Heaven, Hell and Magical Soup
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Belletristik / Lyrik, Dramatik
Poems and the stories they tell are such a rich way to reach the heart of things. Such are the magical stories of Joe Williams’ book, Heaven, Hell and Magical Soup.Joe is a singer, songwriter, performer, house builder, and holder of sacred ceremony. I have had the pleasure of knowing him since he played and sang at the memorial service of a friend’s brother. I got even better acquainted when he did some repairs and renovations to my home. We started with a very small list to which I kept adding until he had worked for me for what seems like the whole summer. I am sharing this because Joe made even renovation easy. And that is a sense that comes flowing out of the stories and poems in this collection. Not that some of the stories don’t have a bite to them, a little squirm because he shows the side of ourselves that we like to pretend isn’t there.His characters are Ragmen. The Ragman is a character Joe performs from which he extracts the dark underbelly of society. Ragman tells of that place we prefer not acknowledge. The old woman pushing a shopping cart of all her belongings; the dirty looking fellow holding up the sign looking for work, or food, or gas for his car; the one-legged war veteran with his cap out on the sidewalk collecting change that might be enough to buy a bottle of cheap alcohol and let him forget the horrors for a night.Not that all the Ragmen are desolate. Some are Joyous, or Christ-like. In fact, on a certain night of the year, there are seven who gather to sing and tell their poems and stories. You may encounter them sometimes in a bar nearby. You have heard the Angry Old Man give forth on what is wrong with the world. He is often joined by Crazy Old Man who is offering a wake-up call. Or Joyous who gets called down by Petty, who finds nothing to be joyous about. The Ragwoman who used to be a girl with stars in her eyes, a mother, or lover. You may have shared a night with her once and never forgot the way she saw you and made you feel. Buddha and Christ show up as their true selves, reminding you they really meant all the teachings they gave. Each Ragman offers a rag, a piece of torn cloth signifying something torn from him, as society tears pieces from us all. And then they fade away into the night, back to their real jobs, being where we don’t expect to find them.If you get a chance to see Joe Williams perform the Ragman, you will not forget the poignant power of it. But if you only see his performance on these pages, you won’t be disappointed. You will be moved, shaken, and perhaps a little teary, but not disappointed.
spiritual, metaphysical, poem, poetry