Three Poems by Ryk McIntyre

Making an Unmaking

End with the start of the story. Begin to walk
your way backwards. With each un-development,
bury something. It’s easy, you just excavate graves
in reverse. Cover up all the evidence of every step
until your raw feet are rewoven. You meant for this
to be a journey where you would lose everything
you ever lost, safely in the place you found it
the first time; then lose it a second time by moving
into your past, into the time before these things
touched your life. Un-count every single mile

like letters read from bottom back up to the top,
as even the words recede further, back up into pens.
The improbably equation of you are is left unsolved
when your house returns to the soil, until you stand
in the open, unmaking rain. And then you aren’t you.
And then you are, but you are someone different.
The sky that fell lays out in the sun under new sky,
so blue you would cry if you tried to hold it close.
You feel you could pick up the shattered pieces-
clouds and all- and make of them something new.

The Moon is a Ghost Story

If I told you a Ghost Story
would you believe me?
If so, what are the details
that would sell the story?
Think what that exposes
about you, about the fear,
about that dance you do
with it. What is my face?

What phases do I wear, acting
out your fear? Giving it shape,
teaching it to walk upright
and proud in the moonlight.
And on the hollow-fear nights
moon means nothing but a minus
in the night sky, its white face
turned around, darkside backwards

the leering lunacy of my cold smile–
rictus of a dead thing that knows
it– looking outwards, not at eight planets,
but at the swirl of other skulls, floating
around them in a danse macabre. So,
look at any night sky and then tell me
I am wrong, that I’m not a Ghost,
already whispering things in the dark.

I am not a reliable map

I have never been any one place long enough to feel
home. I’ve been found so many times, undiscovered
every time, and made a countryside of ghost sightings,
a forgetfulness of years. I am not memory enough
to be stories, even the wrong ones. You do not know
my name because I have re-written every sign-post;
I call the same places inside me by different names
in answer to different questions. I do not keep maps
given to me, except that I draw all over them, place
mystery here, invent things that are not really there.
But I feel their breath and heartbeat both inside.
And when I try to give directions to lost strangers
whose only crime is wanting to know something
about me that can be fixed in space, rediscovered
the next time in the same place, I find I lie often.
I was born far too far away from whatever location
I began as, to be anything but lost. Should you ask me
for directions, believe me,
you cannot,
I promise,
get there from here.

About the author

Ryk McIntyre has been a presence on the New England poetry scene for decades. He has toured extensively around the continental United States and Canada, appearing on stages as varied as NYC’s New School, Boston’s ICA, Portsmouth NH’s Music Hall, Lollapalooza and the very first “Legends of The Slam” Showcase, at the National Poetry Slam in 2006 in Austin, TX. He has also appeared at countless poetry venues, festivals and house parties. He has been published widely, most notably, in The Worcester Review, Off the Coast, Short Fuse- An Anthology of New Fusion Poets, and Aim for the Head – An Anthology of Zombie Poetry. He has two collections of poetry: After Everything Burns (2013 Sargent Press) and The Man at the Door (2018 Broken Head Press). He is currently pursuing a degree, and a second life in Theater, having discovered, at 59, what he wants to be when he grows up.

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