portion of the artwork for Simon Perchik's poetry

Six Poems
Simon Perchik

You dead must think this acorn
will collect you in a circle
the way some cloud
once collided with the Earth
—it’s still raining :the pieces
trying to finish it off

—you like to hear the story
that has no place else to go
will bring you to the surface
though this hillside is still battered
by stones and you have to count out loud
on your fingers the evenings
the drop by drop till all that’s left
is the sun —you don’t have to ask
how it happened.

You listen just to keep warm
and each morning you hear
the same darkness, are sure the sun too
has cooled, that a single tree
rebuilds this cemetery
carries the gene for water
brings back the child
who took its first breath from water
where there was nothing

though there are voices that never dry
that want only each other, seated
around a small fire, shielded
from the wind by stones

—you dead want the Earth
to yourselves, blown out the sky
falling in one solid piece :a thunderclap
half marble, half for leverage
moving you closer, making room
drifting, staring, cold.


Without a ripple this jetty
full steam and though whales
will clear their throat
the gull can’t hear its next
struts on bedrock that already
twice a day surfaces
spits out the cooling skim
from molten iron and salt

—you dive into these rocks
for more light, more lift
and your feathers struggling
with that first shriek
that lasts forever in your sides

—for a split second
you build a nest
as if seaweed never dries

—the stench from open wounds
is nothing, claws and now a beak
no hands, nothing

—only your arms know the plunge
from a soft, warm face
into her eyes and terrifying love
washed ashore, wait

wave after wave, expect
that sobbing tilt the Earth
never forgot —by instinct

you hollow out this rock
into its painful seasons
face the same direction and fly.


This shallow dish dead center
though its glass is commonplace
shimmering into mist

—it’s not the usual birth
or that fragrance still moist
from the womb, reaching out

to be born in the open
—you cool this tea
the way every breath

divides in half then half again
and again till all that’s left
is snow —what you drink

already has your eyes, your lips
and between your hands
its scent ices over where once

there was nothing —side to side
you darken this water as if the moon
still rocks the Earth asleep

—you sip this darkness
let it stain your voice
your whispers frozen to the bottom.


You climb and these steps spread out
in those rings trees still carry
under their wings

—you collect height
and at night two at a time
though the steps are chipped
the inscriptions worn away
staring off to the side

—they will be first
spruced back to life
and at the top you move the sun back
—crosswinds can’t be trusted
always on the run, raging inside
close to your throat

—you carry up the dust
the Earth turned away, step by step
this wall all there is to lead you safely
against her eyes already hollowed out
as if in all this stone
there’s no place to lie down
no room for your hand
that suddenly will open
and over your lips the stars
breathing down, count for nothing.


On a pedestal yet, naked
though it’s the light from stars
lifted shoulder to shoulder

—you sift this snow
as if a lone flake was imbedded
trapped in the shallow breath

when her heart shut down
—path by path
you wear the sharp gloves

every mourner fills with stones
carves from the Earth
another marker, the kind you roll

over and over your lips
so nothing escapes the bitter snow
to open or answer or wait.


This spider has it made
settles in the way each nightfall
tightens around the sun

then eats it dry
though these branches
are not that organized, their leaves

escape beside evenings
darkened with graveyard marble
already moonlight and no turning back

—you bring it a small blossom
half loneliness, half stone
to breathe for you

lowered into this web
broken open as if its roots
could reach out, tighter and tighter

swallow the Earth whole
and along each path sift
for this stone no longer struggling.

Simon Perchik’s Comments

Where do writers get their ideas? Well, if they are writing prose, their ideas evolve one way. If, on the other hand, they are writing poetry, their ideas evolve another way. Perhaps some distinctions are in order. Distinguishing the difference between prose and poetry may not be all that simple; there are many definitions, all of which may be correct. … (Read the full text of Simon’s essay “Magic, Illusion, and Other Realities.”)

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 34 | Fall 2011