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  April 2007
volume 5 number 1
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  home   (archived)
  featured poets
  Lea Deschenes
  Jamie Asae FitzGerald
  Thomas KrÀmer
  Kirsten Ogden
  Traian Pop Traian
  Elisha Porot
  Ryan Tranquilla
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Ryan Tranquilla April 2007



art by jared barbick

    Ryan Tranquilla has been published in the Los Angeles Review and Spillway, and have been a featured reader at Beyond Baroque, Literati Cocktail, the World Stage, and the Redondo Poets. He is a former director of California Programs for Poets & Writers, Inc., and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.



the first thought to my mind

is usually a lie, or, better to say, a story: Officer, my wife, in labor, backseat, hospital, must. His compassion turns quick to judgment, though, his tone sharp as dentistry announcing, That back seat is empty.
The yards grass tickles softly underfoot, intimate as a housekeeper, a cool spring afternoon harboring a warm hint of summer. A day quiet as an empty house. I ripen like a lemon, sourness veiled behind a sunny yellow rind. I worry my days like a crossword puzzle, picking at each empty square for the correct response, the proper pose.
Late shadows scatter like mice. Ivy rustles on the vine. A house becomes a home when no place remains to hide secrets. What can a story, or, better, a lie, not tell us? Burn me in effigy, if its all so bad. Sprinkle the dummys ashes into the blue mouth of the Pacific, let the waves chew and consider until no taste remains.

copyright 2007 Ryan Tranquilla



Those Who Trespass

Little sins satisfy her the most: tomatoes, ripe
as fire, pilfered from a neighbors yard;

a shiny, three-inch nail noticed, left,
in the parking place; the midnight bottle

shattered without even an Oops
on the sidewalk. She drinks them in

as a palm frond gathers each precious drop
of water for its roots. In the basil smell

of summer, wasp season, guilt troubles her
not at all. An absolution meted out

in increments: a weed picked, laundry folded,
the washing of hands in warm soapy water.

copyright 2007 Ryan Tranquilla



As the Roof Leaks

Ghosts over the ocean,
black clouds rolling
in with gray fog.
Sugar ants, mosquito hawks,
scarab beetles move inside.
Earthworms litter
the shining sidewalks
at dawn.

On La Brea, wide-brimmed
black hats are covered
in plastic for the walk
to temple. Gutters abdicate
their water to the street.
Rain briefly justifies
this deserts verdant green.

Every night Orions belt
moves further west. Stains
spread on the ceiling.
I do as little as possible,
move as if unexpectedly
barefoot on broken glass,
harboring my bandages
for the deeper cuts of spring.

copyright 2007 Ryan Tranquilla