Portrait of Old Man Smoking Cigarettes and Drinking Beer While Listening to the Cardinals / Royals Game on the Radio, Jason Ryberg

for George McLane

A lampshade (looking, somehow, like a colorful,
wide-brimmed gaucho hat, complete with tassels)
hanging from the ceiling by an ornate chain,
its 60 watt bulb illuminating a kitchen table where
an old man wearing a St. Louis Cardinal’s cap
sits smoking the stub of a cigarette while pulling
a fresh one from a crumpled softpack of Chesterfields,
pouring Busch beer from a can into a wineglass
from which he sips between drags and fits of
hacking and coughing, a Cardinals / Royals game
crackling from an old Phillips pocket transistor radio
(21 to 14, Cardinals), and, over there in the corner,
amongst all the shadows and spiderwebs and boxes
of who knows what, as if it had been censored
and banished for merely trying to do its job,
an oxygen tank on wheels, an oxygen tank
that if it had a face, would have a sour,
disapproving look on it.

*

Jason Ryberg is the author of thirteen books of poetry,
six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders,
notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be
(loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry
letters to various magazine and newspaper editors
,
six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders,
notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be
(loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry
letters to various magazine and newspaper editors.
He is currently an artist-in-residence at both
The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s

and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor
and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collection
of poems is Standing at the Intersection of Critical Mass

and Event Horizon (Luchador Press, 2019).
He lives part-time in Kansas City with a rooster named
Little Red and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time
somewhere in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River,
where there are also many strange and wonderful
woodland critters.

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