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Sonnet on Saint George of Lalibela

(On A Dream I Had)

Adventuring in some forest overgrown,

An orange pick-up shaking as I ride,

Some shepherd at the wheel his face unknown,

Our destination soon shall I deride.

A shady glade reveals my unknown prize –

The mossy bunker hosting souls to feast.

Some cross of giants flat in earth she lies –

Saint George of Lalibela takes her priest.

The prize inside a sacrifice could be,

A shovel in my grip to dig beneath.

What led me so was not for me to see,

But feeling pulled by grit I grind my teeth.

Within the chamber where her tunnels meet,

By righteous kicks sweet pain am I to greet. 

 

© Copyright 2023 Ryan Mangan

Maracujá

Maracujá, kiss me back. 

Use your lips as I do mine. 

Your soul is the fruit of passions.

My sin shares your likeness.

 

Planted in the neurosis of my conscience,

You shall be harvested by my soul.

You shall be filtered through the rains of my heart, 

And you shall let yourself satisfy.

 

Maracujá, my nutritious sin,

Your low-hanging fruits of passion tempt me.

Your low-hanging fruits of passion tease me. 

 

Maracujá, my passion fruit,

Sip from me every seed of my own 

So that I may pass my sweetness on to you.

 

O Maracujá, are you a blighted fruit?

Do you dare not kiss me back?

Though you are sour, still I think you hold only beauty, 

But I will drip you from my lips,

One seed by one seed away,

Before a sour kiss turns sweet.

 

Maracujá, my passion fruit,

I leave you to your own succession. 

If you return to me, I shall know you have been sweetened. 

And when you are sweetened, I shall know that you are mine.

When you are sweetened, I will know that you have always been mine. 

 

Then, when the flowers and fruits of the world cease to grow,

Kiss me back, Maracujá. 

For at my lips you shall encounter just how much goodness you hold.

You shall encounter just how much goodness you have always held. 

 

Maracujá, my passion fruit.

Rio de Janeiro, 2023

© Copyright 2023 Ryan Mangan

Dormant Lust

(On A Dream I Had)

 

A woman lay sleeping on a wide open bed

In a barren room where someone left her.

I pass the room thrice at a golden hour,

Still she lays with her form hardly changed.

 

Her eyes closed towards a naughty sun,

She had no face, only form and soul.

She was without complete identity 

And I think she means something. 

 

She not only lay there, 

but even more — she slept,

Dreaming under grey silken sheets,

Frozen and quiet as Strazza could place.

 

Sudden light shimmered an image –

A picture to imagine privately.

Within the fantasy I am full a man,

Nature willing her nape to mine. 

 

Released from blindness I see her unchanged.

Molded by the stillness of Hypnos,

She was without complete identity

And I think she means something.

 

© Copyright 2022 Ryan Mangan

To You, Little King 

 

Sweet prince of life and love,

You valiant pursuer of softness,

Drip away these cares of conformity,

Fulfilling your ethos of regality.

Gossip-drinking and fashion-minding,

Melody-speaking and self-touching,

Secret-wielding and beauty-longing,

Your world is crossed over.

Burrow not in that darkness of the middle times.

Let the muck of those youthful ages carry you buoyant

Toward the promised freedom of growing

Where potential sips you skyward.

When you slip unguarded to the realm of roughness,

Where those whose sameness appears unsame,

Nourish your soul with that nutritious masculine,

As the paragon of their sort – the manliest of machos.

A gift you are to he who shares your shadows,

And shadows fashioned smart make decent thrones.

Fear not the army you alone shall guide –

With the brazen vigor of your true kind!

 

If the universe can these two worlds blend,

What holy union might we mend?

 

Nashville, 2022

© Copyright 2022 Ryan Mangan.

Annabelle of Nashville

 

Speak and I will think only of your lips.

They are chapped up and teasing me

To taste a little bit more than nothing.

Yes, our hands belong to each other's 

For a little bit more than a moment.

 

I noticed the way you don’t mind us chatting like this,

With the distance of a hand’s width between our faces,

Between our lips of course.

And though you are not the kind I’m usually drawn to,

I think only of how we could be touching and loving.

Nashville, 2022

© Copyright 2022 Ryan Mangan

On Art

 

O Art, you great brain of consciousness, 

Nourished in a self sustaining cycle,

From God ourselves,

Sourceless and forceful.

O verse, O harmony, hallucinogenic hues,

Expose ourselves to ourselves. 

Rude, cruel, and tastefully bitter;

Plain goodness sipped up naked.

As my heart dissolves of itself,

Let not the necessary dissonance expire.

© Copyright 2022 Ryan Mangan

Three Poems on Paintings by Henry Scott Tuke

I. O Fair and Fine Design

(On a painting: "French Barque on Falmouth Bay")

 

Hail, great vessel!

 

Mighty in your adolescence,

Unaware of your strength,

Blind to your faults,

Rocking like a monstrous cradle.

A manly din replaces recent lullabies. 

 

Fair virginal youth,

Precise in your sinewy rigging,

To where will you sail 

And how will you fare?

Join your fleet of the finest athletes.

 

With a soul as your sail,

Stretch out your eager limbs.

Kiss, with tempting lips 

The feast of divine potential.

Mighty is your breast and rude is your mast.

Hoist your anchor and let it rust aboard. 

II. Sport You Salty Sea Boys

(On a painting: "Green and Gold")

 

Fleshy water nymphs of the shallows,

You pay no mind to your performance.

Delight in your dance is lost to your perception.

Enchant me with your rude pas de deux. 

How can we be so inwardly separate?

How can you be so far from me,

Yet housed in my amorous gaze?

 

Will your sport inspire rich appetites in us? 

Already this tongue tastes a tender treat –

Ambrosia nibbled at our dewy lips.

Dare and let the ichor of Himeros filter our youth.

 

You slippery dogs, can you not see?

You soak in emerald nectar –

The earth’s glittering aphrodisiac.

III. A Boy With An Oar
(On a painting: "A boy with an oar")
 
You there, Sailor
Sail your mighty ship
Your way is directionless
Change course

My voice is silent
I know you hear me
Take my oar
Take my oath

I am the mist on bronze
I am your sinning secret
I am captain and comrade
I am bare and yours

I have what you seek
I seek what you have
Both are bearing
Both desiring

How can you row
With only half the gear?

How can you love
With only half the tools?

How can you dream
With only half the soul?


© Copyright 2022 Ryan Mangan

Sonnet on a Mass Manipulation

 

There was a man whose talents made him prince.

On all our clan his folly could convince.

With foul charisma fair could he achieve,

A clownish riddle had he up his sleeve.

The lying creature tight a web did spin,

And black resentment festered neath our skin.

His grip held fast my over-practiced tongue

When fewer words against his own had sung.

Upon our innocence his riddles twist.

A strangling knot does squeeze its tightening fist.

These years beyond, our trust in leaders feigned.

Our passion we would covet now is stained. 

While he whose reputation’s sunk and burned,

It’s I who saw this wretched trope and learned. 

 

Boston, 2022

 

© Copyright 2022 Ryan Mangan

Read me, sip me, taste me, play me

 

Keep apart and distant.

Let this be my fantasy of your soul.

Read me, Sip me, Taste me, Play me.

Turning pages of an active mind,

Share for me your bookish delights;

Tall tales and spun words,

Which one would capture your attention –

(As you alone have captured mine)?

Which one would you fall into,

(As I would have you fall into me)?

Tea giving rise to snarled steam,

Its warm breath sweet as the air 

That would twist it up in knotted clouds.

Pinched by the lips,

By the dew of the tongue to glass,

Leaving your kiss’s key for my collection,

A lipish echo to pinch against my own –

Then might we match!

O that I could sip at your soul

As you have sipped me up blindly.

Do you dare expose your sleeping place,

Where your shoulders and arms cradle and curl,

Where your hair snarls and shags,

Where you are swallowed into closeness,

Where bony arches and fleshy leather 

Shake and tremor and life is exhaled,

Le petit mort – come, and let me soak you in,

As you have been soaked in before.

Let my hands make a lute of you

To be played at the pulsing core.

Let my fingers know your keys and strings.

Let pipes be played of sensitive tones.

Let all instruments be played by God!

If God is Salvation, let me be healed by Divine love!

Let Him cast our worlds to one,

Where heavenly keys unlock new private worlds.

Read me, I am made of magic words.

Sip me, I have sipped you up in full.

Taste me, you have seasoned me with flavor.

Play me, as you would touch the lute.

Let my reflection be the boy in your eyes.

I, in those mirrors of sapphire,

Could be hugged by frosty desire.

© Copyright 2022 Ryan Mangan

On the Question of Fatherhood

 

There is mischief in nature

In me is a trouble-maker

It is I who would have you 

If my wishes could be true

 

No chance for my soul to melt

Dripping down through generations 

The inertia of my name 

Tradition no more the same

 

What use are these lessons

A journey only for me

The elixir hardly shared 

As if I never cared 

 

To the child I’ll never have

Nature gave me the key

Which rusts in my hand

And sheds itself to sand

 

O woman of my loins

O man of my conscious 

I hold the key sound

But the door is never found

© Copyright 2022 Ryan Mangan

(Untitled)

 

Heavy are the weights of our own destruction.

Crippled is the hand of self betrayal,

Strengthening only a cowardice,

And wringing out the passions to care.

When the breath contracts upon itself,

Bite off the poison with courage.

When the shoulders sweat hot,

Be a sponge for light breaths renewed. 

When the chest punches fast,

Spit out your truest venom

Without a trace of guilt attached.

Smother first-off what is most vile,

For that venom is overheated

With all the strength to kill.

But mind you do not use it so –

Its meaning in its strength to grow.

 

© Copyright 2023 Ryan Mangan

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