Ryan Boyd Writes Poetry

Old Media.

Real Estate

Tight and clean for the market
Or deserted on vacation or ditched
And given to moldy demolition,
Empty houses creak with being empty.

If I were such a home
I’d wanted to be flooded by a freak storm,
Colonized by possums,
Even hit by vandals, just for the company.

The Coin Dish

My dad, David, kept change in his
Michelangelo’s David dish:
The image glazed in the bottom had a blue
Tint, was blurred, but came through.

Quarters kept him decent—I would
Steal them for sodas when I could,
Exposing you, David, gentleman of slug-coiled
Hair and cobble belly, you standing tooth.

It’s risky to celebrate
Even a king’s things, let alone a plate
From the Wytheville Rose’s, but
Still, that cheap discus saves the date:

Dad gave me David before
I left for school, “Because to tell the truth
I never liked it.” Four
Months later a drunk friend dragged

Down and shattered it. Which was fine,
Shit happens. I carry quarters in my pockets
Now, clinking like—not quite a sign—
But a past compressed to silver chips.

Note on New and Used Poems

Hello all,

I am getting close to finishing my first real book manuscript (hopefully by the summer’s end), so I have been and will keep posting updated, final versions of poems that have in most cases already appeared on this website, sometimes years ago. As such, the reader should assume that the most recent posting represents where I want a poem to be–or where, to the best of my ability, I have been able to take it. The book, by the way, has a rotating cast of possible titles: HessiansLocal Boy, Special Envoy, and Roger Rabbit in Hell remain front-runners.

– Ryan

Delivery Kids

The Lex hit a shield of ice
On a bridge and kissed the guardrail,
Our bumper crumpling like foil
Ten miles from Hoboken.

The tags had expired
And cops would be coming
So Michael, panicked,
Took the packs to a near field

And sliced and turned them
Inside out, wiping
The last glister of fishscale coke
Onto the gray-toothed ground.

Two smirking troopers pulled up.
Damage was assessed,
The trunk unlocked and prodded.
They just let us go . . . .

We headed back to Philly in the dark
Worried and bored,
The bumper lashed with nylon cords,
Right wheel whining, eating the blacktop.

Last year they shot Devon in the ankle
For getting stuck up with the day’s take.
We’d lost sixty-thousand
In the snow near Hoboken.

An Interruption

Somebody rang the bell—

The surgeon, I ran downstairs,
Dropping my instruments;

The athlete, I ran downstairs,
Thighs clotted to knots;

The cook, I ran downstairs,
My red roast still contracting;

The playwright, I ran downstairs,
Freezing a divorce;

The carpenter, I ran downstairs
In a suck of dust;

The fevered, I ran downstairs,
The doorway slid;

The printer, I ran downstairs,
The galleys barely rattled.

The child, I ran downstairs,
My book a broken moth;

The lover, I ran downstairs
Swinging my skin;

Owner of the house, I ran downstairs:
A contract must have come,

A woman in a sundress,
Her story half and poorly told.

Somebody rang the bell—
I ran, but they’d run off.

Primary Sources

When we were kids it was a feral den
in the middle of town, an igloo of brambles
and berry-twang for racing
box turtles, penning
the dodgeball losers, a lifeboat
for camp-out torture stories.
Other kids had settled it:
we found their rusty Tonkas
moving in, a hammer,
strips of t-shirt tied in thornbows.
A hamster cage
of leaves, early fall got tacky
with exploded berries and quivering hornets,
winter did the snag to snow and cat hair,
but any weather I’d lie out
rehearsing kid stuff,
spot Mars, imagine wicked knots,
or plan a grown-up house,
another giant overturned bird nest
full of kids and rigged
with busted light bulbs—
for luck before the SATs
I studied fractions in its basket,
saw it last when home from school,
owned by people who hadn’t chopped it,
whose kids squall down the caverns
sour with mulberry, I like to imagine.