sorts of free stuff

mostly men and plastic flowers

that he’d throw away and never see again.

-

Gary liked the window

on the far side

of the kitchen

where the earth held all

its sunlight in his brain.

He would dance around

in nothing

hoping someone saw

the something

of the places that his saint

could never take.

-

Don’t be a sad boy!

It’s a shame that you’re still living

in the clothes that you first wore when you were born

made of your old life in the room that still surrounds you

where your angels always hang you at the door.

-

Continue reading

Tagged

Recovery

(A SERIES OF POEM’S INSPIRED BY THE RUSSIAN FILM IVAN’S CHILDHOOD)

A Letter From Tarkovsky

Massacre

is all

about

face.

-

It is

naught

without

analytical

horror

and may

only

reflect

fiction.

-

In turn,

a mock

life is

unwritten

for.

—–

Soma Sema” (“The Body is a tomb.”)

I invented

a liar–

ragged

limbed.

Little

Ivan.

-

My torso,

chine,

the

gross

of this

body.

—–

Attack

1.

The sun is

German

wood,

slivered

inflexible

in bulk

in a book.

-

Ivan is a

Russian

page who

can be

flipped

immovably.

-

His point

is made

for him

under

static

atmosphere.

-

His brain

dangles

from it

in a

dead of day

gully.

-

2.

Somewhere else,

as if

an old man,

he sits

at a

wriggly

writing desk.

-

He invents

the integrity

of the moon.

-

3.

Somewhere

the moon

makes

its own

brains

makes

its own

middle

makes

its own

sun.

-

Somewhere

the moon

moves

the sun

like

Ouija.

-

Somewhere

the moon

moves

Ivan

like

evening.

Continue reading

Tagged
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