sporklet 4
Jay Winston Ritchie

(Five Poems)


Dumb Body

I placed my hand against the screen door

to feel the temperature of the air outside.

It was warm.


I left when night felt permanent

the way a letter gets pulled from an envelope.

The grass was wet


which was significant for vague reasons.

It was interesting just to be outside.

Looking up was inspiration


for the stars to do modern dance.

The one where they move

and don’t move at the same time.


I was trying to engender a gold thing

in the shape of a time and place.

May something two thousand something, when


I was moored to distance.

Contact was as thrilling as the fear

that I was having a general experience.





Under the football stadium

far away from myself. The demolition team

arrived before I was awake.


They demolished my sleep. Some giants

took a pair of scissors to the clouds

turned every threshold into a snowport.


There were auguries of a new living arrangement

between the italics on the drive-thru sign.

Some canned peaches in light


syrup on a sheet metal shelf at the gas station

waited patiently for transportation.

I wept


taciturnly meaning I was cruel

in the interest of protection

on a bus named after a famously fast dog.


Bubble Tea

Change was from blue to grey

like a slow-moving traffic signal on Neptune.

The bridge at night


promises promises.

Not your average video art project.

At the Eau Claire market


I pictured sound

like drawing fireworks with eyes closed.

Search for dice made of blue air


behind every sugar bowl

in every renovated kitchen.

Hayden’s Volkswagen


vs. The Small Miracle

Of Mass Transit At Night With Headphones.

Wait and see.



Water Tower

I held my hands in the shape of a book

and wrote a novel in blackberries.

They were the colour of night


in an advertisement.

I carried the evening

the way a deaf composer carries compositions


from piano to pit.

My opera came back as silence

after it went through plywood


which was the room divider.

Corrupt I loved watching trains

divide the neighbourhood into sections.


When I listened to my voicemail

and moved to St. Henri

I conceived of my body


as a tower of water.

Bad weather symbolized something

I was unable to fathom.


The fruit stand owner

thought the weather was appropriate

for sleeping I took his advice.



Flood Story

What I thought were the wracks

of my neighbour’s sobs

was just the water main breaking through cement.


Sometimes I think a part of me

was expecting the flood.

A big part of me.


The warning signal was loud enough,

we kept hearing the noise.

Every wave feels like a new wave


rather than a continuation of water.

I’m already sitting here

a hotel for minerals.



Note: The italicized line in “Flood Story” is taken from the Akkadian epic Atrahasis (translated by S. Dalley).

Jay Winston Ritchie is the author of the poetry chapbook How to Appear Perfectly Indifferent While Crying on the Inside (Metatron, 2014) and the short story collection Something You Were, Might Have Been, or Have Come to Represent (Insomniac, 2014). His work has appeared in Vallum, Glittermob, Matrix, Joyland, and other places. He is Assistant Editor for Metatron. Visit him online at jaywinstonritchie.tumblr.com.