They’re complex
these things we
build our hearts around.
These things we construct
out of lovers leaps.

Communicated in the
silent language of -
        how two bodies fit together
        a familiar smile
        a scent of remembering
Souls recognizing reunion.

These are the mysteries of love.

A cat bugler creeps
between two strange hearts
and finds only their yearning.
And looking into their
underwear drawer discovers
their lust. And in smelling the
insoles of their journey together
the miles they’ve walked.

And through seasons and
doubts and changes of fashion
they discover their relationship,
unearthing a heart painted in a
bold brush stoke and the message,
it has been better to love.


Sometimes when I sit down
to write I place my fingers
just above the key board and
let my mind expand beyond
the confines of my head.
It’s a little relaxation technique
I do. I fill the whole house with
my mind and invite those
things’ floating in the unseen
to come visit. As I do this I
can feel myself get a bit light
headed. Then I remain still and
wait. Like a frog on a lily pad
scanning the sky for a fly to eat.

And I wait.

Sooner or later, I see or feel
something as it comes in for a
landing. I let it rest on my tongue
as I try to figure out what it tastes
like and feels like, and what it might
become if I spend time with it.
Usually it will tell me something about itself,
but more often than
not it remains a mystery until I
follow it with my fingers.


Autumn/Winter Issue

Summer 2004 Issue

Winter 2004 Issue

Summer 2003 Issue


They can’t hear it.
They don’t listen to leaves
in the moon light. The mystical
whisper of branches rubbing.

Funny what happens to a life
when trees start talking to you.
When you hear the voices of your

Editor's Note



I’m tired of being a good Buddhist.
I’d like a few of my old attachments
back. Wrap a tasty wad of anger
around my fist and pound it home.
Just one compassion free day.
A day without detachment,
discernment, impermanence and
right action. I’d let my ex-wife
know that someone is alive in
here and "fuck if I care you’re
a young soul with a tortured past."

Compassion in the hands of a novice
is like wearing a sign on your forehead
saying, "Please beat the shit out of me."
So, come to think of it, I guess I do
have a few nasty attachments dangling
from my purified psyche. Maybe
I ought to kick His Holiness in the God
Damn Ass for putting me in this prison
beneath a Bodhi Tree.

SNR's Writers



The Third Street river is flowing cool
and slow. It’s high and tight on Friday night.

Bum walks by imitating the hype
and clean...but smelling like a bar floor.
He’s something on the
D Battery he’s pressed to the side of his head.
It’s not a tune - he’s not humming.
It’s not a prophetic vision - he’s not glowing.

Bag lady dances near the dumpster looking like
a helium balloon. She’s the gravitational center
of a plastic bag she wears for warmth. A planet
stuffed full of bathroom tissue and old newspapers.

She’s humming...something too.
In her mind she hears a hit parade.

Damp and 50 degrees doesn’t prevent Ms. Candy
Cane from showing off 80% of her six foot frame
with only 8% body fat. Her boyfriend looks nervous
holding this long, lanky love stick. Worried she
might float away like tissue in a soft breeze.

Bums and bunnies drift past me like minstrels in a
marching band. The river is leading me downstream.

(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 2, 2003)

I never thought of it as evolving. At least not like this.
Never thought about when it first raised it’s proud little head.
But a 425-million year old fossil found in Herefordshire, England
changed all that. The oldest record of an animal that was unarguably
male made me stop and take stock. A tiny crustacean, only
two-tenths of an inch long - with an unmistakable penis.

They christened it Colymbosathon Ecplecticos which means
"swimmer with a large penis."

Scientists say it had copulatory organs one-third the length of
its body. Wow. Makes a guy sit back and think about all the
evolutionary outcomes. The cars we’d drive or the clothes we’d

Monkeys became men.
Fish learned to fly.
Penises roamed prehistoric earth.
I guess some things never change.

Charles P. Ries lives and writes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has completed a novel from memory titled The Fathers We Find. His second book of poetry titled Monje Malo Speaks English was published in January 2003 by Foursep Publications. Ries is on the board of the Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee. His poem "Los Huesos" was nominated for a 2003 Push Cart Prize by Anthology. His poems, poetry reviews and short stories have appeared numerous publications. Some of those being: Clark Street Review, Anthology, Clevis Hook Press/Hazmat Review, Iconoclast, Staplegun Press, Iodine, Art:Mag, Lummox Journal, Poetry Motel, Bathtub Gin, Latino Stuff Review and others.

Copyright 2005, Charles P. Ries. This work is protected under the U.S. copyright laws. It may not be reproduced, reprinted, reused, or altered without the expressed written permission of the author.