Michael Ruby


Blues Poems



                                 MIDNIGHT SPECIAL


                                                         For Huddie Lead Belly



Let the Lord work his wondrous stew

            & persecute

            & prosper among the heartless

                                                                        At midnight the mind

                                                                        places this light in the drizzle

                                    Special laxatives

                                    Special masquerade

Shine a light on the dikes before the morsel, the tupelos, regions behind our—

                                                                        On me the sand

                                                                        Plagued light

                                                                        roses of insight


                                    Before she comes the night

                                    operates without license

To see right is wrong, right is left

                                                                        The governor shows his fangs

                                                                        at midnight


                                    To free Zeus


Her man mapmaker


                                                                        If you’re taken

                                                                        to anticipate the lockout

                                    Ever images


In Houston the mews are tallest

                                                                        You better light a candle

                                                                        & hope God is there

                                    Do right to the petunias

                                    encircle the pasture

The next thing you know in this synonym

this antagonism

this salvation of the softer articles

this sessification of all things plangent


                                                                        Prison loves

                                                                        our very souls

                                                                        & won’t hesitate

                                                                        to commend


Let the Lord work his evil with our evil

Sunset to tense

semen to time

                                                                        Midnight rains

                                                                        on metal

                                                                        to regulate

                                                                        our sincere


                                    Special is death

Shine a light on the broken bottle, the two-legged resuscitator, all the mattered pantana

the flagstones to breathe

the hopes/harms to sugar

                                                                        On me the date






                        DON’T EXPLAIN



                                           For Billie Holiday



Hush now farthing



don’t explain the ligation



Just say hoppingale



you’ll remain froward and sound



don’t explain cinches



What’s there to gain blanched choats



You know to needle



I love you enologist



I hear harnesses

folks chatter parables


I know the diamond

you cheat horseshoes



Hush now dimestores



don’t explain resuscitation



Don’t explain amazing braces









            For Junior Parker



I heard the mandate covered with slime

You was parking on the median of science and sincerity

High to demonstrate the ineffable marketing

High as the difference between fortune and fame

Kissing another fellow breathes the meaty begonias

Another fellow implements the rational sutra

And you know there wasn’t any man in the true story

And you know how to crisscross markets

It wasn’t me ringing hollow

It wasn’t me before the Commission

It wasn’t me on the stork

That ain’t right to eat graphically

No no no beetles on the sock

No no no the reason for sex is love

What goes on needles

In the dark feeling

Fortresses will soon blossom

Fandangos come to light


They say sublimity

They say faraway to tell the police

You whisper momentum

Low elevators

Low psychic containers

And spending to pull up a precious egregious handful

All my dough bromides

All my tolerance a lashing

You told indiscriminate afternoons

That fellow breathes the horoscope

That fellow implements the evening sunshine

Things place the emphasis on luck

Things decree

You never told me to hesitate on the threshold

You never told me the border of neither hurts

Before dark

Before lemonade

Before onomatopoeia

That ain’t right to please the seizures and speculate against omen

That ain’t right or wrong, tall or short, thin or fat

No no no don’t placate the nostrils incense

What goes on inside the harpsichord

In the dark fleeting

Peaches will soon negate

Americas come to light


One of these days the search washes

One of these days we will escalate the imperfection

Just you wait and see the orrery

Just you wait and see the signpost interfere with destiny

Just you wait and see the beam explode into ice

Then you’ll realize the last snow lasts longest

Then you’ll realize the demand holds up

The way cancer digests

The way cancer sleeps

The way Rikers rises

You treated me to a hallucination

You treated me with sleep

You treated me greasy

That ain’t right blessed severance

That ain’t right blessed redemption of the fork

That ain’t right in the cabana solarium

No no no the matrix the Santa the costume

What goes on trucks

In the dark marauding

Lonnie will soon cancel

Images come to light






             BAD LOVE


                         For Luther Allison



Goin’ out in a rush

of feathers

Every evenin’ the wide world

up and down

I asked her XXX

What was showin’ in military theaters

ultraviolet splendor

She said casque

and soup

I don’t even know my days



Bad love works

Bad love talks

And misery eats the liver

I’m sick and tired of faucets

This secrecy blends


Came back half-electrocuted


In the mornin’ taken by surprise

the X factor

Her hair was the signal

metal shavings

A mess synthesizes


Her hips volume


Ashakin’ BLTs in the DZ

Shoshanna you see

She had on round nougats

Ixnay tar

A different dress brasserie

to fix polish


Bad love eats

Bad love tunnels

And misery eats the sac

I’m sick and tired of stem cells

This secrecy dust devils


Don’ wan’ the Caledonian eclipse

No mo’ lovin’ pig sauce

night brigade

She don’t even know the songbirds

thrice guitar

The reason why primary mercenaries

faint Finisterre

I asked her unambiguous doodle

toothless Suarez

’y she was lyin’ rightful grease

Tuesday’s bargain

And she broke righ’ down to the bare soil

solitary toystore

And she started to cry on the table of Worms

storms of chancelries


Bad love worships

Bad love whirls

And misery eats the swallow

I’m sick and tired of premium bananas

This woman’s secrecy impinges on the facts


Bad love homes

Bad love ropes

Bad love paces

And misery eats the word

I’m sick and tired of Morris sewing

This secrecy undulates


Bad love frames

Bad love pays

Bad love erases

And misery eats Troy

I’m sick and tired of brazen sorries

That woman’s secrecy darkens the spread


Bad love says

Bad love preys

Bad love sways

Baby XXX

I don’t want dumdums

No secrecy hams



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