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: salud.
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: cheers.
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.
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 whirling 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.
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 is the author of "Crude Red Boat" and "The Price of Gravity, both books of poetry; author and illustrator of "Psalms", a book of poetry and art, co-author, (with Sharon Auberle)of "Wind Where Music Was", a book of poems of experience, and he is editor/publisher of several books of prose, poetry, photography, and drawings from Little Eagle Press, which he founded. Ordering information for these books is available from
firstname.lastname@example.org , as is information regarding this site.
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