Ryan Ridge

from American Homes

American Guest Rooms

What art offers is space.
Updike said.
The same can be said for moon colonization.
One time I shot for the moon but instead I ended up crashing in a guest bedroom.

Come on in, she said.
Be my guest.
Let me show you to your room.

A guest room is only as civil as its occupants.
As disobedient as its ghosts.

Abraham Lincoln’s ghost seen sobbing in a White House guest room.

The guest room is a room reserved for cameos, never stars.
Tonight, I am making a brief appearance on this wide, thin bed.

Tonight I have a dream.
Tomorrow I will forget.

What is a guest without a host?
Don DeLillo noted the helix-like interplay between the two words.
Guests bring in ideas from outside the home, he said.
They, like writers, are agents of change.
Parasites perhaps.
(If they stay too long.)

The trick to being a good guest is to keep it short.
Fish and visitors smell in three days.
Said Benjamin Franklin who knew a thing or two about foul smells.
(See: American Basements.)

Some guest rooms are actually houses!
Guest houses?
Only in the Land of American Homes.

Anybody in LA knows the best places to live are guest houses.
This according to Kato Kaelin who lived in O.J.’s guest house.
Simpson’s bloody glove discovered behind said house.

Personally, I don’t have a guest house or even a guest room, but if I did I would name it Christopher.
Welcome to the Christopher Guest Room!

If I had a guest room I’d turn it into a talk show.
Tonight my guest is Kato Kaelin.
We will be discussing the shortage of second acts in American lives.

What good is sitting all alone in your guest room, Christopher?
Come out and visit.
Stay awhile.
But not too long.

I fell from my high horse and emerged from a guest room.

Put a television in a guest room and the room will seem more entertaining.
Put a mirror in a guest room and it’ll seem more spacious.
Put a guest in a guest room against their will and then you’ll have a hostage situation.

A guest room without guests is a relief.
A guest room without books is regrettable.
And so, too, is an uninvited guest.
And the only thing worse than an uninvited guest is an uninvited guest room.

A guest room is not unlike a hotel within the home.
A hotel staffed solely by volunteers.

Whenever I sleep in a guest room, even a comfortable one, I wake up feeling disoriented and alarmed.
Does anyone else feel this way?

Wondering if rock stars also trash guest rooms.
(Are there even such things as rock stars anymore?)

Curious as to the contents of these guest room drawers.
Guest room closets.
Searching. Not finding anything here of interest.
These days not finding much of interest, shiftless.
I should just sit and enjoy my status as a “guest.”
But I can’t sit still.

All human evil comes from a single cause, man's inability to sit still in a room.
Said Pascal.
And here I am, fidgeting in this guest room.
I’m fidgeting because I’m anxious.
I’m anxious because I woke up here: disoriented and afraid.
What am I afraid of?
Mostly death.


In a White House guest room, Willie, the 11-year-old son of Abraham and Mary Lincoln, died.

All rooms are guest rooms in the end.
All houses, guest houses.

Let us enjoy our statuses as guests.

Ryan Ridge’s American Homes is forthcoming from Mud Luscious Press.

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