Night Return and Other Poems

Poems by Anthony Ritchey

night return

television mother (goodnight my son)
wife bottle brother (first & last lovers)

* * *

allow me to be with you
in this box in my hand

allow me to show you my work
my life, my dreams, pathetic.

* * *

marriage, fear of solitude
alcoholism, the inevitability of failure

two of your cheapest bottles of wine
the rest of the change to this homeless man

ingrown hairs likewise problems
bursting on your done up number

only one way to get on here
get the words out

the anxiety of missing out
grey hair to prove
brown teeth to prove
flaking skin show

digging in the tray
crumpled inside the silence

cage in a cave in a bottle
fruit fly logic, in i go

the wine comes in and heads off depression
keeps it at bay for precisely ten years
third life compound fracture crisis

my father, a sober disciple
and i, his drunken yield


untitled (for bradley neil direnzi)

you have changed the name of the game
it’s true. look around you.

so many new streaks of color you have brought to the table of canvas
Immeasurable depths. Unchangeable tableau.

with each rising and setting of the sun
we find our tracks to appear different than the day before

encrusted in these colors snagged from the days and years blown through
windy existences. moving with them and aside

stumble upon the well of warm liquid love
crouched in the weeds of our cities and offices

low-flying scythes and hourglasses push us
further down into this warmth of each others arms

places to speak new tongues
ones of affinity and of these horizons

what we do for each other

a steadfast faith
indubitable knowledge that we’ll carry each other
through when arms and legs fail

that we will look out from our
glorious perches and see the otherwise invisible city of gold
crows feet wrinkles to be coveted by any man who catches your gaze

the ability to
set nine and twenty hearts ablaze

headstand notwithstanding
and reverse infantile revisions

until you can scale the barred wall
and drop into your den, coyly
batting at your dangling trophies, blabbering
and cawing your way

to the slumber of a superlative day.


iva (aka emo white boy)

would have been bad
for your agenda

to have a cis
like me in
your midst

good job and a job well done
under the carpet

now over one whole
year we don’t speak

she a they and
new york now
brooklyn trans capital

but wait i’m
in oakland california
where these revolutionaries

are making liberation
from supposed binary forms

boring gender
slash parentheses
lacking identity/ties

and i know trust
me i know that
i know that it’s

so fucking egotistical
to say but will
say it nonetheless

that all this bullshit
is a construct of ocd
your pan-control freak

backward meager
passive hyper aggressive
(say it again with pre-curs__)
fucking bullshit

and when it all goes
down the war between
won’t have a lick to
do with post-boomer
self obsessed ally
pandering baby politic

of who is who
and what pronoun
makes you feel
dare i say


go back
what the fuck do i know
tall fellow clearly
not queer

not concerned with
the rules of word
chain or lack thereof



wake up television santa claus
murder suicide
8 year old answers the door
shot in face
“bodies burned too badly”
car explodes
ten thousand in his underwear
9 unaccounted for

4 year old
buried alive
found in vineyard
tiny legs unearthed seen
snatched from a party
sexually assaulted
four years old
buried alive

5.4 million cubic yards
cadmium, lead & dead fish downstream
clean coal dam burst
“but it’s safe to drink the water”
tennessee black eye

sales are down
sales are down
sales are down

shot in the face
buried alive

Anthony Ritchey
Anthony Ritchey

Anthony Ritchey is a worker and maker, in search of the essences and evidence of “the good old days.” ¬†Anthony lives in Portland, Oregon.

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