J. Ryberg

Cigarette Burns in the Sheets


There’s part of me that really likes a good cheap

motel room with a small patch of peeling wallpaper,

a few cracks in the ceiling and one or two cigarette

burns in the sheets and pillow cases, here and there,

maybe a couple of shady characters pimping and

dealing from a room around back. As long as there’s

a liquor store, near-by, cable TV and hot water,

then I’m good.

An Old Courtyard


A clock ticking in

a dead man’s room, a feather

stirred by a cool, damp


breath of wind through the

open French doors that lead to

an old courtyard with


cracked tiles, over-grown

with what, no doubt, must have once

been perfectly cared-


for flowers, shrubs, trees,

hedges, and even an old

water garden pond,


where a few frogs, koi

and an ancient turtle can,



still be found, lurking,

as must a pride of peacocks,

somewhere on the grounds.


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