Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Starry Eve

on a new year's eve

always the same stars shining

and always

our search for more

- arem

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Toast

Simply brimming over with holiday spirit, so I propose this modest . . .


To the hackneyed heroes and the knock-kneed novices
(you know who you are),
to the youth carded at the front door
and the elders discarded at the back:
I raise my glass.

To the crap-shooters and the bull-shitters,
the card players and the played,
to the couple in the corner who are lookin’ to get laid:
here’s to ya’.

To the lonely,
to the lonely:
here’s to ya’.

To the one who’ll mop the bar-room floor
and the one who’ll clean the toilets:

To the blue-suited barristers from the blue-eyed ‘burbs
(there, but for the grace of God . . .),
to the cheerleaders and the cheerless,
to the peerless and the powerful
and the jury of your peers:

To the ones who make the headlines,
to the ones who give them ink,
to the one who does the nursing
and the one who’ll fix the sink up:
drink up.

To the surgeons and sailors
and the ones who work high steel,
to the painters and the busboys
and the ones who beg a meal:
wind at your back.

To the one who lost a lover,
the one who lost some weight,
the one who got a boob job
so she could get a date:
here’s lookin’ atcha.

To the ones who take it easy
and the ones who never will,
to the ones who just can’t take it,
to the driver at the wheel,
to the driven, to the cattle,
the distiller at his still,
to the loser of the battle
and the miller at his mill:
may you find peace.

To the innocent:
may you find peace.

To the ones who’ll just get by,
to the bystanders and the glad-handers
and the terminally shy:
may you be blessed.

And to all the rest:
may you be blessed,
may you be blessed.

- Ralph Murre

. . . and to all a good night

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Book Review

There's a new book on the shelf that I reserve for the fine work of my friends over at Cross + Roads Press. Not that I expect Saturday Nights at the Crystal Ball to spend much time on the shelf. Far too much good material to set it aside for long.

Poet Sharon Auberle, on the surface, tells the story of her mother's last days on this earth; that of a woman who danced her way through an uneasy life. Anyone who's ever lost a parent, or ever will, can benefit from the reading. Just beneath the surface, the writer finds other tales about to finally break into daylight: the story of a father who left early, in a time when that was the exception; the subsequent effects on the lives and loves of the author and her mother; the perhaps too quickly passed judgements all around; all told in the voice of an accomplished artist of the written word, and through it all, there is the dance. In "Spring Came Late That Year", we read:

Maggie danced
the night Edward left
her baby girl
about the kitchen
their mingled tears
spinning out
bouncing off windows
like the freezing rain
falling that night

and later, in Legacy:

What my mother left me
was not dancing shoes
or diamond rings
or bad luck with men

it was the way she stood
so straight
barely reaching my shoulder
but tall
on days when life
bends most people low

and that quickstep of hers
forward always
to music only she could imagine

Sharon Auberle is storyteller enough to find and relate what is unique in her life. She is poet enough to show us what is universal. She has deftly tackled subject matter that in lesser hands could have been maudlin, even trite -- but has triumphed in a way that elevates us. Her luck in collaborating with editor/publisher Norbert Blei assured an elegant book to stand beside the thirty others from his press. Blei's decision to reproduce pages from the author's journal, written in the days immediately preceding her mother's demise, was a brilliant one, giving us a very palpable connection to the writer in a time of vulnerability juxtaposed with great strength.

The book is Saturday Nights at the Crystal Ball, by Sharon Auberle, ISBN 978-1-889460-21-5, $12 from Cross + Roads Press, P.O. Box 33, Ellison Bay, WI, USA, 54210 and don't forget to slide them a couple of bucks for the postman & the packaging.

- Ralph Murre

Friday, December 12, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Good Horse

Snow Devils, with their whirling, dance
Winter down from somewhere North,
dance Winter down from somewhere.
Ah, Little Horse, with your cocksure stance,
ready to bravely venture forth
and dance me down to somewhere,
this is where I must be,
where the wind and the sea
and the sky dance down.
Where the wind and the sea
and the sky dance down;
this somewhere.

- Ralph Murre

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Chris Aaron Band

Leadman finding
silver threads
among the blue
Baseman, thin and wiry
as the neck
of his guitar
Drum man, solid
laying back
for now, just for now
And now
oh man
And now
Sally ride Sally ride
in that hot light
in that hot night
where all you want to do
is rock
~ RM