(photo of Richard King Perkins II)


Nutmeg Park


Even darkness has a blacker side

and when the sky

looks parallel upon the sky

at the furthest strain of vision—

there is an aspect almost recognizable.


Out of the dead ink,

the morning light reflecting from a mirror

dissolves our nearest reality.


A man in a nutmeg park flies a kite

in the image of someone,

someone so important

someone that never was.


A white iris sleeps under her pillow

and she lives to dance, dancing to dance

dancing to live a glass slipper life.


When the twirling ends and flight descends

it is finished but until then

we stare across a formless sheet of pitch

and like receding taillights

we fade together to an inseparable glow.



Unscheduled Stop


Huddled uselessly

beside a forlorn bus station—

this is my room without board.


The shivering has ceased

arms and legs grown foreign,

incongruous to myself.


A pink haze is my lamp,

the residue of a city

that has forsaken me


to expire tepidly

among these rotting planks.


A dark ferry will stop



on this bleak

anonymous night.



Dancers in the Eclipse


Cycles turn us beggars,

removing lives we thought

belonged to us.


An unseen hedgerow divides

what is sometimes a fable

sometimes a history

folded into a little slumber,

a little sleep.


Uncounted face of clock ,

everything wakes out of place,

pulsing in the core

of a dissolved fertile moor.


Voicelessly, moments confer

that this is all a wobbly portion

of a slender dancing phase,


that opposition is part

of our congruence

similarity, an aspect

of our discord.


As black is invisible within black

and white is mute upon white

diamonds spread back

into coal,

a cloudŐs idiom

retrieves its lost rain


knowing this is happening

because we swore

it never would—


having believed too strongly

the composition of hours

was sufficiently understood.



Requiem of Yellow


A wilderness hyperventilates the aestheticism

that pours from the jonquil of your hair.


Utterings from the deeper trembles of your throat

strum love strands where all burdens ease

and surrender an opening for the ecosphere

to breathe the blush of your hair once more.


Darkened by the prurient azure and plain dilemma sophistry,

abjure a once handsome image, new garden creature,

his feral murmurs muffled in keratin you will not kiss

but still near enough to let you taste an entirely

new species of yellow.




A Song Never Heard


It may be a dedication or a requiem.

The dying composerŐs

last great gasp of creativity.

An unexpected union of poetry

and symphony inspired

to show that his existence,

whatever it had now become,

was once a vital celebration,

a mysterious excursion into the hinterlands

and beyond.


When little Alex,

so far removed from the source,

first experiences the rhapsody

he decidedly mistakes it

as justification for his shallow forays.

A pollyclef to the bog—

he might have chumbled,

and lets the composition inspire him

to things both

terrible and great.


But this is music from mid-winter

exalting a long ago spring,

not the score intended for a malchickŐs

first misguided attempt at flight.


So the old man sleeps on,

never knowing what he may have inspired

yet having once been given the keys

to unlock the heart of God

and offer ascent into the greatest universe—

even for those lost notes

unrecoverable by such majesty.


And bootless Alex marches onward

to an unharmonious clapping,

staggering toward bedlam and babel,

deaf to the notion

that an ode can best

be appreciated with perspective

and that joy is truly celebrated

only when it is a lifetime passed.



Cautionary Tale


You are about to be taught something

so please pay strict attention.

Upon initially reading this

you could not have anticipated

that you would be learning something

of such vast importance.

I promise that if you devote

just a few more seconds of your

precious time in this endeavor,

you will be rewarded

with a fragment of wisdom

that you will carry with you

for the rest of your life.

And there you have it.

That's your lesson.

If you didn't get it, please reread

from the beginning

but in doing so just know that

you're only reinforcing

the point of my point.


© Richard King Perkins II


Bio:  Richard is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He is married to Vickie and they have a daughter named Sage. His work has appeared in hundreds of publications including Prime Mincer, Sheepshead Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Fox Cry, Two Thirds North and The Red Cedar Review. He has poems forthcoming in Bluestem, Poetry Salzburg Review and The William and Mary Review.