Richard King Perkins II - "Elsewhere" And "Terminal At Chula Vista"




Let me entice,

let me speak to you

for five minutes

and we’ll be walking the periphery

between light and birth

and someplace else.


If I could look upon you

for thirty seconds

or maybe a few seconds more

we’d be intimates

without artistic redemption


beyond blame and the errors of sin

in a turned down bed

along the northern bank

of an east-west river

where there’s a first time

for every love that should-have-been.


"Terminal At Chula Vista"


Fog wraps every sign of heaven

like a proposal gone awry


a cloak covering the whitest earth

like shavings of wood and black ravine.


We lay down famished and parched,

your chest pressing on my arm.


You know the question

but you’re afraid to ask me.


I’ll tell you everything.


Indifferent child, incipient world.

Song of Sweetwater and harbor spray.


Rarest snow two-thirds distant from the pole.


How you rested the ache of your head

on my shoulder

after we came back from a forest

of white maples and ginger.


You returned before I could say good-bye.


I’m a nightmare of infertility—

an orchid bed of lovetands and bracken.


I held my breath

and you suffocated and died.


The certainty of past

is flawless and unapologetic.


I am parent, but not father or mother.


Shadows crowd in purity

at the backlash of my elbow.


I know about the dead things

that could one day blossom into life.


I thank that night,

sperm impregnating the moon


troughs spreading flat and meek.

(continued, with stanza break)

I walk away from the vision,

my legs kicking at waves of light.


My eyes squint with near-blindness

into the soundings of sky.


Here, within the backyard fence,

grass blades recognize me anonymously.


Remembrance is a hopeless ikon,

a story for the defeated.


By morning, water will have filled

my recent depressions of sleep.


Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage.