Two Poems by Richard King Perkins II

Greater Canyons Will Fall
The land falls away, leaving only a squid rising from the ocean’s cellar—tiny frozen puffs squelching onto the dry kelp of winter. I adjust a diadem of frenzy bolted inside my forebrain, randomly shrinking thoughts. As my eyes rise, satellites are uplifted into a moonstruck orbit. Indifference is pleased at the healing of recognition. The honed bluntness of my words, acutely angling from me, repairing vestigials into furrows of sutured essentials. This will only happen once: A dissention of thought tumbles elephantine upon the promenade of my vena cava and stands impatiently in the overhang of my lungs. The sphincter of fulfillment, nectarous entrails. The suffused enunciation of epithets. Unreflected, Unechoed. A karmic certainty.

You can rush in. You can apply opaque. And no, it would always be gone and yes, you wouldn’t let go of me temporarily. Yet it is windless in day, together in the mountains leaving the calm of the thoughts pushing its valuables—you try to take my lips from me and inject me with healing serum and I object. Here, love is illimitable. There isn’t anything that grow that doesn’t need something. You can’t thrive just anywhere consuming everything. But no.

Here you are. I found you like the first orange wedge I gave away. I offer you grapes and mint leaves and someday I’ll stand in the garden eating strawberries or cucumber, displaying them on a sleeve or stocking. Yet it is wonderful as a parent; bees lining to center stage to absorb accolades and infrequent humiliation, as your youngest follows her parents in bright imitation, with hugs and swimming eyes, finding old words for smart and adorable to misapply to the verb of parent. It is all binding in the apple skin and orange peel, and dull wrens in the rain-breeze of my contentment, Yet there is nothing in the mist of me, this night, if always since I was captured, totally here, even now, unseen and present. Then you consider me gone, leaving lemonade in a glass pitcher. Tupperware. Milk jug. A form of plastic shaped like birth. The weakest of all appear; so that the unloved can close their eyes and sleep.

What you’re looking for is a new faith in Panama, timid and circumspect. It could be a small crater—
without the tenacity to become a lake. Below you, hands held in an inverted steeple, an untraditional sign: A sigil departs a predictive quay where songs from the original voice less now from that which many silence. A demon disfigures in the fog of a child found playing on the idyllic sidewalk of rejection.
Or a soft powder blanks the sky where fish spat. On home doors, the soles of vortex withhold from a barn swallow given to honesty, its cage, or worse—its cigar-box coffin— with panoramic end. The shallower it remains, the more we are bored by the shape of the sky. A self-guided fog enjoys its noted disarray— has an epiphany, and destabilizes random thinking. A depth so violent and profound, that no added force, no dying star, can agitate it further.

Morning certainly, but still dark enough to occasionally blink at the sky releasing fragments of light. White doors on the newly molded condominiums will be emptied shortly with worn purpose. Reflections are absorbed by trees. A few leaves can be found, but no one questions the randomness of purpose directing the countryside. It is a fearsome thing to call anything ugly. Leaves repattern themselves without warning, taunting sacred earth and the once-humans it incorporates, chipping away at cold statues, passing through pores to arrive at the Dead Sea. I will lie and tell you this is a desirable end. Later, these same thoughts will sink me. A certain wariness punches into me heedlessly, stunning my thoughts like a skeptical cricket, in a woodland emptied of glass leaves and poppies. Here are the small chasms in the center of the wilderness waking up. And the greater canyons will fall silent again in the yellow dirge of nightfall.


Wishing Cistern
Images of horizontal women
and catatonic lovers

high flying birds
electrical chemicals

a sacrilegious mushroom,
marigolds at war is in my heart

forging mellow blueness
claiming a humanity they have no right to claim.

A gift stolen from the dark earth
kaleidoscope reality incognito

eager metaphysical elevation
from a fastback’s flattest depth

astral intervention found in ripples
warring on an abstract roadmap

an uplifting trance of voice and touch heals
Jayne Mansfield stumbling on a foggy highway.


About the Poet
Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Writing for six years, his work has appeared in more than a thousand publications including The Louisiana Review, Bluestem, Emrys Journal, Sierra Nevada Review, Roanoke Review, The Red Cedar Review and The William and Mary Review. He has poems forthcoming in Hawai’i Review, Sugar House Review, Plainsongs, Free State Review and Texas Review.