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Poetry

THAWED STARS

Will you be satisfied with thawed stars
or will you demand fresh ones?
I'm not sure if fresh ones are available
or freshly killed, or frozen;
how do you like your stars,
well lit? dim? lightly chilled?
I don't have electric ones.
Five pointed stars are out of style,
archaic;
Stay awhile and I'll find one less
blinding.
I've dipped scores and scores of my stars
in black paint so as not to offend
We must placate placate
A world of men wearing sunglasses
But beware of thawed stars
They drip.


Night Sky

Last night I stole the night sky
I wanted a long long black cloak
to sleep in
I was restless
and couldn't settle down
You are probably wondering
what I did with the myriad of stars
I wasn't intending to dazzle
I only wanted to lie down
with the comfortable weight
of the dark night sky
Wrap myself in its deep dream,
The silent splendor of darkness
If anyone missed it, I do not know
This morning I released the sky,
tied it to its moorings, the stars,
saw it turn blue again in sun
None the worse for the wear.


FOUND POEM

Random messages float in the air
like dogs making slurping noises
waiting for their masters
and we strain to hear
Some smell like bothered skunks and
we avoid them, close our car windows

A woodpecker calls to us from his rotten tree
The bullfrog has plenty to say
The poky donkey makes us pull him along
Old people take notes to remember and
repeat questions over and over
Who finds these poems and writes them down?

Or over there
as the Great Blue Heron takes flight
from one tree to the next
warning the woman in the canoe
of a coming message
she would have to snatch from the sky

Perfectly formed, like his wings
spread in a whoosh, flying soundlessly
The poem is looking for its landing place
Under that turtle's furtive head
darting back into the water
What should be said?

Here or there or anywhere?
A small impression formed from dew
on early morning grass, a plop the cat left
A hundred different insects
the fox on the hill
Or maybe just the thought of you

A rumbling starting in my head
a trembling hand
a motion to retrieve this song
before the sound is lost
An excited jitter, a flutter of joy
as the mind takes hold

Of what can't be held or
caught 
A spider's work is easier to keep
her threads more taut
than this fleeting moment
that can't be found in a photograph

But can be seen in invisible ink
or in the pounding rain
You cannot hesitate or it is lost
It has no cost but fuels my heart
An endless source that disappears
and comes again with simple thought


GREEN HAS AN ATTITUDE

The green smears itself
against gray sky
and clutters everything with green
Green has an attitude
It takes over
It doesn't ask permission
Green slaps itself all over
Bushes trees grass creepy vines
People try to fight back by
painting houses white yellow and blue
by filling the air with dark smoke and smog
Building whole cities with only
a few trees
Crisscrossing the landscape with
industrial junkyards
no green would be caught dead in

No, what you don't realize is,
It's a war
Green's got an attitude

People have to show green
who's boss


Scientific Fish

Company regulations forbid that men visit
with the minds of fish unless on a scientific
expedition and then only in the company of men with
degrees who have the credentials that plumb the depths
of whatever the fish might be thinking.
It is absolutely impossible to conceive
that a fish could think of anything,
so please don't bring that subject up again.
When we have made a fish meter we will discover
that they do see certain odd shapes up above
the surface of the water
that may affect their mating habits
And after we have observed this for thousands
of years, we may be qualified to make a public
statement in a scientific journal;
until that time, any conclusions are only
tentative.


DEBAUCH

Hearing the rain falling, falling, falling
I am drunk, soused
I am taller than the trees
wiser than the birds
I roar; there are no lions
I take the rain in teacups,
float in the pines,
forego the company of men
dine in flowers

Jumping in the rain rolling, rolling, rolling
in leaves dripping
I am under the influence, intoxicated,
totally wiped
I speak in tongues
Rattle on with toads and slip with underwater
tadpoles
I store moss under my stones
gloat with spiny things
down where no man has ever gone

Only fools know what I have known
I am drunk drunk drunk
in the sullen rain

Unclothe your creature comforts
and come
You will lose yourself
in the willing wet 
You will forget and remember
You will drink the rain


TOLUCA LAKE SPRING

Flowers, so sweet, the smell clings to the skin
Sidewalks glitter, grow mica
The sky coughs a dry haze
Distant mountains slow to a brown crack

Women pull neon skirts out of closets
High heels scratch cement walkways
Cats shed houses like fur
Houses fling open their shut eyes
then close them tight
Air conditioners are revving up their engines

The days aren't ready to be smothered in smog
They are still pretending real clouds
They blink patches of blue

The hard ground resists my spade
The sycamore has finally decided to clothe himself
after a long winter's nakedness
Ivy, clipped to a neat edge, waits politely for a drink
Palm trees stare straight ahead as usual

Blenders whip up strawberry froth near open windows
There are those breezes, can't make up their minds,
hot? cool?
Gardeners blow away bird song
Poets put the roar of blowers into poems

The flowers are playing sweet silent violins
Profusion of confusing pastel sounds
Little old ladies take their cars for walks around the 
block,
find pennies to buy eggs
My head cracks open, sprouting poems

Hormones bend logical minds
Leaves are jealous, watch for starlets in tight pants
Trees are getting it up in green fast before the coating 
of smog dulls their senses
Smog, LA's permanent excuse for irony

My old car grins and winks
We ride to Pasadena to find the real spring


MOON WARNING

When you rise to kiss the moon
do not lose yourself
in her craggy crevices or
flatten yourself on her smooth contours
Keep your distance
lest you float into
moon's delirium
Do not ponder her thoughts
Ride in your own dimension
You have no need to tangle
in imponderable moon threads
or dance in her folly
When you rise to kiss the moon consider only her craft
Though she may astonish you
with her cool beauty
Admire the carvings of millennia,
the many faceted shards of her surface, 
the intricate patterns of her nubs
But do not linger
in moon's heady swoon
or breathe her quivering air
Keep your eye calculating the radiance 
Know the luna's luminating kiss
and steal away
before you are stolen
by moon madness


IN SLIGHT PROTEST OF MUPPETS

I am not immune to the sight of a plain tree
out in the open air,
Yet I paint it streaked, curled and the cows
I see are not of the domestic variety;
Three small flecked toads do not satisfy
my wandering eye,
They must bark, in perfect sixths.
Muppets are too real; they do not appear
and disappear without a trace.
There are strings.
And gadgets.
Oh roll with me down my hillside.
It is fairly slippery and is made of vibrating
flute tones, low and soft
A color of plums will float you aloft;
Your keel is as steady as grapes on a still day.
I am not pacified by the sound of tolling bells,
flowers, shapes entombed in real...
from them there's no escape.

Copyright 2003 Alice Pero All Rights Reserved