by: Ryan Collins
The complex, polyrhythmic music of Ryan Collins’ poetry hits the reader with a rush of images and bleak reflections. In these poems straightforward confession becomes straightforward confrontation and reversals are par for the course.
We don’t need another hero
until we do, until we need more than we want to be
in one place & astral projecting into another,
or trying to imagine ourselves into the place we want
to be from the place we are, for us the only place
in the world that’s not a coordinate, not a blurry
drive-by photo pixilated & streaming live in real time.
Talking real talk, kick-starting & peer pressuring
the muse until it says something beyond the thunder,
beyond the global positioning where want surrenders
to hunger & exhaustion after another failed hunt.
Blood in the streets does not equal meat on the table,
is greater than a song in an elevator or any waste
of attention—the empty calories clogging the signal
paths of our neurotransmitters, slowing reaction
time to a halt. These are how accidents happen,
how we get conditions like explosive rage disorder,
scarlet fever, Lou Gehrig’s disease, schizophrenia,
cancer of the everything & there’s nothing “fair”
about it. We should be demonstrative, should be
the courage of our convictions, should demonstrate
them with our bodies. We should be wired to charge.
I’m a Pretty Pretty Princess
We are all soon-to-be
Masterpieces. I want
you there when
I paint the portrait of
what will become you
in your prime.
We are all in our prime
the experiences now
our best stories,
trusty old saws snowing
dust on to every bar
we ever sidle up & hitch
our elbows to.
our minds thumb through,
smudged with gold
just as they appear—
captured, burned out
of time. Times we hold
like giant bouquets
of white roses we give
our former selves—
suspended & saturated,
always the pretty
pretty princesses at the
time we dreamed we were.
Ryan Collins is the author of A New American Field Guide & Song Book (H_NGM_N Books, 2015), and the curator of the SPECTRA Poetry Reading Series in Rock Island, IL, where he lives.