Poems by Ric Vrana

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Talking Earth Anthology: Poems by Ric Vrana

Talking Earth Anthology:   Poems by Ric Vrana    Ric Vrana appears regularly in numerous venues and open mics in the Portland poetry scene and his work has been published in several local anthologies and zines.  His early days of stand-up poetry were done in Seattle where he found himself at the beginning of the long running Red Sky Poetry Theater in the early 1980s.  He fell in with a bad crowd, and after a long slog through graduate school became a professor of Geography in Portland.  After some disagreeable business with the dean, however, he found himself a job where he works as a planner, and, upon being called back up to be an adjunct in another part of the university, continues to teach part time in the urban planning program.  His writing is infused with the perspective of the geographer, the cartographer, and the planner.   He believes place is connection between where he is and who he is.  He writes about this, thinks about this, dreams about this.


Part of the Poem

This is the part of the poem
that begins with a  punch, some
line or two with rhythm, some
vivid imagery to draw you into a
Venus Fly Trap opening.

The next few lines initially rush
on to some metaphor or other
but it’s likely I’ll
axe it in the first revision so
it could start out being anything like
wind chimes crashing in a storm
-- scratch that!

About this point in the poem
I've written enough to spare a blank.
A break between defacto stanzas,
five, eight, or maybe ten lines above,
my next thoughts will be forced
into an equal number below.
I used to think this helped me think
but now it’s mostly to please
my favorite critic who loves to attack
my “slavish devotion to form”.

Now comes the part of the poem
where I talk about some woman
who did me wrong or just did me.
I try to keep out images of pile drivers
and trains entering tunnels but
if I write it too sweetly wistful, I
feel like an old man recounting lost youth.
Nobody but another old man
would not find this disgusting
and they don’t read me anyway
since I'm  not telling them something
they don’t already know.

This is the part of the poem
where I ramp up to the big finish
inserting a fucking gratuitous
swear word or maybe pull
some non-sequitor surprise
out of my ass.
You may now applaud.

              Rick Vrana from
                 Semi-Ambivalent Middle-Aged Male Lament #25
                      pub 2011 Independent Pubishing Resource Center
                      ed. Ceylon Anderson

Annual Performance Review

First let me express my pleasure
once again for the opportunity
to write up my Self Evaluation
portion of our company’s
annual performance review.

As you know, this has been a year
where I have been singularly brilliant
in rising to every challenge and
enjoying each new twist and tangle
of this joyous effort we call “work.”

Although I cannot tell for sure if
I met or exceeded the as yet unpublished
expected outcomes benchmarks,
I feel confident I can report
sustained achievement in several critical areas.

My production of interoffice memos has risen
to the point where every employee in the unit
receives several from me each week.
Also, as my appointments log will show,
I have frequently been attending two meetings at once.

I take credit for having successfully trained
the four young college graduates hired
to directly supervise me and
I finish this year with eight of my ten
vacation days unused, and unmissed I say.

I feel confident I have made improvement
over last year’s catastrophic performance
that ended in that unfortunate fire,
the law suit of which incident so slowly
makes its way through the civil courts.

As detailed in my Work Plan
you so generously agreed to provide,
I no longer fall asleep in front of my computer,
I've reduced my bathroom breaks, and now recycle
all food wrappers from my two meals a day at the desk.

Beginning this year with my kids in high school
I should be able to bring my weekly hours
up to the average of 50 enjoyed by our co-workers,
and evening meetings in public venues will no longer
find me arriving in a state of inebriation.

As for the rogue email that “got away”
I think we can all recall unfortunate utterances
made in haste and ignorance about upper management
and all that flirting with the admin assistants,
that‘s a two way street, honestly.

        Ric Vrana Semi-Ambivalent Middle-Aged Male


From across Potrero Bay you can see
the lay of the land. Its hills
where the monkeys howl each night
look dry and somewhat smaller
gazing across the timid wake
of this catamaran I share with
paid strangers on excursion this afternoon.

Something female in this world
loves me, I know it and sometimes
she’s as solid as a ghost that holds me
close to her bosom breath,
the swelling breath in these sails,
the rubber breath in the snorkel I try on, then
slip like a tongue into the warm salt sea.

Under the water she is even closer.
In my own breath I hear her pulse.
Listen to the life support through the hollow tube.
Watch silent extravaganza of mullet fish.
Dive into the middle of several hundred
yellow silver bodies. Like a single body
around me they swirl and resume their winding path.

Later we anchor for sandwiches and drink
tell each other of the sights we saw undersea.
I swam alone along the deeper edge of the reef
where no one else saw the majestic school below
On the lonely beach at Lovers Cove
a single dog, ecstatic, plays with gentle waves.
I see that I am already here.

That which in this world is female
I strongly suspect does love me and
I'm new in this place and so is she and
suddenly I notice she’s been here everyday.
Sits on the deck of the catamaran beside me, smiling,
with her camera. We take each others’ pictures.
Red shift sun dives into the Pacific.

                      Ric Vrana,


            Postales desde Costa Rica
            Postcards from Costa Rica

                A poem cycle  2011