4 Poems by Ryan De Leon


Barber shop
Empty save a mother waiting
A boy in the barber’s chair
The barber
The boy sits anxious
The barber digs his sheer into the side of the boy’s
Head      circumference of a young mind squeezed
Into itself
blood or sweat falls with the shorn hair
                              Squirming feet squeak metal chair
               Blue, white, red swirl on the pole outside
The boy is close to tears when the haircut ends
Hair everywhere
Being handed a tootsie roll
He puts it in his trembling teeth and chews 



Touch the ear       suspended
Collar obscured                  protected only
By the wink of the dean
Clouded vision cleared through
The sweep of the scalp
               Thick darkness cloaks the skull
Exploiting one’s own weakness tears
Mingle with sweat              salt and soul tremor
To the floor at the suggestion of an overdue
Spin in the scissor man’s chair
               The class bell rings and the young
File out

               It hasn’t hidden the canal


A shaggy mop past the shoulders
his lover’s hand clenches it back
The other hand behind his neck
One hand on her hip to hold her
               Her blonde bob just enough
For a fist full        
His back to the board of bed
She lowers herself
Picks up steam
Until simultaneous gasp
               Chins jerk upward as
Both drag fists down
The shuddering bed stills
Framed pictures now on the floor


He fingers the thatch of his manhood’s home


Over a dram         head in hand
The new country cut left jagged
The dreamscape’s roof
               Shadowing by window and siren
The shortest existence since the long road
From halo to breast commenced
Sweeping the strands from sixteen brushed away
The self, leaving a clean shop floor to
Form from foot to crown the man to
Live anew      


The growth begins again


Si je reste dans
ma ville de naissance, si je suis
deja mort.


End now
My term of
Intellect. The snow
Is falling      at my


Rest on my
White bed.
Crisp      clean.
               Take my tongue
To the sea.


Spears take         gluttons
To grey baths.
Flesh     gives hope
To the lonely.

Crack the
Skull       pour out
The steam
 of time
Over the rocks of


beef thuds
The        dirt
Off route 66.
Pastoral industries
heave through San Bernardino
Upland, too.


Take the hand I offer
               It is cold,
But it is clean,
It is ready to dig
In the hills.


The dawn will
Come and
stay for months
This        California Kaiseki is


In the woods I watched the sun
Drip       between
it formed a cathedral      and
I followed.


Hatred burns my days, my nights,
my eyes
That only wish to see the ocean
They do not like when hatred points
At the current


Strains my application
Of wealth.
The season swings           too quickly


Bright burning light
Earn my disturbance
        Or I will not look


Down the window          
Until it joins        the steel.
Steer to the right
And it
jolts past.



My friend
My         friend
Takes me home.
And in the night,
               Feeds me.


Hoagland’s white whale stares back
He is unopened, unexplored
Behind him lies a rope of pages
Red, unread, of many colors.
Catching the gaze of a crusader,
a Dutch star, empty, is predestined to the left.
Across plateaus sits Derrida
And baskets of actors and booming composers form
The bedrock of the castes.
 London, Paris, and JFK
Presidential appropriations
Above the prophets of the lost generation,
The twentieth century intelligentsia is gathered.
Above it all, there is a howl from an old Franciscan

Images From an Election


A stumbling Orangutan enters his new
Sandstone enclosure.
The gaze of countless Dogwood blossoms
Rest on the shoulders of the ape
As if he is the champion of petals


The Primary Man

An old man sits on a New English beach, crying
For his loved ones. A hand appears on
His shoulder. He is joined by a woman.
The last of her dynasty.



The tears of a young woman
Water the pedestal of
Lincoln’s statue in northwest Britain.
They cannot
Put out the fire that burns
Across the bay.



These ballots cast for an amateur of office;
Bullets through brown and black hearts.


Scales of Justice

Two dishes suspended equally in air
Supported by a column that
Protrudes from the bottom of the
Atlantic. In one dish, a dying bird
The other, a broken diadem,
They tug each other
From across the aisle,
Above legions of leaders.
Two columns separated from
The Parthenon



A shadow is cast by
The forty fourth man.
The darkness of this shadow
Is warmer and more illuminated than
The space that surrounds it,
From the oval door frame
To the bust of MLK

Ryan De Leon was born and raised in Southern California, before he moved to the north of England. He is presently back in California. He is the founder of Sons and Daughters.

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