Ryan Tucker

Ryan Tucker is a poet and ceramicist from California, who lives and teaches in Iowa and Illinois. He’s had work published in BOMB, Afternoon Visitor, and others.

Illustrare MMXX:MAY

Was that was went and wasn’t no more any longer into the dust on the doorstep
Stamped off or sluffed or carried into the carpet inside I personally no longer
Wear my shoes inside the house but my family often did and my mother wanted
Carpet the color of a sea I’d never seen something seafoam but the Pacific is deep
It’s purples and heavy things sometimes emeralds and jades and nothing light
Can pass through it too far when you think of the bay in Monterey you think weeds
Floating sixty feet tall with the fish and the crabs living between them the octopus
Down below and then pushing upwards and there is nothing ever someone could call
Seafoam and many many days my father would walk into the house with greased feet
And what we learned was the simultaneity that he forgot his feet and she wanted
So badly the perfect carpet in the imperfect life here’s another anecdote about this
When I was very young I wore a belt with a buckle that had a sharp edge and shortly
After she had bought her perfect couch for the perfect carpet I had been laid down
On the couch and I rolled over and tore a hole in the couch with the sharp buckle
And the hole is still there and the carpet is mostly still there with its islands of stains
Are still there now even as we’re speaking you and I right now right here


Illustrare 12:00:01

In the finite that rhymes with minute I am mostly wasted
Eyes slow with remembering how stark the open palm
Tree stands above the house above my grandfather’s trailer
With the pipe and sheet metal porch and antlers hanging
Straight downwards slipped into the gaps of corrugation
Direction is not instructive in dreaming there’s the tattered
Tree buzzing in the afternoon’s wind and Spanish-style
Porch below it is carpeted in the heads and legs of bats’
Dinner last night potato bugs as a kid always to be careful
Not to disturb the living ones and to feel disorientation in
Translucent leftover shells popping under thin-soled sneakers


Illustrare: Momentum

Not a garden not careful or placed there plants
Just outside my window someone else’s decision
Left for wilderness the branches fall from neighbor
Trees hanging over the fence dripped in ivies
Watching the trees one-by-one choked out out
There and I’m doing nothing about it even though
I’ve put the classic radio station on remembering
Maybe ill-fit Bugle Boys and a small toy boat
No there’s no Xanadu there’s a jungle in here no
How did they get the gardens to hang themselves
How do you tell the trees next door what a shade
Is and how in all the Earth does one find the worm
If one wasn’t born early at all but always cusped
Against the door with my hand cupped up to my
Fear of a near-happened revelation followed by
Of course Apocalypse but it never comes the Black
Sea was flooded at some point someone probably
Died because and another person survived telling


Illustrare: Phony Euphonia

To hold it as pain refrain from plainly speaking
Here think of it this way there’s an owl treed
Across the street from me and even daily this bird
Makes its small noise that isn’t a noise I understand
Isn’t even planned by the bird is just the sound
It makes I make inside this house some sounds
Too I make the sound of a pan on the stove I
Don’t make the stove and I don’t make the pan I
Don’t make the food I mix things together sometimes
There’s the sound of a bird like a hinge unoiled
This bird mixed with the owl how I know it’s an owl
But I don’t know the squeaking bird it’s preponderance
A hesitation to judge but one can’t unknow it’s plain
Again I said to gain anything even knowledge is to know
That what comes must again always be ready to go


Illustrare de Pepsi en Inanis

Misery doesn’t hide itself in mystery there’s no mist around we
Were and now we were no more all of the doors swung and see
It’s rust that does a door that way that disallows the simple sway
A pepsi can on the porch sweating sweetly until what’s sworn is
Never again another empty calorie never another umpteenth wormy
Feeling in between the teeth the caries coming along of their own
Desire misery is that the ache that comes too late the ache says
The enameled walls are no good anymore enough rust and it’s ate
Through and through this explanation we say to each other I was
Sweet on you and now there’s some other taste something middle
Of my tongue in the place they used to say was the only for bitter


Illustrare: Memoria Monstrum

No it was only sounding like the eucalyptus trees outside the branching
Out and leaves like melting commas every shuddering end a pause held
Above a small and silent limestone wall they built at some point I was
There too I’m sure because I’ve seen pictures when it wasn’t the creek
Would fill and rush and was mostly dry that’s what hush is the absence
Is the gentle turning of the slushie machine in red and blue but both are
Cherry flavors there’s something secret between them we can’t see there
While we sit on the wall and we are not egg-men and there are no kings
Except briefly in the shapes of dripping condensation as they soak into
That hot porousness