Bad Survivalist: “there is this instrument called a gnomon,” a poem by Ryan Rowland

Bad Survivalist: Ryan Rowland

there is this instrument called a gnomon

—for Nicky J

There is some tool called a gnomon I guess
it measures shadows
Sprayed by the sun I’ll tell you this now I know nothing
Of tools I speak more of shadows shit
You can’t measure. Ask her for the truth these
Shadows from the sun and only the one
Sun strong enough to make an orchid
possible at Home Depot I mean what are the
chances of
orchids and guaranteed
purple nightfalls so of course this kind of bookie must cast its
darkness too. Ask a shrink how do
you measure depression what is the instrument for a
suicide attempt and why do we call it bright and
sunny when something is good there is this instrument called a
gnomon this is my understanding my knowledge a man without a working
wrench or Philips head in the
garage. Look up there are extension cords
hanging above I do not know their origins look up when was the
Little Dipper given its proper name do a collection of
Stars know how they will be measured the gnomon is a
Plumber sage working both
Left and right brain it’s a tool
At heart but functioned beyond to tell guys and
Gals like you and me or Eric Clapton trying
To paint
Caves or start
Lawnmowers how a shadow filled the
Earth after the sun and when the last
Solstice and equinox party was. these ways to measure time watch
Clapton’s left foot during Bell Bottom Blues when he was
anointed Slow Hand we know it was more than a heroin needle a Strat and
His hand that was the instrument how do we measure
God and her
Stars there is this instrument called a
Gnomon but it is just
A tool

Ryan Rowland is a writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He is a founding member of good word cleveland, a collective of emerging writers. His work has appeared recently in Ornery Quarterly Summer 2020.


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