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Alice Pero’s poetry has been published in many magazines and anthologies including Word Thursday, Trés di-verse-city, Albatross, Lummox and The California Quarterly. She can be found on the www at among others. Her first book of poetry, Thawed Stars, published in 1999 was hailed by Kenneth Koch as having “clarity” and “surprises.” She has won 2 prizes from the National League of American Pen Women. Alice has taught poetry in private and public schools for over 12 years and is a member of the CA Poets in the Schools. Alice feels poetry is best understood as a 3-dimensional experience with sound and she is dedicated to bringing poetry alive through performance. In October 2002 she founded a new poetry reading series in Santa Monica, Moonday, which she runs with her co-host, Anne Silver.

Mountain Meal

Before eating a mountain,
make sure your face is washed
Dry it with a cloud
Lick the sides, you can drip
molasses on them
Wear something black; it won’t stain
The drippings, hot or cold, like a sundae
Scare off coyotes, distracting howls
The mountain can be split or sliced, buttered
Some can be whisked into a froth,
but those mountains may not be there at all,
figments, soft, like ripe fruit, melt when you
touch them with a thought
Before biting a mountain, break off a piece,
spiced with a few stray pines
Like sushi, it can be dipped and savored
with green horseradish
Drink the lava before it hardens
But beware, eating mountains may speed up
your heartbeat, give you strange notions
to climb steep sides, stare at the sky
for centuries, welcome travelers
without speaking,
mutely stand against the sun,
knowing everything
and nothing

published in Tres Di-Verse City
© 2003 Alice Pero

Where the Light Comes from

The child has two sticks
He has the sun in them
He tells the sticks their names

My grandson plays for an hour
with some plastic parts he has put together
The parts have become a leaf blower or a vacuum
I can hear the engines

Circa 1968 my four year old niece said,
“There are these stars that come out of you
when you laugh”
I thought she was a genius or a poet
I never guessed she might have been hallucinating
Her parents were continually stoned on LSD, hashish
From what universe, those stars?

My baby granddaughter has a shiny mylar balloon
The balloon says, “Congratulations” (Congratulations,
you got a balloon.)
“Baa-oon, Baa-oon,” she chants, ecstatic
It floats above her, a mystical magical being,
always silent and cheerful…alive

I stay up all night scribbling poems
After each good line I feel little explosions 
I don’t think about where the light is coming from
or where it will go when the poem is done

© 2003 Alice Pero


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