Lucia Perillo

It’s always a shock to discover a poet you like has died–and because I always ask permission before posting poems here, I discovered that Lucia Perillo died six years ago. Luckily, we still have her poems. I think I saw this one in Poetry Daily:

To the Field of Scotch Broom That Will Be Buried by the New Wing of the Mall

Half costume jewel, half parasite, you stood
swaying to the music of cash registers in the distance
while a helicopter chewed the linings
of the clouds above the clear-cuts.
And I forgave the pollen count
while cabbage moths teased up my hair
before your flowers fell apart when they
turned into seeds. How resigned you were
to your oblivion, unlistening to the cumuli
as they swept past. And soon those gusts
will mill you, when the backhoe comes
to dredge your roots, but that is not
what most impends, as the chopper descends
to the hospital roof so that somebody’s heart
can be massaged back into its old habits.

Mine went a little haywire
at the crest of the road, on whose other side
you lay in blossom.
As if your purpose were to defibrillate me
with a thousand electrodes,
one volt each.

Lucia Perillo

Summer food

Ripe tomatoes, sweet corn, peaches. They are all here, and we are eating them all. This morning, delicate white Mexican onions crisped with corn kernels, spinach and basil from the garden, and a fried egg in the middle. Is there anything better?

So here’s a tomato poem, also a love poem, also short–three excellent attributes for a poem I want to post. Early Cascade is the name of a tomato, of course:

tomatoEarly Cascade

I couldn’t have waited. By the time you return
it would have rotted on the vine.
So I cut the first tomato into eighths,
salted the pieces in the dusk,
and found the flesh not mealy (like last year)
or bitter,
even when I swallowed the green crown of the stem
that made my throat feel dusty and warm. Continue reading “Summer food”

More transcendence

damselfliesAfter the last post, Simone sent me a report on a heron rookery, and it mentioned damsel bugs and dragon flies.  I wasn’t going to post two poems in a row, but the coincidence with this poem and its damselflies was too strong to resist.

I’m not crazy about the beginning, the old “poet looking for a subject” opener, but once it gets going, I like it a lot. That said, my friend and fellow poet likes the opening just fine. And the way  it uses nature is quite different from Mary Oliver’s poem, but the impact just as strong, I think.


I sat, as I do, in the shallows of the lake—
after crawling through the rotting milfoil on the shore.
At first
the materials offered me were not much—

just some cattails where a hidden bullfrog croaked
and a buckhouse made from corrugated tin—

at first I thought I’d have to write the poem of its vapors.
But wait
long enough and the world caves in, Continue reading “More transcendence”

Oops, one more

Just when I thought I was finished with this topic for the moment, I came across this poem in an old copy of Poetry East.

How Western Underwear Came to Japan

When Tokyo’s Shirokiya Drygoods caught fire
in the thirties, shopgirls tore the shelves’ kimonos
and knotted them in ropes. Older women used
both hands, descending safely from the highest floor,
though their underskirts flew up around their hips.


The crowded street saw everything beneath–
ankles, knees, the purple flanges of their sex.
Vesus the younger girls careful keeping
one hand pinned against their skirts, against
the nothing under them and their silk falling.