Ryan Nowlin

Winter Light

The clouds have their old soft boiled egg look back,
drifting over promiscuous buildings anyone can have
their way with. Grammar, we’ve lost grammar. It fell
away. To reconstitute add water. Or the unspeakable
mystery when our mothers met for the first time the men
who would be their lovers. What failed to be conjured,
reality delivered with a shrug, murmuring bingo. This is how
we are made. I would be caught up in planning a future
but then get excited about something provincial, a new car.
The slow asphyxiation of light in November. I was experimenting
with things. They were fine, though I couldn’t keep track of them.
A tray of books was placed next to me. I read them all
though I owed nothing to the present moment.

Countenance of the Sky

The kids are gone and all their sweets are gone!
Avenue A is O.K. so near to me, quick. Jack Robinson.
My work on keyboard and harmonium.
Sad Eyed Lady.

More urgently, what are you eating? Gilded croissants.
I woke up late. A galaxy of junk, far corner of the room.
Bottles I drank from back then. I lost an old friend.
Here she is again, in the margin of a dream. Sudden newness

of skin, otherwise ordinary blue streaming above, beyond
fiction. The reading eyes cross the black river
where the young congregate among resounding thuds
of balls. The moon adores the courtyard. What a comic

hornet flashing forth at the right moment.
Rapping at the gate goes unnoticed
but the beleaguered vines finally
catch a break.



Laura would often say
“LOL my apartment
is an enlightenment club”

Heat filled the foyer
and the toaster
shot bread at the ceiling

But those happiness drops
were not
had never been—
ours to sample

Complicated strata of meanings
were compiled, from plastic tooth mug
to sudden breath of clouds

The stillness between trees
hoping to find a minute
to think


Certain sorceries
to be disposed of

The earth was unmoved
the sky continued
do not repent

No revival of intimacy
since we were never


The merry-go-round
with Rhinemaidens
was angry

A dream of being and becoming—
the unity of the two—
the dialectic


Dichondra surrenders
to rain. Spectacle of tower
indicative of a show

Suddenly I’m exhausted
listening for somewhere
to go

Hang a left, sidewalk ends
a voice said stop — evidence
of an axis of X-es


Years later you blinked
a single blink — Laura
her fishlike iridescence

A past visitation
the flies have nibbled
and moved on


Tomorrow on the planet Amor
the sun slunk back
in its socket

Book within reach but six words
are too many. A noted precipice fell
away. I wasn’t sorry.


Silhouettes speckled with growths
of calcite or cave popcorn
teardrops attenuated

This palimpsest of emptiness
troubling your theory
of flowering

Did you mean once
as in upon a time
or one time only?

My too short sabbatical
was made even less remarkable
by glimpses of obscure forms


Yellowing paper on my desk
two aloe plants, head
of an evening moth

When did the cul-de-sac
become something to cross
at night along with other

streets? The week
should have a buffer day
for an unbalanced tea


Improbable face of
a moving point then
mid-day stillness

I wonder why my eyes
have opened
in this particular place

I wait for developments
whether to count my blessings
or heap up batteries


Should the love object
be as patient
as sand?

She kept you up all night
with the false rebuff
of her painted frown


I can’t give you the exact address
of my building but it’s under a dome
enclosing the entire state

Not funny. Transients broadcast
endless apologies for life. A bug
walked across a wrinkled magazine

Ryan Nowlin received his MA in creative writing from Temple University in 2004 and his MLIS from Rutgers in 2011. His concentration was in post-modern American poetry and 20th century Modernisms. For the past few years he has been an active participant in the Poetry Project at St. Marks in the Bowery. He currently lives in NJ and teaches as an English Adjunct at Hudson County Community College in JC. Recently poems of his have appeared in Sal Mimeo, The Delineator, Periodic Postcard and the online publications, Boog City and Across the Margins as well as the anthology/photography book, Like Musical Instruments: 83 Contemporary American Poets (Ed. Larry Fagin & John Sarsgard). He has published two chapbooks, entitled Banquet Settings and Not Far From Here. Kugel is his first full length collection of poetry.

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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.

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