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Jay Ritchie



I want to take the shuttle.

Rhea hurls definitions.

I need to take more than just notes.

Pictures even time.

Take time, put it in your calendar.

O please think that I am a firefly.

O I can be a blue light in the kitchen.

Writing poems and feeling terrible.

Thinking of swans.

Chestnuts in their spiny green cases.






One day in the middle distant future I will put it down plainly for all to see.

Honeysuckle and a guard dog.

Red light from my neighbor’s shed.

Already vapor.

I might be mistaken for fireflies.

If so all the better.

O I eat tangerines.

O I listen to music from United States.

In the beginning there were two stars.

What Lispector did with the rose.

She can be counted on for that.

In the beginning there were two stars.

One for my future.

One for their future.

They got rained on and collapsed.

I love today so much.

Even Hapag-Lloyd shipping container.

O I make so much sense all the time.




This poem borrows a phrase from an image macro (author unknown) and a phrase from a piece of public art by Caroline Caldwell.


What it meant to be skateboarding
in the partying shadow of a tree
I don’t know.

I don’t

take advice from the Lululemon bag
Do One Thing A Day
That Scares You

even though I feel poptimistic

I don’t

want yoga pants and besides
There Is No Such Thing
As Ethical Consumption
Under Capitalism.

I read that on Tumblr
while working at the self-storage
dizzy with love and disappointment
like my past self in Paris

charging my phone
at the Mac Store across from the Louvre
searching for X on the internet.
(Later X appeared
at a flea market in Berlin.
It was so thrilling to manifest X!
I bought X—) 

but it’s always like that

truth’s long striped tail

moving just out of sight

dropping braids of synthetic purple hair
for me to collect in July.
I’m not trying

for synchronicity
or surprise pagodas
though I felt numinous
at the DMV

exceeding everyone’s expectations
like water in a Coca-Cola bottle.

In A Society That Profits From Your Self Doubt,
Liking Yourself Is A
Rebellious Act

I read that on Tumblr
under the obelisk at the Saddledome
where I learned contradictory symbolism
can express germane banking info.
I committed to an act of self-love

I bought tear-resistant pants
just in case
I’m not

a good guy underneath it all
being honest in discreet doses
to underpaid retail employees.

I’m not

one of them
and I never have been
masculinity wouldn’t let me

say I need help
so I built a rampart of philosophy
In solitude one finds oneself

even if what I found
was minimum wage
at Subway restaurants
in jonquil Cardiff

and that my work ethic attitude
is a poor excuse for personality
though I feel high
at a third wave
one hour in.

I can imagine a better world.
I’m a good fit for this position.
I have promoter experience.

Here come the horticulturalists

ending another kalpa
while I sit at the computer
taking every Vegas ad for granted.

A Truly Rich Man Is One Whose Children
Run Into His Arms Even When His
Hands Are Empty

Mark Bradford titled a mixed media
work I saw in Chicago
hungover in 2011.

I buy plastic
to feel normal

after running my hand along the Madison grass
searching for particular grass
no different from the rest
in a “concerted effort” to break a pattern

all the barking days.




Jay Ritchie_author photo.jpg


Jay Ritchie is the author of the poetry chapbook How to Appear Perfectly Indifferent While Crying on the Inside (Metatron, 2014) and the short story collection Something You Were, Might Have Been, or Have Come to Represent (Insomniac, 2014). He is Assistant Editor for Metatron in Montreal and tweets at @jaywritchie

Image Credit © Ashley Opheim