The Party & other poems

by Ryan Nowlin

As whimsy restores and replaces pathos (and vice versa), and as experience dips and fades into memory, what can we claim as our own in our real and imagined landscapes? Or as Ryan Nowlin puts it: “Our Ouija board/ use to score dope”….

The Party

I conceived a form of address which was
recessional, multiple, and open-ended
like a wall-eyed luminosity inset in the
wainscoting of rooms where Rhonda Fleming
had complete control over me. Did that have
anything to do with the moist brownies I had eaten
earlier? Ueberhaupt nicht, she said.
To contemplate a wall at which sick people
had for ages been aiming their spittle.
No sense keeping tabs on mere good behavior.
Too painful to go outside for the shifting white
of winter faces exchanged for the duration against
mirror of sky. A thicket of newsprint
muffled one’s attention.



Just wrapping up the old life here,
a new one about to begin.
You’re not convinced that I’m dead.
I thought in fragments but the universe was one long
citation with extended pinky. The conversation
shifted to something else. Our Ouija board
used to score dope. Right now I’m trying to picture
our mustard yellow driveway and the cabinets
that will soon arrive. The old woman who would
be my wife down by the river’s edge crouching
in the morning light ice blue but not yet frozen.


Starry Night

Swirling among the unreachable stars
but you can’t pick out any
up close, and you don’t feel the train
arriving on its night journey.

Wind through a skeleton has no story
to tell. Should the love object
be as patient
as sand?

She keeps you up all night
with the false rebuff
of her painted frown.

Daytime shadows of the world
were augmented by mysteries
each creating its own final cause


Ryan Nowlin, is a poet and playwright with graduate degrees in creative writing from Temple University and Library Science from Rutgers University. He currently teaches at a community college in Jersey City. Ryan has recently published two chapbooks of poetry which include ‘Banquet Settings’ and ‘Not Far from Here.’ Some of Ryan’s influences in poetry and theater include Samuel Beckett, Richard Foreman, John Ashbery and the Fluxus art movement. This is Ryan’s first online publication. 

Header art is by the incredibly talented fine art photographer, Diggie Vitt.

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