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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review of Three Poems by Ross Runfola

Like a solitary glass of draft beer, poetry needs attention. In this elegant looking but gritty chapbook of three relatively short poems by Ross Runfola, each piece gets the attention it deserves. Herein the poet speaks to games and the violence they induce, flat beer, and crotch-sniffing dogs. Let us deal with flat beer first.

Some of you may indeed marvel at how, in a twenty-two ounce glass of blueberry beer, the blueberries seem motivated to rise and fall of their own accord, their propulsion systems and their quantum methodologies among life’s greater mysteries. Others, including myself, are purists and eschew blueberry beer. We prefer our beer without fruit or other zesty ingredients cruelly added during spring’s onset or in the midst of a heartless summer. An appropriate and expected one inch (read two fingers) head in either a zany lager or stern ale usually enhances the inspiration value so coolly and happily delivered. But even a flat beer, that is, one criminally under carbonated, can for our purposes lead to a prayerful and profound meditational experience.

Runfola in his poem, Magic Glass, understands these principals. He describes a working class type of guy, an understated average fellow, and gent whose body has turned the final corner and now revolts against years of youthful, unthinking pleasures and indiscretions. He describes him this way,

A work shirt with mud on the left sleeve

Glasses with huge frames that were never fashionable

Yellow fingers from smoking too many cigarettes

A pair of well worn black Harley Davidson boots

A raspy smoker’s cough…

Yes, this man hacking away, sitting next to the poet’s persona at the bar, seeks metaphysical meaning. The poet explains,

Staring in his beer glass for almost an hour

As if it is a crystal ball

Is he pondering the existence of God

Bemoaning the end of a relationship

Being laid off from a job

Thinking about his son in Iraq


Is he pissed off because his beer is flat.

Of course the beer glass can function as a crystal ball. Every serious drinker knows this and on occasion has received hints of future calamities or unexpected successes. For more of my review of Three Poems go here:  http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2012/05/three-poems-by-ross-runfola.html

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