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Five Poems by Simon Perchik: March 18th, 2012



                                Despair has taken on the shape

                                each cloud leaves afterwards

                                —you reach across the hole


                                one hand crazed

                                a moon rising from the other

                                as if there were crossroads


                                and the sky winds down

                                into evenings that are not yours

                                —an unbearable headwind


                                weakened past sorrow, past drift

                                past sleep and your breath lies down

                                where nothing holds on


                                —you don’t save the pieces, it’s useless

                                —you look up and the air

                                little by little is led


                                past emptiness :the no lips

                                that are not a face, not a voice

                                and from your arms.






                                The bay backs down once you begin

                                by counting the dead —your mouth

                                wider and wider with gnats


                                half plankton, half step by step

                                that will live on as beach grass

                                and undertow, dragging you


                                the way these gulls make pass after pass

                                circle the dying afternoon

                                in endless sorrow


                                —you walk till you’re no longer hungry

                                though no sand flea last for long by itself 

                                and every evening, by the millions


                                stars will drown so the sun

                                can feed one day more from your lips

                                left open to weigh down the sky


                                —you throw the Earth against it 

                                holding it off stone by stone  

                                that seep through your shadow


                                as if tears would close your eyes

                                with eyes and no one come near

                                or remember the numbers just as they are.







                                You sense it knows, the road

                                narrows, picking up speed

                                and off in the distance its curve


                                can’t escape, plays music from the 40s

                                —you are somewhere in England

                                listening to rain on a runway


                                —had it guessed then how its years

                                would end, here in Nevada, four lanes

                                not caring where the winds come from


                                or the radio half airborne

                                half static, half already too far

                                though the station is still on the look-out


                                and clouds are overdue

                                even in the desert

                                —it must know, it has to, the hill


                                constantly turning its head

                                and you slow, begin to sing along

                                have one day less to worry.







                                It takes both faucets and each night

                                you fill the sink the way mourners

                                set up camp —one alongside the other


                                swaying and your legs half open

                                wait till it’s dark, kneel down

                                as if it was not your own


                                and it’s safe to drink from the rim

                                beside the zebras. the leopards

                                —this lake won’t freeze or dig up


                                your footprints from the falling snow

                                calling for help and in the cold

                                you wipe your lips on the wall.




                                These petals taking command, the flower

                                pinned down and the work stops

                                —your breath dragged back


                                where it’s safe and in your lungs

                                hides the way each sky is named

                                after the word for stone


                                for this small grave each Spring

                                the dirt adds to till suddenly

                                you are full height, your lips


                                defending you against the cold

                                waiting it out in your mouth

                                —they too want you to talk


                                to call them by name

                                say what they sound like

                                turning away, alone, alone and alone.


Simon Perchik