Jason Ryberg: “Passion Flowers and Puzzle Boxes”

Passion Flowers and Puzzle Boxes


Scientists and poets alike have yet to find 
whether certain experimental hybridizations 
of radio waves and silver go-go boots in any way
affects the erratic trajectories of UFOs.

Though, they now know that the geometry of fireflies 
may have some influence over the delicate symbiosis 
of communication satellites, train yards 
and Blue Turtle migrations.

However, despite recent controversial reports
there has been no independent confirmation
on whether the random arrangement
of orange blossoms on a city sidewalk, 
slick with rain, has any more relation 
to the performance of a North Korean 
featherweight in the 9th than 
a performance of Beethoven’s 9th
by the South Korean Philharmonic does
to the discovery of designs 
for a steam-driven engine 
written on papyrus.

But, one doesn’t need a steady diet
of coral calcium deposits or subterranean
cold-storage of arcane information
to see that a cracked engine block
is bound, cosmically, 
to a crack-baby found
behind a dumpster in an alley
(alive and doing well we’re told),

that beauty-parlor patter is richly infused
with important information regarding escape artistry,
living in the desert, the number “0” AND, 
stealing household appliances 
(specifically, toaster-ovens, it seems)

and, most importantly, 
that a strangely warm winter-breeze
witnessed stirring a light bulb
hanging on the end of a string
will eventually result in a brilliant idea
unfolding like a passionflower or 
Chinese puzzle box of infinite digression 
somewhere down the integer line 

of an, as yet, undetermined causal chain.

About the Author: Jason Ryberg is the author of eighteen 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 collection of poems is The Great American Pyramid Scheme (co-authored with W.E. Leathem, Tim Tarkelly and Mack Thorn, OAC Books, 2022). He lives part-time in Kansas City, MO 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.

Image Credit: The American flora. v.1 New York :Hull & Spencer,1855. Image courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

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