By: Greg Wyss
Publisher: Cholla Needles Arts and Literary Library
Publication Date: June 26, 2022
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: December 14, 2022
In this lively collection, author and poet Greg Wyss shows readers how to survive whatever life throws at them, with a beer, a trip on acid, a meeting with Jesus, or a neat, possibly hilarious, philosophical observation.
Wyss' book, Sit Down And Have A Beer Again, contains materials gathered from earlier publications as well as some seen now for the first time. Within its pages, readers will find irony, wisdom, sensuality and joy. An example of his wry workings is “Better Living through Chemistry” in which the poet laments that, though “every bone in my body aches, my eyes burn like hot coals, my legs hang like branches, on a dead tree,” the amphetamine that stirs his heartbeat evokes “the wonder of being a drug child of the twentieth century.” A prose offering, “The Guru and His Chick,” describes the author’s brief meeting with a couple who not only eat ants, but worship them, and in the end, imitate them as they “got down on all fours and began crawling toward the nearest exit.” A sweet memory recalls his grandmother filling the jar with change for him when his photograph was entered in a contest for the kid with “The Prettiest Smile”; he won, thanks to her. Other more sardonic scenarios include the twists embedded in “Poem to My First Wife,” as a husband imagines his wife having a wreck and never coming home, then feeling disappointment when he hears her car pull up in the driveway. A short story, “An Evening in the Garden of Dying Flowers,” introduces a wild wanderer preparing to hit the road tomorrow, always traveling on, but ends with his incentive to stay a few more days when romance enters the scene. The book’s final chapter offers excerpts from a novel, When Life Was Like a Cucumber – it opens as the narrator meets Jesus, disguised as a guy named Tony.
Wyss, who lived through the era of “the Viet Nam War, drug culture and sexual revolution,” has deftly molded his experience into popular prose and poetry. Every reader will have a favorite – or two or ten – in this wide-ranging assemblage. Reactions will include laughing out loud, or simply shaking one’s head as if to say, “Ain’t it the truth.” His poetic style and objective perspective is often reminiscent of e.e.cummings, while his stories seem sometimes wrought from the very drug and booze effects that they so vividly describe.
Quill says: Sit Down and Have a Beer Again shows Greg Wyss as a highly intelligent witness to world events tiny and huge, with the verve and nerve to record what he recalls in a way sure to engage a wide, appreciative audience.
For more information on Sit Down And Have A Beer Again, please visit the author's website at: gregwyss.com