Russell – Ryan Clark

for Russell, Oklahoma



Sun drags down a road

the rub of evening, entrusts

with Russell a vast

film of darkness. So

into existence hundreds

of visitors become a

located mass of viewer.

All area the audience

surrounds is a core

fit inside of a Russell

serving the prairie with movies

at the first drive-in

Oklahoma felt flicker

in the summer dust.


Outside is a show we have

never had to vividly imagine;

outside is not a fantasy

with a ring of floodlights—

and yet here posted to

the night as a screen

is a story brought into us

from a far away light

shooting over our heads.

It has made a crowd

of a town stripped

of its post office,

worn of its time.


But with the verity of war,

what is audience but

a staring at each other

enlarged to mechanized

scale. So when the movies

ended, and Russell

faded again back into parts,

its few farmers watch

a scene of leaving

unfilmed for anyone.

Ryan Clark

Ryan Clark writes his work using a unique method of homophonic translation. His poetry has recently appeared in Ghost City Review, riverSedge, and Flock, and his first book, How I Pitched the First Curve, is forthcoming from Lit Fest Press. He currently teaches English and Creative Writing at Waldorf University.

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