Other Poems by:

Charles P. Ries

Web Home of Charles P. Ries

I live in the basement
beneath the footsteps.
The furnace whistles to me on cold days.
The washing machine hums to me at night. 

My ex-wife lives one floor above,
10,000 miles away.
My daughters with wings
sail between heaven and earth.
Getting honey from the clouds
and iron from the brown soil. 

My possessions are ideas.
My lovers names all rhyme.
My conquests are fictionalized. 

The shadow side of  home sweet home,
where a giant prowls naked 
beneath the floor and ideas
grow during intercourse. 


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.


Lover's kiss, 

Snow White

Stays stone cold


No redemption

In the modern world



Without air

Minding wrong things

Circling voices

Pin pricking me 

Bled red


As I jump

Imaginary arms

Catch me

So free to fly

So far to fall



Academic hack turned carpenter,

blistering nails instead of prose.

Loved the barber shop and menthols,

Ape man - angel hearted.


Bell rang, third grade poured onto hot asphalt.

Master of the play ground,

recess never ending.

Woo's wonderland - king of kick ball.


Junkie monkey man

Herion, methadone, ho hum.

River rat playing at the sugar shack.

Dead eyes turned toward heaven.

Go quietly into the night Big Bad Woo.


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/ .
More Charles Ries Works

Copywrite 2006 Charles Ries, All rights reserved.

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