Category Archives: Ryder Collins

Why do PARIAHs fall in love by Ryder Collins

the PARIAH wants. the PARIAH wants more than you’ll ever know. the PARIAH allows glimpses of her want when the wine bottle hits the kitchen floor, when the wine bottle spirits. when it spins. there is no kissing a PARIAH. there is no kissing.

this is what the PARIAH wants more than anything.

the PARIAH wants in your bed. the PARIAH wants to lay with you and your son. your son is small and vulnerable. like all sons. small and carnival. small and baker. small and eggshells. small and pipe tobacco. he crawls into bed and the PARIAH crawls in after.

you are still asleep.

the PARIAH wants to sleep on one side while your son sleeps on the other. the PARIAH wants the instant family, the POLAROID of children. she wants to shake the film and cast your wife out.

she wants to swap. she wants to flea market.

her loneliness. you love.


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The last time he thought of her, he thought of himself by Ryder Collins

Richboy’d strewn his path with the hearts of girls and boys he’d encountered. He was always always on the lookout for a tortured artist heart, tho. He thought maybe they could change him, those artists with the big tortured hearts; they could make him feel something for reals. He knew downdeep he was a cliché and this knowledge was what caused him to drink and piss himself and go drugging and snorting and smoking and pilling and coking and tripping through life. There was a voice in his head that was always always commenting; there was a voice in his head that sounded like Baudrillard; there was a voice in his head with a French accent and a craving for Nutella and big milky cups of coffee; there was a voice in his head that sometimes wore an ironic beret and propelled him to McDonald’s; there was a voice in his head that told him he was inauthentic – that everything he did and said and thought’d been constructed for him by someone else and he’d never ever escape this and it was his burden and maybe if he’d been born poor he could drink tallboys of Pibber gladly and if he’d been born poor he could read Bukowski freely and if he’d been born someone else he could be happy.

He wanted to be someone else and it filled him with a self-loathing that made him only think about himself and how he wanted to be someone else.


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Beware the fever of manifest destiny by Ryder Collins

It first starts when he blocks the peyote scene from Young Guns. You’re here and here and there. He moves me. She’s my butterfly. His voice gets slurry.


But, I’m no Danaus plexippus; I don’t like milkweed. My wings are stuck together and I’m shaking from his tremors.

I’m jealous of his mania. I want to cut open his skull, watch the neurons run wild through the West. Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Philips riding ganglions to their deaths.

The bed’s empty now; is he gonna go Lone Ranger on me?

I’ve signed treaties; I’ve made speeches. He parodies, he says put pen to parchment, he says put your mark here, he says…you’re my little masochist, he says, there, there.

All night, he clicks through channels, receiving signals from sentries stationed in the badlands, the borderlands, on the frontier. He strategizes, positioning cigar and garter forces. My general does not dream; I’ve tried to dream for him.

My dreams are always always bullets of love; his nondreams are “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”

He sings and waits.

Soon he’ll see soot and ash fall outside; he’ll smell the coal of an oncoming train. High noon: he’ll think he’s all alone. He’s got a pocket watch from a father he forgot; he’ll unpocket the watch, unholster his pistol, not even look for me, & ride off.

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Open the door, baby, daddy’s back by Ryder Collins

She said, You’re lucky you didn’t show up last night when I was drinking sake but it was to0 gross so I drank almost all of it & then switched to gin and tonics.

He said, I was busy.

He said, Look I came all this way, all right?

She said, Yeah, but.

He said, I crossed state lines.

He said, Many lines.

He said, You’re the only one that gets me, baby. Really. The only one.

She said, Yeah.

She said, I still wouldn’ta let you in last night.

He said, Are you still drunk?

She said, What time is it?

She looked at her wrist; it was freckled and rope-scarred and sans watch, of course.

He said, I killed my roommate’s cat.

She almost heard, I killed my roommate; she almost closed the door.

She said, That’s why you’re here.

He said, No.

He said, I fucked my roommate.

He said, I fucked some other women, too. After.

He said, The cat was an accident. Really. The only one, baby.

She opened the door all the way & let him in.

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& this is why & this why you can’t sleep by Ryder Collins

If you’re living in ——— and almost thirty and haven’t succeeded/moved away, you’re screwed. You’ll be drinking til three, four, in the morning, even if you have a someone. & if you’re single, don’t try looking. There’s too many young things ready and waiting for someone to come tell them what to do, some man to wear little things for. If you’re a woman and living in ——— you probably can’t wear mini-skirts anymore cos the city diet, if you’re almost thirty and alone and working food service or whatever, is some cheesy goodnesses washed down with eight-nine beers; then, for dessert, a couple, three, ten lines of coke so you can drink more beer or move on to bourbon and stay out past bartime in a bar where you know or are or own the bartender, drinking more beer or doing shots of Maker’s or, if you’ve been doing this for ten years plus, you’ve switched to some pussy shot, like schnapps, pepperminting to masquerade unclean, coke-tightened enamel. Although who knows why you care what your breath smells like or teeth feel like at four in the morning in ———–, especially in wintertime. When four in the afternoon feels like four in the morning anyways and nothing ever changes. Except the girls get younger, your skirts get longer, your jaw throbs from clenching and you no longer smoke Marb Reds but some other brand of light cigarette. Cos, no matter what anyone says, Marlboro Lights taste like shit.


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“You know about the shame that’s always waiting.” by Ryder Collins

Look, I know you and I aren’t on the same wavelength. You watch America’s Got Talent, you’ve never worked food service, you tip like a cheap bastard because of it, and you’ve never been properly laid. Ever. No matter how hard you wished.

Cos you’ve never tried to get laid properly. That would make you a perv. Especially if you tell your husband/wife/nanny/officeboy/babysitter/crossing guard that the old-fashioned deep sea diver’s suit is what does it for ya.

You know. The one with the round helmet that screws on. It’s like Frankenstein undersea.

Homegirl feels like Frankenstein sometimes and sometimes Homegirl’s felt like she was fucking Frankenstein. That’s why she’s narrowed it down to two guys who don’t remind her of re-animated corpses – Punkboy and Richboy.

But this was all about you.

Have you ever had a Punkboy? Have you ever had a Richboy? Ya ha deedle deedle… Homegirl doesn’t care about money and Homegirl doesn’t care about hygiene so much. I know you do. I know you spent the last hour cleaning your bathroom, collecting the hairs from the bathtub drain, scrubbing the soap from the sink, wiping the piss and blood and cum from around the toilet bowl all the while pretending it doesn’t exist.

& that’s why I worry about you.

& that’s why you’ll never be a part of Homegirl’s world.

Not until she realizes she’s pregnant; not until she realizes how much the body can let you down.

Just wait; I know you know.

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Space grass and space cakes by Ryder Collins

Casualty had three moods – stoned, more stoned, and comatose. When you heard Clutch blasting from his house at ten a.m., you knew he was well on his way to the third.

& yes, Homegirl heard Clutch as she approached his front door. Fuck, she was hoping for a more lucid Casualty. She’d just been followed by a creeper the entire walk over.

Casualty opened the door. Homegirl said, Hi. She walked past him and sat down on his orange nubby couch. Casualty plopped down next to her and asked, Ole Faithful?

Ole Faithful was his three foot bong and a reference to punctual gangas eruptions, of course.

Homegirl shook her head and almost started crying. She kinda didn’t know why, so she punched Casualty in the arm.

Casualty said, What?

Then, Not cool.

Then, Space cake?

Homegirl punched his arm again; this time not as hard.

She said, I was almost raped on the way here.

Then, Hafta work tonight.

Then, Yeah, fuck, give me one.

Think I’m preggers and don’t know who the baby daddy is, is what she walked over to say but couldn’t.

She had no one to talk to about it except Casualty; she could trust him not to tell anyone cos he wouldn’t remember. She couldn’t trust anything he said, though, if he was already on his way to comatose.

He came back with the cake.

Homegirl took a bite. Fuck, she said; fuck, he said. A cheers to nothing.

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I know everything’s broken, but still I pretend by Ryder Collins

I know everything’s broken, but still I pretend

We’d always hear them coming, sneezing and smashing. We’d hang old bottles we had no use for from the burnt up trees outside the gate. They couldn’t resist. We’d hear the glass breaking; we’d sound the alarm. We’d defend our town and what was ours.

We always won cos we outnumbered them; we always won cos we feared them. We had rules and we maintained them and everything was always right.

Neat and proper and we all knew our place.

Rumor was the balaclavas they wore were melted on their faces in some strange initiation. Rumor was most of them were allergic to the wool. Rumor was their only mission was to smash all the glass in the world. They sneezed and smashed and laughed like hell.

Rumor was what gave me something to look forward to, day in and out in our little settlement.

Sometimes, late at night, I’d rummage alone through the wasteland by the gate, shifting through what’d been left behind. Things we had no use for cos we didn’t understand any of it, what its use was or how it’d been made. I didn’t ask any questions of the huge mounds, though; I was always only looking for glass. I wanted to feel its smooth surface. I wanted to test its cohesion. I’d find once jagged pieces rubbed down by the years; I’d carry these pieces with me under my smock and remember the impulse to run.

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Naked to the bar by Ryder Collins

Dear Exxy,

Thanks for the FB friending and what’s up message. Part of me’s writing you back just cos; the pragmatic core of me that’s trying to do something with my life since we knew each other as hot and sexing food service junkies is writing you back because you live in San Fran now and I live in a small Southern town and MLA’s coming up. I have this fantasy of, between interviews, if I have any, you and I meeting up in the Hilton or whatever lobby bar and I’m wearing a suit skirt but garters and lace and leather underneath and you’ll just know and show up. Dirty punk rock, from my past; a huge Rollins sun tattoo on your back. Although I know it’s a sun cos I saw it rising and setting and rising and setting, all those times we kicked it, I don’t know if it’s really a Henry Rollins tattoo or if that’s some sort of connotation I picked up. But if I started talking about the connotations of sun tattoos and Henry Rollins and then started analyzing what it all meant: sexuality, othering, being marked, marking, gender politics, queerness, you’d probably leave said bar, lobby, whatever. Or not even show up.

So, forget all that; right now I’m drinking a tallboy of PBR and remembering how we busted our asses closing. Just so we could make it to the bar before last call, together.


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The way the sky was now by Ryder Collins

We did what we had to do, donned black balaclavas and we kept moving. There were no sirens, no alarms, no newscasts, even. We just knew, and we moved.

In what used to be Philly, we drag-raced with what used to be Move. A dreadlocked woman and a naked toddler threw down the flag; we gunned our engines, we were off. We knew we had to leave them behind. Only two of them’d survived the government onslaught decades ago and these two weren’t them.

In the Dakotas, our cars danced past the Ghost Dancers. They were hard core drummers. Mickey Hart woulda been jealous, if he’d survived. Their drums kept going going going, but they all stayed in one place.

We had to move.

In the Alabamas, we ran into fog and a regiment of Confederates. We got the fuck out of there. Tout suite.

I’d like to say we didn’t remember the Alamo, but one of ours had to piss. We ran into youknowwho and he was fighting Mexicans and it was so beautiful and there were fireworks, or else it was God’s wrath, or else it was the sky now.

The way the sky was now was beautiful but you had to stop to see it.

We couldn’t stop for long; if we did we knew we’d be dead. If we were dead, we’d have to stop and then we’d have to start moving all over again.

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Drive, you sd, for christ’s sake by Ryder Collins

Drive, you sd, for christ’s sake

This weekend was supposed to be about intellect and soul-mating, but, like all others, it’s turned into body and longing. You sit in my passenger seat, and I let you smoke in my wee car with the windows rolled down.

We’ve come from a wedding, a fairy ring, a carnival, an executioning, anything that’s spectacle, and you sat beside me that whole time and we sweated together and you made sure your leg grazed mine but only every now and then.

I would’ve had sex with you every time I felt your leg against mine.

You say you were imagining me giving you head at the altar, on a mushroom, a ferris wheel, the electric chair.

I would have done you but I started thinking about love and hate, about the hair on my toes, my 70s bush, my weak teeth, my ability to fall for the right cock and the wrong guy. You could be a hipster; you attach yourself to the right people and feed feed feed. Everyone wants to introduce you to others.

I want to introduce you to the priest, the barker, the Faerie Queen, the executioner. I want to show you god, show you magic, con and kill you.

Or maybe, I want to lock you in my car and just drive.

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