Skeletons of Ghosts


poems by

David Garyan

ISBN: 978-1-59948-555-3, 40 pages, cover price: $11

Release date: February, 2016



David Garyan received his M.A. in English from Cal State Long Beach, and is currently an M.F.A candidate in poetry there. His work has appeared in such journals as: The Northridge Review, Eclipse, and the North Central Review. He resides in the greater Los Angeles area, devoting most of his free time to visiting the beach and exploring the mountains of Southern California. After college, he plans to pursue a teaching job and hopefully travel as much as possible.

David Garyan’s poems provide meditative intimacy as they seek to reach out into the world and explore the vagaries of human connection. The “you” of these poems is on a quest both simple and complex: to be brave and open, and to protect his sense of self. “I am learning to be surprised,” he writes, and the surprises he provides engage the reader in the small and poignant observations of what he calls “urban pastoral,” a quiet celebration and interrogation of environs social and personal, natural and constructed. –Patty Seyburn


David Garyan’s poems are rooted in fully-engaged and highly-engaging personal encounters, with an immediacy in which intense, closely rendered details coalesce to create profound insights and resonant observations. Filled with small shocks of recognition, they refuse to sacrifice the human scale in fulfilling their grander themes. What a rattlesnake knows in “Switchback,” applies as well to Garyan’s poetic vision: “that charts, plans, and logic / bewilder themselves when the forest /
says so.” –Steve Taylor, author of Cut Men (Main Street Rag, 2005), editor of Coming Off the Line, the Car in American Culture (Mint Hill Books, 2015)

Under Neon

Hey, tobacco bathed busker,
where is your bed tonight?
Among lights that yawn
on vigilant avenues
I watched you pull
chords from a guitar
with missing strings.

Do the sounds make you shiver?
Do you feel the newspaper blankets
and concrete pillows soaking up
your kerosene drenched hair
while carnivorous traffic
feasts on your dreams?

Tonight, I will walk by again
and drop more coins in your basket,
wishing that you would
ride the freight trains
and visit ghost towns
of perpetual sleep.

The Excuse

Stranger, you are the person I don’t
want to meet.
I’ve wasted enough
whodunits on mediocre
introductions, and worse yet,
subsequent conversations.
No, I’d rather glance at you
without thinking,
follow you as far as I can
without going anywhere.
Could you please just
be my blank page?
Do not come to introduce yourself
when our eyes meet by chance.
Sadly, this time the accident
does not lead to discoveries,
only mistakes, warnings, signs
that I should be more careful thawing
out the mystery,
and spoiling fresh fantasies
until they cannot
be preserved.
Am I being too voyeuristic?
Go ahead, say yes. I am stable
enough to wield
any accusation thrown at me,
and if that doesn’t suffice,
the old excuse
of being a writer
should clarify my insanity.

How to Give Directions

Stop. You are just a pedestrian.
Tonight, there is no need to worry about
where the next accident might be,
when another detour will keep you
from a meeting that wasn’t important anyway.
Tonight, there is more than one way: listen to the traffic,
let the signs take you where they may.
It is your turn to dictate the pace
and prove the critics wrong.
Go where people have kept you from going before;
this time, don’t hesitate and turn around
at the last second.
Walk swiftly; with stubborn footsteps
keep your eyes on the road—
you will find what you’re looking for.

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