voices out of the West, mostly poetry, personal to planetary...

JB Bryan

Albuquerque, New Mexico


JB Bryan is painter, poet, potter, letterpress printer, occasional saxophonist, retired publisher of La Alameda Press, former bookseller at Living Batch Bookstore, and ex-graphic designer. He was educated in Iowa, British Columbia, New Mexico, and California, formally and otherwise. As a 35-year plus semi-native of Albuquerque, he and family have a funky but lovely existence in the North Valley celebrating the vernacular wabi-dada style. New paths lead to geo-archeology and material research as to the inherent qualities of clay and its human interaction.

Dragon Painting

by JB Bryan

      using a brush made of chicken feathers

                       using a brush tied with roadkill deer fur

     at my age i have slight worry for spiritual intangibles

              i’m more concerned with luck or consequence

        the distance between things & words or pictures


                     the phase of looking at myself is over

                i feel my hand making a picture

                                black swipes of loaded skunk hair

                          flying white turns into rat fink chortle

                    leaping dragon startled by clairvoyance


                               charmp gluk chomf chonk yatz PWANG!

                      jackrabbit eyes, buffalo ears

                              the abdomen of a weird turtle

                 old cougar paws & talons of eagle

                            transformed into some terrible cloud snake


         long nose, bulging eyes, gaping mouth, huge teeth

                        tight chin of concentrated intensity

         eyebrows like tentacles of an unrestrained squid

                     obsidian eyes set off by a twisted ruby mouth

                          furrowed wrinkles carve its loony face


             neither god nor goddess nor theological system

                   won’t answer anyone’s prayer

       at my age i am an incorrigible mojo slut

            i only desire positive energy singing me into dance

                        i follow the corpse road of enlightenment


               may the flaming pearl be my joyous difficulty

    some say the universe is divided by writhing curlicue

                  its center a grid shift of auspicious fortune

                         i am not from this straightforward place

          i’m banned from galleries & crossed off most lists


       the dumb flatness of this world finds me quarrelsome

                i rarely tell anybody about my private life

                          dragons make themselves as gargantuan as a storm

               or small as a sowbug beneath a rock

                   become evanescent & disappear in a blink


             the first dragon filled the hole in the sky

                       everywhere i wander i find only plumage

                             i live in a remote province

                     i refuse to explain why i live the way i do

           the literary world has no need of more confessions


  the dragon’s head shrinks backwards before it pounces

                     zigzag motion as progress & opportunity

          one moment you think you see me then—

                                                              zippity zap

           i fly through the canvas into a space of distant hills


               truth be told— i start again each morning

                    dip my brush until i am present in its tip

                               provoke pigment into fire or rain

                         old painters & their worn brushes

                                       inagaddadavida is a non-commercial project, an online anthology, to share a poetic vision of the land we love.

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