Poems by Richard King Perkins II


Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL and is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. In a six year period, his work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.

Special Water

A mind exposed to onlookers, indecency preserved.
Your thoughts absorb ventricles and chambers.
Tabernacles of muscle, flesh.

Semen; most special water—
diminished or blessed
by remnant glide.

Your fetish invades the defiance of libido,
unusually turned on.
Apparent facts, aromas.

Blood, also so mundane.
Everywhere, an abundance
of disinterest leaks out.

Libidinous thought-cloud falling dry,
my pump—
flailing empty, destroyed by spastic input.

Suspended Mirror

You never told me before
that my silence was unnatural,
a work of evil.
I don’t feel evil in the slightest.

I sink back into the couch,
passing my very limited time watching
Netflix original programming,
amused by Famke Janssen’s terrible British accent
while you watch me watching TV.

I try to figure out what’s worse on the list than evil.
Empty, I decide.

But as I watch a transformation from human to wolf
beneath sunlight’s suspended mirror,
emptiness doesn’t seem like such a bad thing at all.

Approaching the Mill Pond

A conformity of voles march silently
across an amber meadow,
taking succulent roots and bulbs
freed from shallot and amaryllis.
The eyes of a trout go blind
in the cloak of autumn. Plink.
Infinite ripples cast proper names
in their wake.
Sovereign denizens of glacial flatlands
can’t resist the approach of snowclouds.
Illinois was never a state,
only a permanent condition.
A time for guilt and partial confession.
The surface layer of water
begins to crystallize.
Rain shivers, trying to keep warm.
All hail.

Darkening over Still Water

Now leaves the light later, dispels the sooner above.
You are still foregone citrus sadder than yesterday.
You reject the piece of my mind that speaks
and the surface of the piece of my mind that speaks
and you reject showing me what can’t be done.

You are before the first moment.
You are nearer and nearer
and you will go to my enemy’s face
and silently be silent about where you’re going.
Scant is the song we meant as softly
and you’ll reject the sound when it collapses.
Found is your flag of surrender.
Your disbelief is slowly lifting,
but lifting lesser, though the sound denies you
and the beloved denies your love.

Your freedom is perfect—
the night is pentacles, pentacles of rapture
and this is how the sound becomes so sounding
and this is how the sound lost its gender
where its saffron eyes swim
its disguised throat eager to trap me
and this is how its thoughts declined
and I’ll just leave you broken
because you’ve always been broken
and have never had the slightest doubt.

Along with devotion, you have whispers.
Along with separation, forever.
But beneath—
a cloudbank heals petals
and the yellow grove of summer.

Steel Claw

Let’s sit for a few minutes and talk
quietly about the quality of this light,
somewhere between pink and yellow,
its murmur.

How the hillside keeps
the field low beneath its influence;
the man collecting cans on the other
side of the highway. Let’s talk about
them right now or no one ever will.

And the sun. I would say it sacrifices
itself for us every day, but I know it
only seems that way. I say it anyhow
just to comfort myself, and you too,
if we can forget the obvious for a
little while.

But we’re talking now,
and that’s what’s important. Don’t
let me put off these conversations any
longer. The edge of that shadow looks
like a traveling dromedary with a
stack of luggage.

Let’s keep talking until
we run out of things to say. The man
with the nearly full trash bag has
disappeared, gone to the recycling
center to trade in his aluminum for
eight and a half or nine dollars.

What a strange world we live in
you say. I nod in silent agreement.
It reminds me of how I found you
waiting patiently in the arcade,
how I plucked you from out of the
crowd with a three-fingered steel claw.

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