Once When We Were Crippled

Once when we were crippled
by too many options,
we just weren’t ourselves,
but were too frazzled to see it.

Hobbled by the array
of possibilities available,
we staggered in circles
regretting our surfeit of privilege.

After torturous deliberation,
we pooled our meager savings
and hired a renowned life coach
to put us on the right track.

Our life coach prescribed
extensive simplicity and long-lasting sighs
and then asked if we could give him
the fee for the next 6 months in advance.

Suddenly exonerated by how
obvious and clear our next move would be,
we strangled our life coach
and got rid of his body

with an exemplary display
of cool-headed cooperation
that would have pleased and impressed
him had he been alive to see it.

— Connolly Ryan


I Now Pronounce You Man and Life

Fond of birds, he detests cities.
He likes to listen to the jazz of geese.
He is also smitten on the manner
in which seasons lose one
color to gain another.

He empties his heart
into describing to himself
just how it feels
to be married to the mountains,
to the dense silences they sustain.

A fool on fire with all kinds
of viable reasons to give up,
he continues anyway,
burning with the concept
of humility, if not the feeling itself.

Look how he watches
a tumbling ballet of leaves.
See how he confuses
their freedom to die
with his resignation to live.

Every movement he observes
transforms him afresh
into the unchanging man he is,
and for that, the entire world,
save himself, forgives him.

— Connolly Ryan


Impeachment Blues

(Tuesday Farmer’s Market Northampton)

Where in the world is the world
in which slowly enjoying an apple
and drinking the music of harps
conjured by a trio of tranquil women
in the middle of an autumn afternoon
is the norm?

When does grace advance
and monstrousness recede?
How does a big swaying man
bouncing his thrilled infant
make everything seem okay
when all signs point to ceaseless malaise
and the gnawing anxieties thereof?

Hollow yelps for justice
echo across the broken dreamscape.
Amoral gridlock punctuates
each baleful attempt at solace.

Crooked idiots in spineless clusters
sabotage courage and murder all efforts
to embrace the grim burdens before us;

and yet drips of hope
like plops of rain
on a scathing day
somehow materialize
in the form of a small
group of people remembering
what it is to belong
to the song of an apple
and the taste of a music
handmade by hearts
not destroyed by pain
but driven by the love
that survives it.

— Connolly Ryan