Aidan Ryan

Zone 12 at Quarter to 6

The sun makes of feathers and flesh and fragile bone
– the physical bird –
a shadow cookie-cut against its rise,
Yellow, White-Gold; then Peach, then Pink
– then Tangerine –
and the sand-dust rest of the old familiar sky.
I watch a coach bus cross like a diesel eclipse
and when it’s past
the coin is wider, a fat two-quid piece
with its silvery corona.
It’s quarter to six, and over the sun even stand
the twin twig crosses of the Dublin Airport,
tremulant but triumphant, while a treacle-black
sparrow rests to drink
drippings from an idle engine and watch with me.
It turns away when the white center of the star
crests the concrete and melts it in two dimensions,
a sunstain.
The two crosses say
that in the beginning there was The Word:
John’s first lie.
In the beginning there was only wonder.
The Word, that came
when the bus pulled up,
and ferried me to Galway. 


Your Undivided Attention

You stood up
From your seat at the bar,
Looked around to catch a few
Eyes, and then you started into it.
Said something like, “I could solve all
The damn problems if only someone
Would give me a liter of Tito's and
Their undivided attention. Do I have
Your undivided attention?”
I don’t know who you were talking to,
But you probably didn’t.

Then, “There’s no spark,” you said to the jukebox.
“Newspapers, novels, TV sitcoms --
We get the same story everywhere. What
The fuck happened to the Hardy Boys?"
You asked of the Bud Light sign, tracing it
Backwards with a finger. "No wonder we’re all bored.”
No one else looked bored, only you.

Then you said something about death and
Put an arm around my shoulder.
“Tell you the truth I miss her,”
You said to my girl, with a look on your face like
When I watched the Sabres lose to Dallas
(I was only six then) “It’s uncomfortable,"
You said to the dartboard, feeling
for weaknesses. "Like I just want to sit
down, in a room with no chairs.”

I was about to say something when you lit
For the door, cussing out Morrissey.
“Somebody better hit me,” you said
To the a Zippo, flintless (you knew this already).
"Somebody -- hit me -- or we’ll really have trouble.” 


Aidan Ryan teaches and writes in Buffalo, NY. A frequent music critic for Scotland's The Skinny and co-editor of the poetry magazine Foundlings, he tweets @AidanRyan and blogs at