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 Rejection No redemption In the modern world Alone 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
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