Sunday, March 24, 2013

Girl Friend and other Mysteries of Love by Charles P. Ries

Girl Friend
& other
Mysteries of Love
New and Selected Poems
Charles P. Ries
Propaganda Press
ISBN 9780615764344
2013 $11.99

“It's broken now. Fallen to a floor
that does not care about possibilities.
Placed in a closet of lost things,
it's a testimony that our passion
had no privilege...”

The poems touch everyday; relationships made easy, on paper, in a poem. Ries is a magician, he pulls love from each word juxtaposition, “filled with sweet flames,” the poems wear old shoes and worn shirts. We relax into the book, like a glass of wine or a beer warms us:

“...Life dealt us its cruel card. We won't be jumping into
flaming beds with the passion of young bodies. Rather,
I will roll her wheelchair or lift her off the ground when
she topples over. I will be happy to hold her in my heart
as a perfect moment when love blew through the right
window at the wrong time.”

We are not lulled into a lullaby, or tricked by sweet talk and blowing on our ear. We wake up startled by dreams and, “pretending the zit on my nose wasn't as big as a condo,” Ries mixes humor and the mean places we may end up when we fall; all his encounters, from the mundane, to the spiritual, “the constant erection, forgetfulness, and tears. Everywhere was a bed.” Girlfriend & Other Mysteries of Love, fill our glass. Love becomes every emotion, love flies and love returns us to ourselves and love makes mistakes and forgives and eats pizza alone:

“...Years later, after she dried out, moved
away, began to live in real time and
remember her days, she made friends
with life and walked the middle road
between drunks and born-again Christians.
She discovered she could zap pain
away with a flick of her forefinger.
She liked doing this better than
drinking and began to live dangerously...”

There are many girl friends. Ries writes with eyes wide open. The reader participates in all the poems:

“...When I saw her, she wept in sorrow.
Her tongue was heavy with anti-anxiety,
anti-depressant, anti-psychotic drugs she
calls her Vitamin Z. She sounded like I do
on too many beers, but without my
cheery, drunken disposition. “I want to
kill myself. I am sick of being a weirdo-
cripple-psycho-handicapper,” she moaned...” 

This is a wonderful book. Love and those that find love and love coming and going, yet stays on the page in this book-- not to be missed.

Irene Koronas
Reviewer: Ibbetson Street Press

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