Tuesday, October 17, 2006



Charles P. Ries, Poetry by.........Charles P. Ries (Poet).....





BIRCH STREET

Sitting on the porch outside my walk up with Elaine

watching the Friday night action on Birch Street.

Southside’s so humid the air weeps.

Me and Elaine are weeping too.

Silent tears of solidarity.

She’s so full of prozac she can’t sleep and

I’m so drunk I can’t think straight.

Her depression and my beer free our tears

from the jail we carry in our hearts.

Neighbors and strangers pass by in the water vapor.

Walking in twos and fours. Driving by in souped up

cars and wrecks. Skinny, greased up gang bangers

with pants so big they sweep the street and girl friends

in dresses so tight they burn my eyes.

I can smell Miguel’s Taco Stand. Hear the cool

Mexican music he plays. Sometimes I wish Elaine

were Mexican. Hot, sweet and the ruler of my passion,

but she’s from North Dakota, a silent state where

you drink to feel and dance and cry.

Sailing, drifting down Birch street. Misty boats,

street shufflers and senioritas. Off to their somewhere.

I contemplate how empty my can of beer is and

how long can I live with a woman who cries all day.

Mondays are better. I sober up and lay lines for the

Gas Company. Good clean work. Work that gives me

time to think about moving to that little town in central

Mexico I visited twenty years ago before Birch Street,

Elaine and three kids nailed my ass to this porch.

WHY I GAVE UP WRITING

AND JOINED THE CIRCUS

I left it all; the paper and pens, publishers

and agents who could not love my inner

fantasy and joined the circus.

The make-up, big nose and fancy pants

helped me overcome my feelings of

obscurity. I created an identity grander

than my literary art. I now have something

worth writing about.

I married the fat lady, she gave birth to

a midget; I learned to swallow swords,

made friends with a contortionist who

told me to turn my pens into pretzels,

and live like a real man.

EXIT STRATEGY

Elaine took me to her German psychic,

as expected, she saw everything.

Our bad days and our glories.

The history of the times and species;

we have been together

for generations.

Realizing how long I have been with Elaine

made me feel tired – I didn’t realize we’d been

working things out for over 400 years.

That’s a long time to accommodate a sentient being,

I don’t care what form I was in; me as:

Her cat

Her dog

Her sister

Her butler

Her mother

Her hair stylist

Gerta saw it all against her inner astral cineplex.

I didn’t know I was once a charming pistol packing pescalero

a handsome Mexican bandit who charmed Elaine

(in an earlier even more succulent form)

to indulge my desires.

Irresistible under a vast pecan tree.

My sombrero tossed casually to the side

The Milky Way strung over our heads.

I pick the flower she willingly offers me.

We melt into the warm night – two sentient beings

as happy as two sentient beings could ever be.

She, the sheriff’s daughter

virgin, sixteen, flawless

filled with secret flames

Me, hanging from a pecan tree

limp, twitching, forlorn

looking a bit bewildered

My sombrero tossed hurriedly to the side

Too many lives to hold in one small boat.

Yet on we sail, east to paradise

fighting our way toward enlightenment,

the only exit strategy

for two weary souls.

FICTIONS

You will love me forever, until you became

bored with predictability and leave me

for a man who plays board games and

grows the best pot you ever smoked

After being beaten

my belief in mother love falters

only eleven years old

and exhausted by her love

I simply forgive

Even animals must flee when frightened

Falling out of mind

into life

they are orphans

Mysteries of mind leaving me silent

as I await further direction

WHERE I’M FROM

Corn fields line the lake shore

Corner bars, cheddars lament, cheese wiz

Pig fat, french fried, double dipped, deep fried

Just about anything editable

RIGHT WORDS

Amazing how

her words

clear me.

How her

insight can

dispel shadows.

Magic spells

simple and

economic.

Aspirin for

my confusion.

____________________________________

Charles P. Ries lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His narrative poems, short stories, interviews and poetry reviews have appeared in over one hundred and fifty print and electronic publications. He has received three Pushcart Prize nominations for his writing and most recently read his poetry on National Public Radio’s Theme and Variations, a program that is broadcast over seventy NPR affiliates. He is the author of THE FATHERS WE FIND, a novel based on memory. Ries is also the author of five books of poetry — the most recent entitled, The Last Time which was released by The Moon Press in Tucson, Arizona. He is the poetry editor for Word Riot (www.wordriot.org), a contributing editor to both Andwerve (www.andwerve.com) and Pass Port Journal (www.passportjournal.org). He is on the board of the Woodland Pattern Bookstore (www.woodlandpattern.org) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Most recently he has been appointed to the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. You may find additional samples of his work by going to: http://www.literarti.net/Ries/

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