“The poems in Ruled by Pluto are governed by a heartbreaking contradiction of loss juxtaposed with myriad of carefully constructed characters that border the surreal. This poetic landscape is populated by mythic and fantastic characters such as John the Baptist, angels lounging on pool tables, and a brain in glass jar drinking whiskey on rocks. Porubsky strikes a taut balance between playfulness and acuity of absence that permeates just beneath the skin.”

– Gary Jackson

author Missing You, Metropolis
“Meditative, personal, introspective, the poems in Ruled by Pluto explore the territory of loneliness: a place with its own ghosts and dangers, a place with its own religion, with everyday martyrs and saints. These poems are delicate revelations of Porubsky’s influences, from a Kansas farm house in the 1800s to everyday pilgrimages of domestic life, from the breathless gasp of a lover to the transfiguration of loved ones. It is the dizziness of the internal traveler and the sacredness of the mundane that give Ruled by Pluto its power and its steam, signaling a unique voice in contemporary poetry.”


– Mary Stone Dockery

author of Mythology of Touch and Aching Buttons


Cover art by the fantastic photographer and graphic designer Daniel Coburn. Please visit his website for so many fantastic pieces. He rocks the house!



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 Poems from Ruled by Pluto


Gaining Lift


I sit here in some-kind-of-skin

picturing the distant evening.

The sky melts into me,

into the marrowed maze of my bones.

They are rendered weightless.


My skeleton is carved neat as a bird’s.

Two pinches tent in my back,

goose-pimple my some-kind-of-skin

to sprout feathered wings.

They stretch, fan out airy.


I’m a picture in the distant evening.

I fly in my some-kind-of-skin,

braid the wind with my fingers and hair,

disappear soft as the distant sound

of music breathed by the breeze

through my tunneled bones.

They whistle like flutes.


originally in Sierra Nevada Review




A Quiet Drink


I keep your brain in a glass jar.

It’s what you wanted; you and I together.


I always loved your mind.

After every week of composing in your den

we would come here for a drink.

You would hum your new tunes,

keeping time with your hands,

as we sat at our table.

Your excitement was contagious.

You revealed the mazes of your mind

to me in music and I was awestruck-silent.

Your music became mine.

I was all yours. I’m all yours.


Before I leave the house,

I spray your jar with your cologne,

polish the glass invisible smooth.

Your records play from the den.

I dress in the dress you loved,

the dress that one night compelled you

to lean across the table and pull me close to kiss.

The one that makes us both feel alive.


I place your brain jar on your side of the table.

I sit across from you still

lost in the mazes of your mind,

humming your songs to myself,

watching the sweat bead

on your glass of whisky on the rocks.

I finish my drink first and fast

then savor each watered sip of yours

as we both float softly surrounded in liquid,

wrinkled and waiting in our current states.


With the last sip of your drink

you reach a glow in the bar lights,

glistening with the beauty of life

like the choruses and refrains,

codas and crecendos of what you composed.

I hear our music and I am yours.


I lean across the table and pull you close.


originally in kitchen and scissors and spackle




Switchman’s Productivity Blues


The trains keep getting shorter.

It started six months ago as

a few less cars every other day.

Then every day less and less.


The auto-racks were the first to slim up

from the auto plants cutting down.

We started storing empty auto-racks

across the river in the old Southern Pacific yard

that’s been empty for ten years.

Six long tracks holding forty racks each.

Yellow and gray steel, tall as a house,

sided with polka-dotted dime-sized holes,

making them teeter in the winter wind,

waiting there, filling with snow.


It became a common sight

to see twenty vacant flat cars on a train

one after another, pulling each other in an empty current.

After a while, the flat cars started to disappear.

Any of them we did have around,

we stored across the river.

That ol’ S.P. yard was filling up with empty cars.


The coal trains still ran full and heavy,

dusty and black. They kept on rolling.


Our main rail yard shrank

from one thousand cars a day to a hundred.

At first, we thought it was less work for us.

Every crew got two-hour quits everyday.

When the grain trains began having fewer cars

we started to wonder.


Every train that came in,

came in shorter.

And every train that went out,

went out shorter.


The yard tracks curve and shine together

into one rail as they stretch away.

There isn’t much to think about

in an empty rail yard

except an empty rail yard.



Getaway Psalm


I walk between raindrops,

Remain dry to the rains that surround in taps.

If a drip deviates along with me,

tailored sheep’s wool on my neck and arms

cinches it swiftly to a fitted curl.

I glide by like the shiniest white knife.


That is my journey.


I am an archer when I arrive.


By a fountain in the wilderness

I lean upon my bow to listen, rest

in thick shadows and air and echoes.

Vines of fruits climb around in prism glints.

The wild game have gentle faces.

I pierce them with the shiniest steel arrows.


They taste sweet and rich.