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Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life

by Ryan Eckes ||
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brief history of my work in the arts

well i suppose it began w/ my 4th grade painting "devil in my dreams," for which i won a crayola dream-makers award (1989)
[i never really had a devil in any dream; just red and black paint on that day.]

following a ten-year hiatus which included puberty and finding myself, short story "such is life" published in literary magazine kalliope (1999)

[nothing in the story was actually true. i made it all up. such is fiction.]

james cranage poetry award for the poem "cursed with antonyms" (2000)

[a hundred bucks for writing a poem! it wasn't that hard to write. if i had a hundred for every poem i've ever written . . . ]

article published in psu publication intercom (2000)
[not really art, per se, (more like a clip) and i didn't get a by-line so you couldn't really prove it was me who wrote it anyway]

chapbook of poems as in published by feeling publications (2000)
[how do you know i wrote those poems? because it says copyright by ryan eckes inside?]

have performed approximately a dozen readings in the last year in philadelphia and state college, pa

["performed," as in "acted," compromised for the audience. i dumbed down my material because most people are dumb, even at poetry readings. i just want to make you laugh. most of my poetry isn't that funny. but what if i called it art? huh, huh? ha ha ha ha ha ha]

masterpiece runner-up: reclamation of public space in which a fellow poet and i vandalized psu campus by sticking short poems on signs, doors, soda machines, certain storefronts, newspaper dispensers, etc. (2000)
[we dumbed these down, too, but people still didn't get them. nor did the dumb cop who gave me a hundred-dollar citation. i wasn't too bent out of shape though because of the hundred from my james cranage poetry award]

masterpiece: "untitled" installation in which i parked my couch in a parking spot on psu campus and fed the meter for 3 hours (2000)
[there I was, part of the piece, and no one knew my name. no words involved at all, but people were reading. putting the word "public" in front of "art" is like putting "pubic" in front of "hair."]

smiley face is to zip code as history is to energy

are my words easier to read than i am? i believe i look like a ryan. the washington spectator, however, is based in new york. god's law or chaos. buckle up.

through synonym arrive suddenly, and there your small world, staggering but determined. be wary of political moderates. in spite of their inbred orientation, their sex appeal can be overwhelmingly balanced. at times. the headline reads: nation gears for a shift of power. is that chronologically possible? anything's chronological.

if history grew arms and legs we'd cut them off and use them for target practice. the present will be the past by the end of this sentence, returned to earth. dead, by some accounts. as the man who invented the smiley face and the man who invented the zip code died on the same day, having left their marks: i have one of each, perhaps for life.

i forgot their names. takes one to know one. you know the saying. we think in terms. and produce the evidence. yet when i made an exquisite corpse out of the trash on the ball field and left him lying across the pitcher's mound, dirty and all alone, my friends called me an asshole.
saving ryan's privates

go to dock street pub, expensive bar, downtown to pretend
we're not animals. piss-free environment. rest rooms, if you
like, in the back, at the end (whisper-thanks-smile). brewery
the signs read. mine is cancer. this morning's horoscope
assured that my sixth sense will come through tonight. 4 stars.
kind news after suffering second dream in which my brother
has died. first he was murdered. then he died in a plane crash.
i was there
. these happy endings often occur in real life. thank

. at the bar, there she was, the one, w/ someone else. you

mean bruce willis was dead the whole time? a young woman
says "the good-looking ones are always such assholes. that,
or they're gay."

go to a movie, stadium seating, to pretend we're not animals.
keep it to a whisper. it's russia vs. the nazis this time. tell me
bob hoskins wasn't born to play nikita khrushchev. who better
than ed harris as a nazi sniper. struggle w/ cause: dog tags are
thrown down. a face-off and it's not about symbols, not flag
or country. they know and you know. it all comes down to pussy.
greed, lust, betrayal, and the meaningful bullet in ed harris' two-
dimensional head. 4 stars. at the end, the russian sniper gets her,
lips locked like propaganda & history, matched up in heaven.
symmetry at the gates. this one will make it to the drama section,
piss-free environment, guaranteed in stock. i was there. i came
through, thank god. tell me i'm a good man (whisper-choke-tear).
we're all losers

name on uniform's back, the golden rule. but red like the golden gate bridge. enter hipoids who add new colors, or names for them. maroon and magenta. analogy and metaphor. for memory. enter nostalgia. dim light toasty night three friends talking every word possibly significant, clever, as any word can mean only other words. say stadium lights, kid. no more names on those jerseys. babe ruth only needed 3 for 714. look at those fantastic yankees and if it weren't for bill buckner, that fuckup, those bosox too. numbers are back. names are out like astroturf. out like a fat girl in dodge ball, blocking the score. blasts come from the past, late at night, a drink. oh, those were the days. let's take off our pants and personify our sports equipment. willie mays balks. another pitcher. not an itcher.
record review of a life

if one were to count the number of embarrassing similes in oprah's book club, would all the world's drama be able to compensate? quantity and quality are so jealous of each other they'd trade consonants. go on and use a metaphor. i won't laugh at you or at your silly word play which one might call "corny" or "cheesy." i eat corn. i eat cheese. i'm serious. is earnestness worth trying to translate if it comes out like television and my insides lose dramatic value? the power of love shrink-wraps my dick like a condom. nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a tastykake. say cheese you silly block of corn. i'm being serious here. it's sad about metallica. and korn. i change the station before i start to giggle. my mind is a collage. my mother carries the gene. it gives me a bad name, which matters. there's no power in being.
 marriage is a sham in any time zone

they're processing him at the moment, located next to the lobby in the orange pants, deserving the best. the bass line sounds sadder from this room, end of the stick. deadwood's most wanted poster my walls. architects endanger, in danger, at large (off the wall), under the table, then a left at the light, described. though likely hazel brown female white at the moment, uncaptured there. you just wait. court date out of desire, full of love and so much potential. "uncle ugly," the children tease in the tot lot. he's obviously wanted, perhaps by a self-salvager w/ mickey mouse tattoos on both wrists violating probation below her DOB, below her SCARS, and above the non-sufficient funds checks. aunt awful, the lord is my shepherd, i shall not want. but i've got a family. not to mention another OCCUPATION as cashier, short-changed by tradition's rhetorical fees. how do i look?
you look terrific

came across two flies mating season on a bench
facing the duck pond and facts

seeking reward for my work habits in a capitalist
united state of mind and montana

detecting instruction along the great narrative
land is my land is your land

dug until i reached the bottom sky line's the
limit for minor offenses or scraps

to transcend human nature's cons by modifying
misplaced pronoun agreements

having recalled what character flaw you played
in my dream sequence of events calendar

arrived at the illusion of progress road block trading
cheap drinks and lousy food that honestly

matching test

roots: think bodies caked open, testicles
exploded off. all those names suddenly
alone in a field where simple no longer
means pure.

but even the lightest image turns out sad
once you look into it, how finite and
insecure the body has fallen into place.
nothing at rest is at peace.

can i go back and change my answer?
going way back goes w/out saying.

if i'm a piece of history i must wear clothing
and remember my social security number,
which will continue posing for pictures
long after my death. pass it on.

what would you pay for a picasso?
ten times as much as you'd pay the movers?

and people apologize for the actions of their
ancestors, forgiveness a headless horseman
married to a numerical figure. reparations
a sum of representation, peace by piece.

the past goes way back, as modest
as a whisper, and says nothing, caked
open, testicles exploded off. books of
eager names prepare to make ends meet.

where do babies come from?

carnage and effect

the carnage, it began
stoning a butterfly to death
so life would swell

and it did, came out
as dislocated pain, essential
but not central.

days later tattooed butterfly
on a rocky idaho hillside,
independence day, spray-painted,

colors faded. crickets must
have been chirping in vague
afternoon. there was elevation.

and finally up another day
a smelly, killed horse,
legs dangling off back a pickup.

we shielded our noses from
decay's odor but followed,
squinting, wincing for

signs of guilt beyond
the funerals squelching
in the pits of our guts.
if you divide the world in half, you have a very nice pair of breasts

as a name walking a predicate
i can be blockage, a fascist
communication such as a street
or radio signal.

having only just recognized
the world's other side, forgive
me--represent circle w/ line.
wait for my mode swing.

don't nail me to a cross. i know
fines are doubled in work areas.
let me off at a warning. i'm
homeless & hungry--please help--god bless

in sequence, looking forward to it.
first comes marriage. once i lose
my teeth and can no longer talk
time should drop my body off at death,
not far past the point at which
the equator intersects the prime meridian.

the western hemisphere's surface
is flat, making sense count. this is science,
for now. my gin is my yin. my wang
is my yang.

a word's surface is bisexual, visiting
friends on weekends. my yang won't
fit into the impression both ways.

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