I'd Rather Be Mexican, 2005; free download: literati.net/Ries/charles-ries-books.htm
The Last Time, Moon Printing and Publications 2005 - $3.00
Odd, Four-Step Publications, (second printing) 2004 - $6.00
The Fathers We Find: The Making of a Pleasant Humble Boy, (Prose) Bad Monk Press 2004 - $13.00
Monje Malo Speaks English, Four-Step Publications, (third printing) 2003 - $6.00
Bad Monk: Neither Here Nor There, Lockout Press/Four-Step Publications, 2001 - $6.00
He tried to fill the hole—find
the center of what fell out of him
fifteen minutes before midnight
on the day he was born.
It was his benign tumor. A sickness
that wouldn’t kill him. At night,
before sleep entered his room,
before twilight clouds brushed
his eyes closed, he’d reach
inside and wonder why he was
made this way. A mutation with an
unnatural lightness of being.
His condition went undetected except
when the wind blew through him,
causing his shirt to billow like a sail,
and a high-pitched whistle to emit from
within him. A sound only a dog’s ears
To himself, he was invisible:
tissue-paper thin, weightless and
lacking substance. Most days he
felt he wasn’t even standing on
earth. But he wanted to.
He theorized that a heart must hold the
universe and weigh ten thousand
pounds. It is a heart that keeps
feet on the floor.
Nothing mattered to this untethered,
floating pilgrim but finding a cure
for his gaping hole. A yearning he
did not acknowledge until the day
he became firmly rooted in her.
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
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 hair stylist
Gerta saw it all against her inner astral cineplex.
Guild at Barnes & Noble in Rockford, Illinois
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.