Saturday, September 11, 2004


by Charles P. Ries

In San Miguel de Allende
I drink tequila, look at the women,
sit in the churches and sip cafe el negro.
Angels whisper to me in Spanish,
but I don’t understand them.

The women here are godlike.
Glorious and bronze skinned.
They love their brown men, but don’t look my way -
Ghost boy is too white.
Pale face is too dumb to para hablar espanol, except
"Quiero una margarita por favor."

The Indians say San Miguel slew the serpent here.
In steel breast plates, girded loins and a silver sword.
Looking feminine, yet firm.

When Christ rode into town
the Indians didn’t throw their gods away.
Pagans make ambivalent Christians.
       Jesus chased the devil out of town one day.
       Seven gods saved them from Jesus the next.

Time to chase the devil from my mind,
"Quiero una margarita por favor?"
rocks, salt, and a cross to hang on please.

Charles P. Ries lives and writes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has completed a novel based on memory titled, The Fathers We Find: The Making of a Humble, Pleasant Boy. His second book of poetry titled Monje Malo Speaks English was published in January 2003 by Foursep Publications. Information about his third book, A Perfect Place, can be found at: . Ries is on the board of the Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee. His work was nominated for a 2003 Pushcart Prize by Anthology. Also in 2003 his poetry won top honors in the 30th Annual Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest and the 2nd Annual Milwaukee.Com Poetry Contest. His poems, poetry reviews and short stories have appeared in over seventy print and electronic publications, including: Clark Street Review, Free Verse, Staplegun Press, Latino Stuff Review, Wordriot, Circle Magazine, Pearl, Philadelphia Poets, Pidjin, Thunder Sandwich, Wisconsin Review, Halfdrunk Muse, Remark, Pitchfork, Zygote in my Coffee, Pudding Magazine, TMPoetry, and Ink Pot. He can be reached at: and at .


I'm interested in considering your "poems of place" for publication in The Middlewesterner's "Saturday's Poem" feature; send two or three of your best in the body of an e-mail addressed to . Put "Saturday's Poem" in the subject line. Then be patient. I will get back to you about whether I'll use your work or not. Send along a short biographical note and information about where your books can be purchased and I'll include that when your poem runs. There's no payment involved for having your work appear in "Saturday's Poem," but the feature is seen by some high class readers. About twenty-seven of them, by our current count.

o Harriet Brown, "Speaking Midwestern" and "Where We Went" - July 10, 2004
o Robin Chapman, "By the Wisconsin River" - June 12, 2004
o Karl Elder, "In a Town Called Unincorporated" - August 28, 2004
o Susan Firer, "The Bright Waterfall of Angels" - August 14, 2004
o R. Chris Halla, "My Prairie Wedding" - June 5, 2004
o Karla Huston, "Night Swim" and "Summer Storm" - July 31, 2004
o Loren Kleinman, "Formaggio" and "Jetsam" - July 24, 2004
o Jim Reese, "Ritual" and "Willing and Ready" - May 29, 2004
o John Rezmerski, "What I Am Trying to Tell You: Prairie in My Mouth" and "Some Good Things Left After the War With the Sioux" - August 21, 2004
o Robert Schuler, "Thaw, 2003, Stanton Township" and "The American Millenium" - June 26, 2004
o Shoshauna Shy, "Compensation for a Sun-burned Hiker" and "The Best Way to Read Lorine Niedecker's Poems" - September 4, 2004
o Judith Strasser, "Apostle Islands History" and "County Road" - July 17, 2004
o Marilyn Taylor, "Surveying the Damage" - June 19, 2004
o Complete index to poems here

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