This house

never recovered from the storms of ’93
when lightning stroked shingles, shorted out circuits;
left one side wind blown and sagging.

Tufts of moss sprout from the bowed memory
of taut boards. A plague of crickets
lurk beneath stairs; creaking their arthritic chatter.

From a threadbare recliner in a ramshackle room
I gaze over fields at a familiar view,
distorted by windows now broken and rheumy.

Ryan Stone

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Cat Lady

Some are named for children,
taken by the government.

Others, after the glittering stars
who litter her magazine carpet.

A patchwork blanket in settling frost
to warm her hibernation.

If you saw them that way – cats and their lady –
you’d never guess what they’d do to survive

through all the long weeks as mail piles,
high enough for someone to notice.

Ryan Stone

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Days

Sometimes she’s wildfire, burning through the night;
some days she’s a winter storm, ice and fury unleashed.

Sometimes she’s a shadow, neither fully here or really there;
some days she’s untamable, wild as rolling seas.

Sometimes I hold her close, as the world starts coming undone;
some days we fit together and I feel that I belong.

Ryan Stone

Click here for audio

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Death in Suburbia

Sometime past lunch,
when the housework is done,
a translucent lady
sheds her husk. In her mirror,
if she turns just so, the tricksy sun
cajoles grey to gold; teases
with wistful strokes.

Like a vodka-chased pill
she slides down a rabbit hole
until fingers feel
almost like strangers.
With a methodical parting,
functional probing,
she dies another small death.

Ryan Stone

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Stillborn published in Red River Review

I’m so happy to see my poem, Stillborn, published alongside some truly excellent writing in the August edition of Red River Review.

Please have a look if you have some time, there is some really great poetry this month. Click on the August 2017 link at the top of the page – Red River Review

Friday afternoon has just rolled in to Melbourne, Australia – I wish you all a wonderful weekend when it makes it to your individual part of the world.

RS

Wedding Poem

– for Kara & James

It’s a fleeting moment–
a red sky at twilight,
rushing to the long night;
the last russet leaf
clinging to bough
as autumn inhales,

breathes out.

You know this, you’ve felt it
in the grey light of dawn,
in that pause
between waking and finding.
You’ve heard it whisper
through the dry grass
of summer–a promise
tossed on the wind.

Yesterday’s smoke
blows over fields,
tomorrow hides
inside dreams.
This hand in your hand
is the one, the only
true kingdom

under the sun.

Ryan Stone

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In Passing

After all the years, the heart-shaped promises,
linked pinkies, a Ponts des Arts love lock
one Spring, it has come now to this –
a sterile room with its too-small-for-two bed,
plastic flowers, faint smell of urine.
She stands bedside, stroking and humming,
remembers spooning one night by the sea.
The setting sun caresses white hair,
tremors become twitches,
become silence.

Ryan Stone

Paradigm Shift

I’m not an iceblock. I’m not a teardrop,
mooching around your Long Island Iced Tea.
I’m not chasing dreams, dreaming of Jeannie;
I’m not slowing for one more whistle stop.
I’ve never bridged sighs, I don’t island hop;
I’ve not tasted the free airs of Heaney,
nor held a heart that, like some Houdini,
didn’t vanish with a barbaric yawp.
I have set no flame within love’s hearth
that didn’t burn that shantytown down.
At night, I am king; come morning, uncrowned-
I walk in as Luke, am forced out as Darth.
Rivers are rivers, regardless of flow:
O, stone, be not so; O, stone, be not so.

Ryan Stone

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Dying Light

From my porch
I watch thunderheads
battering high noon
into bruised twilight.
I see you climb
from under eaves,
awakened
by a pressure change.
As the storm inhales
you leap and spin,
leap and spin
your web — knowing
your time to build
is fleeting.

Ryan Stone