Ryan Rader

God, Madness, Everything

I need to know God, madness, everything—
to learn the proper funeral etiquette—
a passion that exists only in foreign films.
There is a space within all museums
for every patron to hold his or her breath,
and mine is the marble staircase—
the centuries of struggle it represents,
and how it ascends despite its age.
My moments spent on escalators
put the fear of flight in my gut.
Each night splayed in gutlessness
speaks volumes about my integrity.
I wish I could be a Tibetan monk,
constantly burning for a cause.
Every time I witness the impossible
I remember why I wear sunglasses.
The mouse that lives in my floorboards—
—we’ve swapped a few knowing glances.
Rodent to rodent and tenant to tenant,
I prefer to stay inside and scrub the walls
until they look like washed-out sunsets.
A picture is worth two syllables
born in a flash and printed on plastic.
A picture is a moment caught inside
a closet stuffed with nostalgic shoeboxes.
What is this worth to you? I find
the act of self-worship so addictive
I’ll never pine for the thrill of martyrdom—
I’ll swim in the blues of holy solitude,
speaking for no one but myself,
screaming at no one in particular,
mumbling in interruptions and riddles,
the language of God, madness, everything.


Ryan J. Rader is a native Hoosier with a B.A in being a B.A, nahmean? More poems like this, as well as poems that are not like this, can be found in Stoked! Magazine, Robot Melon, and Specter Magazine.