Charles Rossiter
(The Night We Danced With the Raelettes)

Charles Rossiter

All Over America:
Road Poems

Wild horses of Assateague, Minnesota nuns, the Kentucky State Fair, tin roof bar stories in Shawano, Wisconsin, with friends in Ann Arbor, tracing history in Tucumcari, father-son Badland moments, hiking Scotts Bluff Rockies Carhenge Black Hills.  .  .California to Calgary, Vancouver to Vermont, New York to New Orleans, people and places encountered along the road, wide-eyed moments of joy and wonder all over America.

From the book:

Things Seen Along the Road

dry cracked swimming pools of mom and pop
motels alongside two-lane country roads,
proud hand-lettered signs proclaiming

porches of America backyards of America
sidewalks of America empty empty empty,
storefronts of America with notes on the door
“moved to the mall”

sunrise t'ai chi in Madison, Wisconsin,
lawyers waiting for the mail,
the late-again clerk, overqualified, underpaid, too young,
and too in love with Lake Mendota to ever leave

scrub-faced kids strolling grade school corridors
that gleam like seminary wood
between walls of crayola art and alphabets,
the teacher's wide-eyed tales of other worlds

Dave and Mary Mason in their small town diner
handing out free cups of coffee and donuts
for a song and dance among empty tables
during the mid-morning lull

American Flyer little red wagons with fire hoses used
to shoot kegs across the town park lawn for charity,
little girls who prance and pray for blue
ribbons along the banks of the Ol' Mississippi

laughing high schools festooned for
saturday afternoon football fantasies,
teams of well trained pom pom girls in cheery face,
back row boys dreaming of cartwheels

Outside Taos

Winding streamside along US 64
     into the Sangre de Cristos
the sky lined with pine tips
along the mountain's edge
Dust covered, the car
     from Bandelier and the High Road
suitcases full of dirty clothes

Two weeks on the road
and ten pounds lighter
     with the easy flow of days
under blue Southwest skies
light with altitude and freedom

     Jack pulls out his kazoo
and honks an old-timey jazz tune,
Satchmo or something, as we
barrel along side by side
from somewhere we didn't have to go
to somewhere we don't have to be.

Charlie Rossiter, NEA Fellowship recipient and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, hosts the audio website,  His work has been featured on NPR and various state-wide public radio networks.  He has performed at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival and was among a handful of poets selected to perform at the 2005 Chicago Blues Festival.  His most recent book of poems, The Night We Danced With the Raelettes, (2007) is published by Foothills Publishing.  Some of his travels around the country are with the performance poetry group “3 Guys from Albany,” as they work to bring their poetry to all of the 18 Albanys in North America.

All Over America:
Road Poems
is an 88 page hand-stitched  paper book w/spine.

(Wholesale pricing available. Contact us for more information.)

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Charles Rossiter

The Night
We Danced
With the Raelettes

Occurrences In and Around College Park Maryland
in the 1960s  For the Most Part
To the Best of My Recollection

It's all here: leaving home for the first time, hanging out with guys from the dorm; road trips; summer jobs as diverse and improbable as delivering yeast for Budweiser, supervising a pick-your-own strawberry patch, and sweating it out in the coal fields of Bethlehem Steel.  There are also musings about life, literature, friendship, and the bliss and pain that comes with searching for, finding, and losing love.

"Charlie Rossiter's book takes us a high-speed journey into memory and the past. It makes the 60's come alive again. More importantly, it makes us laugh and cry. Tender, funny, evocative, this book is one not to be missed."
Maria Mazziotti Gillan
Founder & Executive Director, Poetry Center, Passaic Co. CC,
Paterson, NJ and editor, Paterson Literary Review.

From the Book:

When Someone Asks Me Who Was First

We still lived in dorms
segregated by sex
but I lived on the first floor
in back
which meant that
once we decided
it was easy
to lift her through the window
walk around
and come in the front door
as if nothing monumental
were about to happen
but it did
right there
in my narrow iron dorm bed
just a wall away
from the distant din
of rowdy dorm guys
without dates
on saturday night.

When someone asks me
who was first
I think of Nanya
and that night
which is not precisely true.
There was someone or two
before her, I'm almost certain.
I forget the details
and the names.

But the night I lifted
Nanya through the window
as if she were
a princess, Lady Guenivere,
and I were Galahad
or Robin Hood
or any stirring figure
out of myth or legend.

That night
she became the first.

The Night We Danced With the Raelettes

is a 60 page hand-sewn book with spine - $14.00




     To order through mail click here.