the poetry that matters

Ryan Holden

Ryan Holden is a graduate student in Creative Writing at Arizona State University. He has poems forthcoming in Leaf Garden Press, Up the Staircase, and Country Dog Review. He received an Honorable Mention for The Katharine C. Turner Prize of The Academy of American Poets in 2009. He has received a fellowship to teach at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China for the summer of 2010.

ar-Raqqah ~760 CE

                        enact the recipe for a human
& seek a balance in the elements

                        work through the codes
five or seven or eight or

                        fire the metals in order
& with the blessing of Allah

                        partake in a man’s recreation
of genesis—a breath

                        first homunculus
steps away from its alchemist

                        allow scorpions
to whip the legs…

                        create a devotion
to the inwardness of purity

Wako 2005 CE                       

                        —computer in plastic shell
walking upright with a child’s rib

                        hold hands & reflect in
the black visor & recognition

                        how many steps before
woman becomes a woman

                        how is gender constructed
in molded plastic powered by lithium

                        see gesture see motion see
faces & the environment & lovely voices

                        & when a small robot connects
to the internet to expand its uses

                        a reaction of coos
gift realness beyond artifice

Philadelphia 1928 CE            

                         …spring-activated & restored
to write the name of its creator

                        & of a curtain drawn back
a reveal of sketches & small words

                        cams in the shaft in the base
in the memory—programmatic

                        the creator writes
the created & draws seven times

                        the machine language
two tongues & nothing native

                        inherence in the movement
of clockwork functions

                        & what message is left
on a sheet of yellowed paper


Prague ~1590 CE

                        a man molded of earth
little paper instructions in his mouth

                        how do you bathe a clay man
in the river only if he’s hardened

                        & then a measure of control
ink runs in water & fish eat the scrolls

                        or the river is his genesis moment
anyway—word   water   breath   power

                        a word infuses clay infuses
breath creates control & solace—life

                        & fish swim upstream
tongues taste directions in sacred script

                        a life a craft an eye
a breath a fist a cock a foot


Bookmark and Share