by Perry L. Powell






Your friends over

for the birthday party

playing their cards

and you on your throne



What does the Queen do

after the King dies?

Are her orders still obeyed?


Amateur philosopher, I

can offer only friendship.

I have no solutions

for the frail horrors

of anatomy.


But see the milky girdle

of stars through the night's window.




a black line



Nothing Doing


All the way round we wait.

The music portends.

Be neither bored nor angry.

You can do the reverse.


Somewhere another morning,

your train will arrive.

To calculate the duration

is an act of faith after all.


Reading your magazine,

counting your dark sheep,

taking your notes,

your time to dream is at hand. 




a black line


Death On Mountains


You know, I remember that day

when I hung off the side of Brasstown Bald

clinging to a root

like in the zen story but with no ripe fruit…


I could have let go

and fallen to my death.

You know, I could never do a decent pull-up.

But I managed to crawl my way back.


I never told anyone.


One day on another mountain,

did you pay my debt?



a black line




I listen to an old man sing

and reach for what I have lost.


It seems


I reach for a ghost.




the tumble of the day

is a round fact


while you remain a flat mystery


and if I can give these words away, you will know


I would trade all I have left

for one more of your kisses.




a black line


Morning Glory


And when in the morning the air is cold

and the mind is empty without limit

and the preparations for the new day

hang in the room purple like last night's smoke,


you will stretch out your hands to plead for fire

without speaking a word or buying a thought

while glaciers slide down your stone forehead

as if for the first time, as if for real,


and all the pale pages will burn in ice,

the dreams will burn in ice, the plans will burn.


When from the last flickers you will find means

to invent your next world bit by bit, word by word―


this time, you say, without error or persuasion;

this time without a clock; this time without an end.



a black line


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