by | Feb 3, 2023


This city, cerulean and indigo. Its cats conspiring in shadows. Its twisted, cobbled streets, filigreed with light. A city of vendors, shops, carts wobbled high with junk. All things broken and lost. Men come calling through the streets with ancient voices, eyes black as olives. Honey and bread and figs set on tables.
The call to prayer wakes me at 0545 saying that god is great, prayer is better than sleep. I am haunted by consciousness, by the pious cries of the minarets. They baptize me into the world of the faithful, the holy, a world I will never be a part of. For the rest of my life I will search for that sound. On the streets hives of Vespas speed by, secular voices of commerce. Exhaust stains the air. I am totally alone.

The Pilgrimage of Salmon

In America I had become initiated into the signs and codes of the middle class trance, the sleep induced by my status and prescriptions. Designer dogs, Pelotons, craft beer, Xanax. On television someone was always scoring a touchdown, guessing the answer. I found myself crying for no reason. A Nature Channel special on the pilgrimage of salmon, a baby touching its face. People were living longer, the heart outlasting desire.

Shapes of God

Wheels and stars and crosses and moons. These are the various shapes of God, elemental forms with which to signify the ineffable. Symbols to comfort us against the infinities of suffering. To ornament the chaos.
I find signs in everything. Faces in whorls of wood, codes in my coffee grounds. Every mad scrawl along a wall is the signature of God.
There are so many clues that sometimes I forget the mystery.

City of Broken Things

Every morning I am woken by the calls of street vendors pushing their carts of junk through the streets, wagons wobbled high with the lost and broken. Scarred globes, telephones, torn pants, diapers, shattered windows, family photos, doll heads, steering wheels, windshields, calculators, love letters, dentures, doors, scissors, trombones, tubas, toy pianos, strollers, samovars, antlers, alarm clocks, vials, syringes, candelabras, wind-up birds, barbed wire, oil drums, shoe horns, mouse traps, dried glue, glass eyes, prosthetic legs, condoms, cages, crystal, vases, suitcases, television knobs, bicycle chains, romance novels, shoes, bed springs, bells, busts, razors . . .
Istanbul is where all broken things come to find a second life.

Beyond Algorithm

I am beyond algorithm, beyond celebrity or status or name, deep in the loneliness of the city. Only the wind’s grim solo through the alleys.
Is it possible to be so unreachable that you are lost to yourself, seeking artifacts to remember who you are? This wallet, these keys, this box of secrets.


  1. Dominique Christina

    Whew! Oh my goodness how you language things is so rich with color and feeling. Your interior world is so beautiful. Matched only be your descriptions of the exterior world. Your depth perception comes through so clearly in the writing. You see more than what your eyes give you. You seem to have a gift to see into the meanings of things. It’s truly beautiful. It felt like I was walking with you; seeing with you. I’m SO glad I read that today. Gorgeous. ♥️

  2. Julia Bouwsma

    I just LOVE how the vignette form is working here! This kaleidoscopic view of memory is one that makes so much sense to me personally. Quick flashes, but each linked to one another to form a whole. Each twist of the kaleidoscope revealing another flood of image and sensory detail. All the little fragments of image that make up a memory. All the individual moments coming together to make a larger memory.

  3. Len Kuntz

    Hi Ryan.

    I always get swept away by your writing and this one felt like a symphony, all soaring strings and harps, then punches of percussion. It was absolutely mesmerizing.
    So many incredible flourishes. I loved it all and especially this bit–“All things broken and lost.” as it seemed like the theme.
    Just spectacular sonics and allusions and movement throughout.

  4. Robert Vaughan

    Hi Ryan, what a symphonic cavalcade of imagery, lists, brilliance in turns of phrases. Love how the city’s debris mirrors the loss and sadness in lines like ‘I find myself crying for no reason.’ That inner/ outer reflection of how even the most ‘mundane’ of things is somehow an attribute of the personal. Love the shards of existence that your work always suggests. Barely here, yet so fully alive, too. Keep it up, you soul searcher!

  5. Sheree Shatsky

    What an exquisite reminder to look deeper into what surrounds us. I was captured by the listing of items from the wagons, like scattered memories. Beautiful.

  6. Meg Tuite

    Hi Ryan, Your depth of language and your, of course, musicality, and the movement is absolutely deep, deep waters and waves of motion! This needs to be added to your collection! DEEP LOVE for your work! Exquisite and utterly immersive paintings! LOVE!

  7. Koss (No Last Name)

    Hi Ryan. I loved getting lost in the rich texture, the darkness and light of this. The headers, so adept, and shifting into algorithms and ending on a note of mystery and uncertainty… Bravo.

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