Juice

Juice

by Charles Springer

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Overview

Charley's Juice takes you to a world that is so real it's fake, so fake it's real, and so fantastical you can't figure out if you are coming or going. Deep sadness mingles with slapstick and everyone is getting up and going to work in the underbelly of Heaven. Juice is a magical joyride on a spaceship made of dust and stars, cobwebs and takeout boxes, fenders and a little hay that shoots us straight to a carnival of hyperrealism, where the side show is a mirror into our souls. Look in. You may think the mirror is warped, but let me tell you, it's not. Read Juice and read America in all its rusty, neon, prairied, and salt-stained glory. REBECCA KINZIE-BASTIAN - Author of Charms for Finding

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781947548664
Publisher: Regal House Publishing
Publication date: 10/04/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 102
File size: 897 KB

About the Author

Charles (Charley) Springer has degrees in anthropology and is an award-winning painter. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he has published in over seventy journals including The Cincinnati Review, Edison Literary Review, Faultline, Oxford Magazine, Packingtown Review, Passager, Tar River Poetry and the Windsor Review. He writes from the family farm in Caldwell, Pennsylvania. Juice is his first collection of poems.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

To Florida

Just this once I'd like to drive straight through.
Break only for a fill up, quick piss.
Have someone wide awake beside me,
an elbow in my ribs when I'd drift across the double yellows.
We'd take our time,

Eastern Standard Time,
no rush, no rage.
And every now and then,
my someone at the wheel,
I'd raise up through the moon roof,
feel what breeze feels long before it's gale.
Coast,
never come to complete stops,
no matter how octagonal or red the signs.


Packin'

Again, the girl forgot the ketchup.
Who eats fries without the ketchup? Who?


What are diners coming to?

Take church!
Who goes without a piece?
Prayers end in booms.
Empty cartridges clink in collection plates.

Ceilings of nearly every building leak.
No wonder roofers get shot up the most:
easy targets up there on their slates.

Where's the yellow mustard?
Who's got the gall to swipe the salt?


Glad I wore my Kevlar.
Still I tip big walking out.


Breaking the News

Chet's on Ativan for everyday he knows today could be the one,
tonight right after Letterman,
beer number seven.

It's not so good to mix elixirs,
lager and lorazepam,
then both hands always full or always empty's not good either

as he slowly gets the feeling back in his toes, jumps up off the couch to join the pigtailed Prozac taker polkaing down the country lane of commercial breaks,

clover and Holsteins on both sides feeding each other,
Chet, clueless why nothing out here smells like shit or ever has to.


Chicken Little

Going nowhere in particular, I run my best ahead of jets unzipping sky.

Something always happens just as they're over the equator

and I am yards outside of my perimeter.
Maybe it has rained or a spell of freak hail.

For sure the air above is borrowed and my years old.

When jets are done and sky is yawning,
a smoky trail shows up. Then doesn't.

One of these tomorrows the sky is going to start to want things back.

I begin with little pieces by pieces as recommended by my astronomer.

I pick up hitchhikers with litter in their pockets,
broken glass inside their backpacks.

I am good for months or miles. When over,
the sky will have my reach around it.


Atlas

Pull the curtains back and there it is,
the Northern Hemisphere.
Walk outside on the spiral lawn and there it is going down the road.
A day begins.
Get on with it.

Supersonic pilot neighbor flies around the world several times at top speed and gets his week in early.
He leaves his heart in 37° 37' N latitude,
122° 23' W longitude, singing.

Foggy days neighbor on the cul-de-sac starts up her SUV with GPS to tell her where she is.
Costly extras include a printout of just how far she's come.

Can't remember who in New Hampshire has a combo walking stick/dowsing rod but every evening someone finds Roy, yup, that's him, Roy, at the ocean.

Kids don't get car sick now their dads aren't going in circles. Not going is like that in some places.
Take Nebraska.

Where's that good old paper map that smells like fuel?
Best visit little towns before they wear away inside its folded corners.

In days to come, ones we do not love or even know will worry we'll stop by before they're dressed. By then there'll be no place to go we won't know how to get to.
What good is going if we can't get lost in in Mississippi?


Walks

Hawk walks the sky on I-beams.
Looks down doesn't throw up!

Just one of those things you either can or can't do. Lately it takes all I got

to walk to and from my hotdog stand there on the corner. Hawk

triples mustard. Talks over crickets in his ears. I see

faraway in his eyes, his home upstate,
on clear days clear to Pennsylvania.

I tell him many of my ancestors there walked in and out of earth for coal.

He gets shaky just thinking of walking in and out of earth.

I hand a relished footlong to a sailor here for a little R & R

and can't hold back. Nor Hawk. So, sailor,
how do you walk out there on water?


New Jersey

The Browns are found dumb with the disappearance of their white cow in the Pine Barrens.

How she went unnoticed by everyone except the neighbor's beagle among the drying bed sheets

they don't know.
How she mazed through fleets of anonymous service vans,

brides at the 24-hour chapel/diner they don't know.
Neighbor's beagle broke its chain,

chains of its beagle pals and off they strode down Black Horse Pike.

Browns believe they'll find her when they go fishing off the Boardwalk.

How can we not, they ask, how can we not just love New Jersey?


Appalachia

Under us still millions of mammals

millions of years old in the rock.

Even before sun's up,
chinking starts.
Old giants

come apart at their seams. Giants with incisors and scales,
giants with molars and hair or fur, tails.

Cords of their long bones are trucked down the highway to museums.

Pieces patch gaps in timbers of shanties.

Above them, above rock,
clouds make themselves into mammoths into moles into molecules

rain older than rock.


Day the Moon Was Out All Day

Sunday, and a beautiful day for a drive so I drive to Montana and while there, I pick up a buffalo.
Always wanted one in my backyard, you know,
to keep the grass on the short side and stave off strays.
I help him into the backseat of my Impala.
He fits snuggly I might add and as we are cutting through southern South Dakota, I hear sobbing. I ask if he needs me to stop so he can get out and get air but he says it's too late. He no longer roams.
Not since the massacres. Besides, he goes on,
he never felt happier than right now, right here in my backseat and his tears, his tears are joy tears.
And when we get home, can I live in your car till I die, he asks, and then will you bury me in it when I'm gone. I tell him, sure, why not, you bet,
it's a deal, and just as he asks me to shake on it,
he grabs hold of the wheel and runs into a tree.
Not to worry. It was hardly the last on the planet.


Traveling Show

Penny's repeatedly drawing her drapes.
Neighbor Alberta swears Penny is sending signals and immediately phones the police. They're there in an instant, stick around for an hour,
say, next time, they'll bring along the kids.

Backyard's been Penny's stage ever since she saw Cirque.
Her acts change so fast she can hardly keep up.
Birds flock and scatter, squirrels juggle nuts,
cats dangle from branches, dogs swallow themselves,
the occasional pachyderm spins upside down on one foot.

Penny's Burt finally cries out, enough!
He rings up the ringmasters in Las Vegas and Quebec.
Level it, they say, so Burt gets out the dozer.
Penny tries the drapes in the Winnebago. They work!
Gotta go on the road when it gets in your blood!


Accounting Major

Rose one morning and the spreadsheet sky opted to be clear and so I let it.

Then just before my egg, a cloud somewhat substandard eked out of the azure while I still had only one leg in some trousers.

Down on the street two men in hurries entered both sides of their Chevys.
Answered, what if no tomorrows?

Anything can happen when you drink spilled coffee from the saucer.

Down at the Minit Mart a dog with four more legs had been bitten by a spider.
Next week he'll splash page five of The Enquirer.

Out on the cloverleaf I circle.
Additions multiplying in the subdivisions total.


Riding with Fred

I wedge in among adjustable wrenches,
gas rags, ringlets of tire chains weighing down what's barely floorboards

as we almost must pedal, if there were pedals,
to get anywhere. Through holes everywhere I see outside not even trying to get in.

Yes, there's dust and puddle splash,
purpled leaves and pebbles. Don't forget pebbles,
I hear him say. What he wants to say

with his gas pedal play and oversteering is you'll only get everywhere going like this as he runs down the yield sign on the roundabout.


Going Anywhere

Do you know the way to San Jose?
asks Dionne in a song.
I always wanted her to sing about Cape Cod but then somebody already had.
I think Dionne lends a certain je ne sais quoi to the art of how to get places.
I think more of us could get to where we're going more melodically

if occasionally we'd let ourselves get lost in song. Then not everybody has the voice of inquiry like Dionne.
Not everybody knows how to open themselves up,
let parts of the geographically known world in.
Only few of us can sing like we're going anywhere.


Becoming Legend

At some point in their lives just about everybody wants to go to Hollywood to see stars. My point

is now! Just turned sixty, and as the pilot announces we're about to land in LA, I hear a big W H O O S H

and everywhere outside my window I see seaweed,
not palm trees. Others on board see seaweed too.

I'm here to see stars and I'll be darned if that isn't young Lloyd Bridges from Sea Hunt snorkeling

with a dolphin and there, Jack Cousteau, skinny and French as ever, and no, it can't be, it is,

it's Miss Esther Williams doing her famous butterflies,
and oh my gosh, I can hardly believe my eyes,

I see other planes out there buzzing around, diving and swimming with mantas and hammerhead sharks

and the gi-normous finbacks, one with a baby, and look,
look, it's the giant squid Architeuthis everyone has been

wanting to get a glimpse of. The pilot comes on again and tells us we can now deboard and thank you

for flying Ocean Air. I make my way to the carousel. Where did these sunglasses I'm looking through come from?

And all of the flash bulbs and people with pens?
Oh, Miss Merman, it's so wonderful to see you again!


Make Do

Sue wants to have a near-death experience before she goes to the dentist and then shopping.

She wants to see who comes to her rescue and will they get grossed out

by her tartar buildup and holey T.
Then who among them would not lift a finger

or put their lips to hers, pump her heart?
She'll watch the whole thing from above

like she's sitting on the ceiling. When she comes back,
that's if she does, she'll write a book and share

excerpts on Dr. Phil. Truth is, temporarily,
Sue's lost her smile and could use a ride to the mall.


Tripping

Mars is in the mirror again and you are so up in the air about the weather and whether to fly or drive to Richmond.

It's not until Thursday either will happen but you know how nervous deep sleep can get when end-of-tunnel light starts

strobing and the circuitry inside walls starts chording and cat's shadow can be seen crossing the ceiling and then is when I'd start

unpacking.
Let Richmond come to you.

CHAPTER 2

Deed

House has been nudging her all week to sharpen something.
Before it burns down or gets condemned or shuffled by a twister,
it wants to dictate in not so many words its memoir.

She laughs right in its front porch.
Who wants to hear about multiple gables?
What shack or shanty on some back street gives a shingle?
But since it's sheltered her all these many years,
she tells it, go ahead, spill.

Truth comes out creak by creak.
Who would have guessed you were hospice in the war?
Whorehouse after

when the mine reopened?
A church when the church fell to its knees in a fire?
Crack house for two months at the start of the new century?

She gets it down on paper,
paginated for an agent to flip through.
Find pop, curb appeal,
irregardless of location.
List it a best seller.


Debunkers

Bob lives in a house with a bear out every window. When he opens the plantation shutters in the bedroom,
a bear. When he parts the café curtains in the pantry,
a bear. When he casts his eyes upward through the skylight in the den,
a bear. A bear on the porch this morning with its paw poised to ring. Bob lets him in,
offers him the recliner near the flat screen,
even flicks it on for him and the bear fractures what looks like a big bear grin, doesn't bristle when Bob tries out his own big bear hug.

TV Land's running a Gentle Ben marathon sponsored by Smokey and his slogan.
Bear leaks out Goldilocks was a bottle blonde and a little spoiled to boot. As for Ben being gentle, he too was on the bottle.
Old Smokey was a nobody until somebody discovered a body fit for denim and flannel.

All of Bob's fantasies were debunked.
Chair bear exits, never to be heard from again.
His work in Bob's little gingerbread was done.


Just Looking

Upon arrival I walk beneath it.
Make several unnecessary trips

to his half bath down the hall so I can wink at it. Not once,

not yet, do I stop directly under,
look up into it. In his living room

I take a seat from where I will be facing it. During conversation

my eyes grow big at it. My mouth hangs open like a bucket

made to catch its drips, if it drips.
When asked if I'd like water, I say

no, a ladder, and he puts one under it.
I climb. He asks, you want to

dust it? Then's when I find myself as far away as I can get from it.


West Hollywood

Who comes into your house and tilts the shades on all your fixtures,
looks in at the bulbs?
A watt inspector maybe?

At Sal's house, it's the termite guy,
the pizza guy but not the Chinese takeout guy,
the cable guy who makes a night of it.
When summer comes, Sal takes off all the shades,

replaces standard bulbs with tinted shaped like pears and mangoes,
bananas for the chandelier and matching sconces.
Neighbors looking in with pointed fingers

tastefully agree. There, you see!
Sal must say he does and for the first time making house a home,
he is going organic.


Turning Tables

Mr. & Mrs. go to church to meet the Lord and then to Lowe's to show Him cupboards they would like Him to construct, give

that special touch He's got for turning poplar into something it isn't. Just for us, they plead,
even when He tells them they are barking

up the wrong tree, that not that long ago He gave up soft sawdust under His feet for burning sand and sharp gravel. Just this once,

bring out Your saw, Your hammer. We need the perfect kitchen to stir up masterpieces.
Lord said He couldn't remember when

He last had a home-cooked meal, let alone a little something for later. He'd have to think it over.
So He sits a minute with His head bowed

in the bed of their brand new pickup. He asks if maybe He can go along home with them for supper,
and to measure. They say, hmm, maybe later,

and then the Lord says He'll spring for all the fish sticks they can eat down at Long John Silver's.
Mr. & Mrs. confess it just doesn't get any better.


Out of Water

I want to live by the sea.
I want to be the side in seaside.

Currently I'm living in exile.
You are living in exile too

but don't know it yet. You still have a job. I don't.

I tell you that's all going to change soon. Catch of the Day comes

sooner than later and I'm a good scaler. Diners hate

pulling scales to the sides of their plates. They love

however to quibble over wine.
Me, I drink anything wet.

Once I drank juice from a box.
Neighbor right next to me

sleeps in a box,
sounds like a wave crashing.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Juice"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Charles Springer.
Excerpted by permission of Regal House Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Praise for Juice,
Juice,
Copyright © 2019 Charles Springer. All rights reserved.,
To my brothers,
One,
To Florida,
Packin',
Breaking the News,
Chicken Little,
Atlas,
Walks,
New Jersey,
Appalachia,
Day the Moon Was Out All Day,
Traveling Show,
Accounting Major,
Riding with Fred,
Going Anywhere,
Becoming Legend,
Make Do,
Tripping,
Two,
Deed,
Debunkers,
Just Looking,
West Hollywood,
Turning Tables,
Out of Water,
Gold,
Tree Falls in Sherwood,
Wrecking Ball,
A Life on the Road,
Pyrogyro,
Battle Grounds,
Local Report,
Three,
Moves,
Juice,
Dreamboat,
Hookey,
Flower Power,
In Season,
Last Call,
Different Directions,
Wonders,
Postcard from Vermont,
Less Is Milk,
That You, Dawn?,
Call It Kiss,
Laughing,
Hot Sake Breath,
Win Win,
Suburban Pastoral,
Four,
Practicing Medicine,
The Resonance in Magnetic,
Remedial,
Birder,
Bruised Patella,
Dementia,
Building a Better Mouse,
Unsung,
Says Words,
On Bending Knee,
Presence,
Down Main,
Meteorology of Me,
Five,
Flying Objects,
For Ages,
Behind Glass,
Crib Note,
Special Delivery,
The Two Armstrongs,
Peninsulaville,
Whereabouts,
Son Time,
What, A Day,
Night to Remember,
Reward,
Very Last Body of Water,
New Ark,
Last Wishes,
Acknowledgments,

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