This night, like any other lonesome,

wide-open night down here on this

mean, old mortally coiled-up world of ours.


These rather cruel and unresponsive stars

staring right through us all the time

with the cold, indifferent light of their million-

upon-million light year stares.


The empty, unfathomably chasmic spaces

in between them, between them and me,

and each one of them actually a sun

with some kind of planetary system

of its own, they say.


And for some reason (don’t ask me why),

it all leaves me thinking of that scene

in Apocalypse Now where Brando is talking

to Sheen about some abandoned and overgrown

gardenia plantation on the banks of the Ohio River—


     like five miles of heaven just opened up on the Earth

                                                    in the form of gardenias.


Weird, huh.

Jason Ryberg

Jason Ryberg is the author of twelve books of poetry,

six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders,

notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be

(loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry

letters to various magazine and newspaper editors.


He is currently an artist-in-residence at both 

The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s 

and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor 

and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collections of poems 

are Zeus-X-Mechanica (Spartan Press, 2017) 

and A Secret History of the Nighttime World (39 West Press, 2017). 

He lives part-time in Kansas City with a rooster named Little Red 

and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere 

in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, where there are also 

many strange and wonderful woodland critters. 




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