& Other Mysteries of Love
Charles P. Ries
A full-sized collection of new and selected love poems by four-time Pushcart Prize nominee Charles P. Ries, now available in perfect-bound paperback.
these things we
build our hearts around.”
Times change. People change. Places change. The good and the bad comes and goes. We move in circles; we move in lines; we move in slow motion; we move like hurricanes. The more things change, the more they remain the same. But one thing remains constant through all of time and place:
Girl Friend & Other Mysteries of Love is a meditation on the ebb and flow of love in these changing times. The screw-ups, suck-ups, epiphanies, black holes, celestial awakenings, and confusions of the thing considered mystical to some, and impossible to others. Told from the perspective of a middle-aged lover-in-training, these poems have all the joy and all the pain and all the wonder, but resonate through eyes that have traveled a few miles down that sometimes-lonesome highway of romance.
A book of meaning, wonder, laughter, and tears that women will adore … but don’t be fooled, men, because you’ll root for it, too! Relatable on every level with tales of woe and joy; while the women are smiling in romantic bliss, you men will be wondering where this “guidebook” has been all your lives. Romance is not dead! Knuckleheads still abound! Love, sweet love is still the kindest medicine of them all.
While the young may suffer from love, it takes an experienced traveler to understand what to make of it. Charles P. Ries is guide, guru, therapist, participant, and equal-opportunity opportunist, as well as the blind leading the lost. Yet, through it all, his true north remains love, and his destination remains this singular realization of what it is to be fully alive and human.
I have a girl friend; she’s 40 years older than I.
We say it’s unfair to have met when age and polio
have left her youthfulness behind. When I am with
her, being is like breathing and long silences are as
productive as two-hour conversations. Love often
finds us this way —
Right person, wrong place
Wrong time, right person
Right woman, near death.
She told me that when I am 75, I’ll realize how everything
only gets worse. When the ones you love die, new ones no
longer take their place. But I tell her she’s wrong.
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.
Influences of Light
It happens each early summer.
She backs off her anti-depressants,
thinking more UV rays can substitute
for her drugs. She comes out swinging,
determined to reclaim what is
For a day or a week, she’s a warrior
but quickly fades into a humble,
tumble, pile of bewilderment. (It’s
hard to sustain determination on
just sunlight. Warmth alone isn’t
enough to help you think straight.)
Following her short freedom flight,
she becomes earthbound, a cloud
that hovers low against a county trunk
road — a vaporous curtain that flattens
and abducts you.
But you drive on, and eventually pass
through it, through her. And bring her to
a small hill where you ask her to look
a great distance and remember tomorrow
or yesterday or her true nature with the ease
of her winter-fresh mind.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaWhat others say:
a “In this book, Charles P. Ries successfully turns trope into transcendence. As he debunks the mythology of Cupid with deft humor and insight, Ries simultaneously invokes the nine muses, morphing himself into a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac, an inimitable inamorato brimming with Bodhisattva wit and Casanova charm. Forget all you know about Venus and Mars! Here, you’ll find eros, phileo, and agape kindled in brilliant coalescence, ready for the reverential caress of your mind’s naked eye. Make no mistake, these are poems you’ll want to know by heart.”
Editor/Publisher at Centennial Press and author of Risen and The Misadventures of the Paisley Cowboy
a “Charles’ poems reveal a certain vulnerability as he reflects on his relationships. These poems are written beautifully and have such a unique and quiet voice to them. His search to have the mystery of love answered, is answered. This book is meaningful, sad, witty, intimate, delicate, and extraordinarily good. These poems read like little elegies full of heart. An honesty we all crave.”
Editor/Publisher at Červená Barva Press and author of Blood Soaked Dresses and Nothing Divine Here
a “You’ll want to take Ries’ narrator home and feed him milk and cookies. He’s that adorable. Here’s a man who can laugh at his gender and at himself, at what he appears not to know about the opposite sex. But don’t be deceived. Hidden in the humor between tightly delivered, deadeye lines are truths learned from the experiences of a man who has lived in love’s war zone and survived to show us how it’s possible to diffuse such relationship grenades as divorce, depression, alcoholism, anxiety disorders, and the everyday ammunition triggered by life. And it’s not only the landmine of romantic love that Ries maneuvers, but also platonic, familial, illicit, sexual, and fantasy loves ... even love for his female cat. This is an uplifting read, and at finish you’ll want to toast Ries’ honesty, humor, wisdom, and resilience with something more fitting than milk.”
Poet, Nonfiction writer, Educator, and author of Midlife Muse and Finishing Lines
a “The poems are wonderful! I have never read poetry that was as clever, honest, and beautiful. The images they evoked have really stayed with me. Also, several of the poems made me cry (“First Blood,” “My Cat’s Human,” and “Dear Clara,” in particular). Anyone who has ever struggled with life, love, and relationships will delight in these poems.”
Please direct all inquiries to alt[dot]current[at]gmail[dot]com.