September 16-22, 2002: Charles Ries and Joan Fiddle-Ferder

week of September 16-22, 2002

Charles Ries and Joan Fiddle-Ferder

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Charles Ries

Bio (auto)

Charles P Ries lives and writes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin He is currently working on a biographical memoir titled Riesville about surviving Catholicism while being brought up on a mink farm His book of poetry titled bad monk: neither here nor there was published in January 2002 by Lockout Press His poetry and short stories have appeared in the following publications: SHOES, CLARK STREET REVIEW, ANTHOLOGY, AVOCET, SUPERIOR POETRY NEWS, POP POETS, MUSESKISS E-ZINE,WONDERING PRESS, CLEVIS HOOK PRESS/HAZMAT REVIEW, BARBARIC YAWP, EMOTIONS MAGAZINE, HADROSAUR TALES, FREE VERSE, SNR REVIEW, ARTEMIS JOURNAL, ICONOCLAST, STAPLEGUN PRESS, IODINE, ART:MAG, LUMMOX JOURNAL and POETRY MOTEL.

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Charles Ries and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

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 Liberating tears hurts
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, sailing 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
Monday’s 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.

Eperanza for Pale Face

In San Miguel de Allende
I drink tequila, look at the women,
sit in the churches and sip cafe el negro Angels whisper to me in Spanish,
but I don’t understand them
The women here are godlike Glorious and bronze skinned They love their brown men, but don’t look my way –
Ghost boy is too white Pale face is too dumb to para hablar espanol, except
“Quiero una margarita por favor “

The Indians say San Miguel slew the serpent here In steel breast plates, girded loins and a silver sword Looking feminine, yet firm
When Christ rode into town
the Indians didn’t throw their gods away Pagans make ambivalent Christians Jesus chased the devil out of town one day Seven gods saved them from Jesus the next Time to chase the devil from my mind,
“Quiero una margarita por favor?
Rocks, salt and a cross to hang “

Joan Fiddle-Ferder

Bio (auto)

A native New York kid, Joan moved to the Washington, DC area in the late ’80’s as a network news junkie, working in television production for nearly 16 years Arlington, Virginia, just outside of DC, is now home In between being married to an engineer who works for ABC News, enjoying her nutty five year old boy, Brandon,  as well as starting the adoption of a child from China, she takes voice lessons, acts and in the middle of the night, or,  on her way to the grocery store, spills words in the form of poetry Not published, a startled beginner, she would like to expand her writings into short stories in the future She enjoys playing with words on paper and teasing the English language. 

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Joan Fiddle-Ferder and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

My Father, the Typewriter

That’s what he was, alright A manual Underwood, I believe.  

My father The Pavarotti of paper Wizard of white-out Monster of manuscripts
My father Was an out-of-place
Frayed, straw cowboy hat Man from the West Bronx
While he typed
He wore one
A cowboy hat
Through spring Through fall Through death. 

Bought it in 1966 from
The Woolworth on Broadway Wore it tipped back Crew cut kept it in place Nothing could knock it off. 
Blizzards tried Hudson River winds Nesting birds
Heh Cowboy He never rode a horse in his entire life
Wrote books Won nominations Pulitzer, even News interviews
Big deal Never won me
Typed my name in a book Once
His keys kicked His carriage rode across
Streets of cobblestone words In the dark In the light In the dawn In the dust of his daddy-hood
He sat at a worn, picnic table
Covered with black and white
Waterproofed wishes to
Be someplace else He wantonly watched the freighters go
Up river while tapping keys
Maybe he shifted the day
I was born Maybe he was there Maybe he returned. 
I can’t tab back that far But, I can tell you,
There wasn’t a bottle of white out
Big enough for him to ____ me out
He typed with one eye Yesiree A blind-writer A game of army football
Backspaced the other eye
Right smack into his head
Yesiree Spring of 1945
He wore a fake eye Blue glass Matched the good one Kept them in the typewriter ribbon box They eyed the inventory
I found them gazing at me when
He left them out in the bathroom Frozen glares I knocked into the sink
And watched slide down the drain
In our posh, Bronx apartment
His body was keyed up Pitched forward
The write typer.   

Through kindergarten Through camp Through adolescence Through beatings Through abortions
In blizzards In river winds In cognito
My father
He’s gone now Died in 1980 Sentences silenced Keys cremated
I wear the cowboy hat now The queen of the Compaq computer Verbose vampiress Witch of Word 2000
Heh At least, I have ridden a horse.

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