Sometimes the Moon is Nothing
More Than the Moon
Sometimes the moon comes down
(if she happens to be in town)
from her royal couch of clouds
to drink with us (my shadow
and me) when no one else will.
Sometimes the moon rings like a temple bell
on a brittle, breathless, freeze-dried night,
signaling the beginning (or maybe the end)
of something important and radiates
with a halo of steam like a luminous
ball of dry ice.
Sometimes the moon is a curved dagger
that some Bedouin bandit prince
might have brandished in the blue and grainy
late, late show of my childhood dreams.
Sometimes the moon is a white rose
that drunken fools inevitably try
to shoot arrows and poems at,
knowing full-well that both return
to Earth with potentially dangerous results.
Sometimes the moon is a pallid face
peering in at us through a Winter window scene
while the radio begins to glow with a moody
Ellington Indigo and a car down on the street
is struggling to clear the early frost from its throat.
Sometimes the moon is a cop’s
flashlight cutting a cautious path through film-noir ghosts of gutter steam.
Sometimes the moon is a 60-watt bulb
shining from the back porch,
out into the sweaty, firefly-infused,
backyard jungle nights of long ago.
Sometimes the moon is a guard tower spot,
always trying to catch us with its magic lasso
whenever we make our midnight raids, over the walls,
into the Garden of Earthly Delights.
Sometimes the moon is a silver dollar
that’s been sheared in two by a dull
and rusty pair of tin snips.
Sometimes the moon is a shiny dime
flattened on a railroad track,
in which, if one looks just right,
a semblance of Roosevelt’s confident
and reassuring smirk can still be seen.
Sometimes the moon is a fat, blue
androgynous Buddha, grinning out
at the universe in every direction at once.
Sometimes the moon is a single bright eye
of a dark god of the ancient world,
peering down at us through a hole torn
in the top of a circus tent of clouds,
or up from an inversely alternate underworld
through the dimensional portal
of a swollen, marshy pond.
Sometimes the moon is nothing more
than the moon.
That’s never true.
About the Author: 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.