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Many poems by Ryan Collins

Stroop Effect

I wouldn’t know anything about it
Except what I’ve seen in movies,
On the internet. Everyone is on
The internet somewhere, but who’s
Watching? I am, in the witching
Hours, working hard to appear hap
Hazard. Here I demonstrate the re
Action time involved in telepathy,
A pressure wave planting an image
In your mind, the way I learned
By watching movies, the way we
Learn everything these days. Tell
Me nice shirt & watch me back into
The compliment the way one sits
On the john. We tip toe round all
This shit with feather-light steps
Saving the best magic tricks for our
Selves, watching ourselves in reverse.

[Be sure to eat your fruits & vegetables.]

Be sure to eat your fruits & vegetables.
You need all the carbohydrates
You can get. You have miles to go.
Tomorrow you will be too tired
To recognize your own frozen hands.

All of your instruments are failing.
Climb back down from cruising
Altitude, New American. Brake.
Find a vessel ripe to circumnavigate
The globe, find your reflection
In ancient ice. If you cannot find
The ice, how will you find your face?
When you see yourself again
Remember to savor the scraps,
The eight hours sleep, the clean shirt.

I Hope the Exit is Joyful

Sing away the ghosts. The ones you keep
Inside close your throat before a name
Escapes. Sing until the last, sing with half
A breath, until the people left over can’t
Help singing along with your choked voice.

The two and the four thump away on deaf
Ears. This fight a fight that can’t be won
With force. We have gone as far as imagin-
Ation allows. Some of us shelter too much,
Hide & obsess over germs, stranger danger.
Others step too close to the canyon’s edge,
Forgetting to account for wind velocity &
Concede mercy to nature. The exit clearly
Marked, New American—our deaf ears no
Excuse. All doors empty into a single room.

To Want to Start Backward

there is something oceanic inside you vast
awe manifest a weather vane flicker behind
your eyes wings beating over an infinity of
water curving outwards the return of sound
waves mapping what your eyes cannot see
yet impatience does not mind the flight has
nothing to do but wait you arrive later than
you think you berate the nothing like a star-
ving dog & slap & slap an echo of each slap
pulses through air mapping the oceans inside

Ryan Collins is the author of a chapbook, Complicated Weather (Rock Town Press) & an e-chapbook, Handshake Trouble (Gold Wake Press). Some of his recent work has appeared in Spittoon, Leveler, Knock, H_NGM_N, Jellyfish, LOCUSPOINT & Handsome. He lives in the Illinois Quad Cities.