Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ryan Murphy


I do not want to stay
Or say

The birds fog in
Like Tyvek flapping
From scaffolds.

The bare spring trees,
I peel the label off

Carefully, carefully

Take a tranquilizer
The landscape regains dimension.

The men in their demolished
Sheetrock rooms.


Autumn is for bells
And sagging ceiling plaster.

Oars plough wake:
Warn and victim we.

I am afraid to die
But RJ Reynolds whispers I’m not
And dying I believe him.

This is not the same as weeping for a cat’s mortality.

Dear ,

I would like to tell you that making people from words is not the act of a tubercular child in an attic with construction paper. Worth and companionship. Is not lonely. That they are more than parts of speech. My friends might say otherwise, but fuck them, what do they know. That it is, and has been, worth it I would like to tell you. I wrote and wrote and the words began to fall off.

Dear ,

The benches for the infirm and the insane. I watch for a flash of pink on Broadway, what you wore when you left, but the men on the bench zip their jackets to their chins, read paperbacks through stacked pairs of glasses. I thought you would pass on your way north. Or I chose the wrong route, the wrong time, the wrong day.

Blooms early this city
And we are like that.

Leaves black in the sun.

This is the hieroglyph of the sheets in my skin upon waking.
And thus I wrote this to you in the dark.


It’s true, the spokes of a wheel only appear that way when they're spinning. Commuter trains are terrible in every way. We name the stations for our friends, or our friends for the stations--I forget which, it doesn't matter now--it is better living on a real island now. Geographically speaking. Since it has always been this way anyway. Is it more important to be remembered right, or to see the flames lick the gunwales? Is it always the perspective of the mourning? I never said these things:

That boy is dead.
And who is left to write letters to?

The rain that makes your hair grow.

Ryan Murphy is the author of Down with the Ship from Otis Books / Seismicity Editions. His second book, The Redcoats, is forthcoming from Krupskaya. He has received awards from Chelsea Magazine and The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art as well as a grant from The Fund for Poetry. He is an editor for Four Way Books and teaches at Pratt Institute. He lives in New York City.