Michael Ruby













The world is brown and green—and orange.  An orange quilt.  The gray shadow of a large turtle in the bright red.  Black specks—seeds—

weeping in the bright red.  Sunspots.  Fruit punch

                                                                     .  A golden bed floats high in the flames.  The green stuff inside a lobster.     Black puzzle pieces

                            .  The sun, in the upper left, turns the world to fruit punch.  Pure sun shining into a space, drenching a space.            Orange vanquishes all

                                                       .       An upside-down man, a seated little man, floats out of the picture.  Is that part of his tophat?


                                                                               There are triangles—three black dots with threads connecting them.                  Triangles falling in

                                                 space.  Two black dots, a line, falling.  Falling repeatedly.  A barbell falling.  A yellow beach

                                                                      .  A gray seated woman, a pietá without Jesus                                          .

                                        Black stars drift    down    the orange.  The shadow of something makes an incursion.  Rowers in the orange, pointing toward me, but not going anywhere.  A troop in the yellow                                  .  A gray triangle dissolves in the orange, and a few black dots drift down.  Three gray bodies (or shadows) in the orange,                perhaps a landscape.  The orange

  puts me to sleep.  An orange rash in the red.       Chinese.  Two black dots dancing at the top,               unwilling to come down,         unwilling to leave

                                            .  Close-packed yellow stars against the maroon sky.


A     maroon shadow projects into the pea green.  A black profile—of a man, a man like me—                                              backs away from the maroon    .  Little bubbles roll down to the bottom of a most cotton-candy-colored world. 


                               A cat falls through the orange.  A   white sun shines into the red from the upper left.


An orange I pulsates.                       Lime dots flash   , make  a diamond in the orange.  Lime blobs flash    in the orange—a real crisis—      the shape of a horse.  Lime blobs—epaulettes.  Lime blobs—moose antlers.









Close your eyes.          A yellow object     won’t come down into view.  Yellow rains down on black.                                   Starry night.                          Flickering stars at    the top.  An orange ball spins   in the lower left.


                                                                                                              A milky cloud.                Milky blue.  Milky blue clusters.  The inevitable stirring up and      settling of sediment.

                                                                                  A miniature white town at the bottom.  A plane zooms across from right to left, leaving a white wake.  The incredibly shrinking destination.

                                                                                                          Bright stars along the top.  Rays of light slant down                         to the left.  Light curving down                                 .  A white triangle pulsates in         the middle                  .  From the whiteness, black gradually emerges, takes over the center in a broad vertical band.  A golden wing trembles                .  White mist.  A head pushing up, never getting    far.  A flashing dotted line                 .  Orange mist                                .  The black dunce’s cap.  The black witch’s hat lovingly fills the center, out of focus, softened.  An island of light in the blackness—   the shape of Japan.                                                   Silver ammunition belts.  Conveyor belts           from right to left.  A white mound melts away.  White soap.  White blob, white glob, white gob.  The black silhouette of an evergreen against a faintly lit sky.  One of those huge-hipped 19th century skirts.  Bursts of silver bubbles floating up.               A ghostly

    plateau in the middle.  Three dancing kids?  Monkeys?  Tubas?


                                                    World after world of fur and flannel falls in front of my eyes.  A green    mist.                                                      So much tiny unreadable graffiti on the black wall.  The horizontal sunset through the vertical trees.  The small bright light in the middle                                         .









Close your eyes.  The world is a silver mist.  A silver spruce     fades in and out in the muddy black    .                                Upside-down white mountain ranges.      Reflected in a mountain lake?  A white rainbow partly swallowed by black.  A white peony blooms in the black water.

                                                                                A black silhouette, a profile without details.  Now my prayer is for a starry night.    Fur around the circular horizon.


Yes, the world is a silver mist, with a white flame in the middle      , a white flame growing larger, brighter.  Orange—and blue—and green.                 One light at the top of the top window.  The top of a   pointed hat.                       The crescent of light rises out of sight.  A glob of mercury.  Three globs of mercury.  In the center.  A slow drop.  A white O, pulsating.  Soon, it will take things inside      .  Or perhaps cough up things         inside      .  It is a store.  Everything.  The sun catches    a piece of chrome.  The only light in the black.  A glow, that’s all, a glow.  A glow of what?  A glow.  That’s all.  A glow.  (That’s the end, right?                               )  A glow, a small glow, like when one of the witches in “The Wizard of Oz” appears, or after she leaves.  It gets dimmer, it disappears.  Into the       black    .





Michael Ruby is the author of three recent poetry collections from BlazeVOX [books], and the forthcoming trilogy Memories, Dreams and Inner Voices (Station Hill Press) and American Songbook (Ugly Duckling Presse). He lives in Brooklyn and works as a newspaper editor.