April 10, 2008


This is a poem on the back of the credit card slip
It can't help itself
It had to come into being
even though the meal is over and the dishes
cleared away
The poem is overwriting the check, crowding out the numbers,
elbowing its way past the clicking of the machines that
make perfect copies on computers
It has a lot to say; it scrambles over the TV screen and
spills onto another slip, the one from the post office
We are not commenting
The poem must have its way,
past the waitress pushing up the aisle with glasses of wine
past the crowds cheering the basketball players
The bread and butter lie in their beds, untouched
the poem hovers and falls, like a small leaf
in an errant wind
Who is listening?
The bird on the fence?
The man at the bar who had one too many?
Flip a coin.
Will the poem land again on a piece of pink paper?
Will it bounce, like the basketball
and fall in a dark corner
hidden by dust?
or will it rise again
speaking in tongues
above the earth where we find ourselves
breathing with the clouds
thin as the air

—Alice Pero

Posted by dwaber at 01:52 PM

April 09, 2008

Bad Poem

Anything can be excused away,
even a bad poem
Just give it the title, “Bad Poem”
and it won’t matter,
syntax chopped, stilted meter,
improper number of syllables
in each line
A poem with clichés,
a love poem that smears itself
with gooey love and rhymes shamelessly
“Oh, flow, go, so lovely my heart,
my soul, eternity of endless love”
I don’t have to be ashamed
I could even put a valentine in it,
one with lace
This poem could be a knitted cozy over a teapot
and three kittens jumping out of a basket of yarn
It could have a glowing painting of a sunset
over a fake fireplace in a turquoise motel
Now you say that isn’t bad poetry
You can see the sunset
You once wanted your own motel,
would have painted it turquoise
There would have been pink flamingoes and
a swimming pool with a chain link fence,
a free breakfast, white biscuits with margarine patties,
really greasy sausages, coffee with those little white
packets instead of milk
No, this isn’t a bad poem
because it started to be your poem
and your soul is singing through the sands of time
You are throbbing with the joy of finding your true
hand-painted sunset in my poem
You will add white cupcakes with chocolate icing
and sprinkles, the kind that are slightly stale
Because you like them, this isn’t a bad poem
and you can keep adding things
You being the audience and the poem itself
And I too am listening, biting my tongue

—Alice Pero

Posted by dwaber at 01:25 PM

April 08, 2008


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
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

—Alice Pero
from Thawed Stars (SunInk Pubs 1999)

Posted by dwaber at 04:26 PM