Lunatic Nocturnes

by | Jan 14, 2023

Hey dreamboat, slick with night. I remember you sad, between moons, statues erased by winter. We were on the guest list for the wind. Your voice the jangle of a toy piano. This infinity of skin is made for bullets, for germs. The tiny beaks of mosquitoes. Toenails of the dead curl deep underground. Gloomwounded one, we drop the needle and watch the black record spin.

One kiss beside the sanitarium before the red opera begins. The guards cut strawberries, piling them like small hearts in a bowl. We believe in air, in stillness, in blue pigments of desire. The gift of an eyelash in a napkin. I ask what you are most afraid of. That the world never ends, you say. That it goes on forever.


  1. Meg Tuite

    Ryan! Once again, absolutely entrancing reading and listening to each sentence promenade its own heartbeat! LOVE LOVE LOVE ALL OF IT! Send it out! WOW!

  2. Benjamin Niespodziany

    “Gloomwounded one” !!! Love how the final line of [1] rhymes with the opening line of [2]. We have dreamboats and moons and toy pianos and tiny beaks. It’s so visually driven and it works so well. Even the contrast between the red opera and red strawberries and “blue pigments of desire.” A melancholic ending, which I think works nicely, and reminds me of Simic’s (RIP) collection ‘The World Doesn’t End.’

    All that in mind, this feels very tender, like an open letter, or a reflection, or a dream sequence, so I think the “nocturnes” work in the title, but I’m not sure about ‘Lunatic’. Unless, of course, we’re nodding to Charles Simic again (The Lunatic, 2016). If so, I think a simple “for Charles Simic” or “after Charles Simic” would work beneath the title. If not, I think something more tender and loving than ‘lunatic’ in the title might pull at the heart strings a bit more. ‘Opera Nocturne’ or ‘Bowl of Nocturnes’ or ‘Heart Nocturne’ or ‘Napkin Nocturne’. OR, you could lean in to the lyrical weird, and have something like ‘Skinbeak Nocturnes’ or ‘Pianogloom Nocturne’. Consider sending this one out!

  3. Sheree Shatsky


    Hey dreamboat, slick with night … invites the reader in to this world like no other.

  4. Jonathan Cardew

    I love “the tiny beaks of mosquitos”–totally made this piece for me! This was a joy to read. I especially like the 1 and 2 paragraph structure.

    Great last lines, but I’m wary (at least in my own work) of not ending too “impressively.” Something more prosaic as the last line (with those lines preceeding) could be worth a shot.

    Enjoyed reading this!

    • Robyn Schelenz

      i also really loved the tiny beaks of mosquitoes, and the red opera and strawberries. the images envelop.

  5. Robyn Schelenz

    i also really enjoy between moons, statues erased by winter … your work puts me in a deeply meditative place ryan! it’s like music.

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