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A click and its likeness…

Five poems by Simon Perchik

A click and its likeness
can’t change, curled
the way rain yellows
though you hold on
almost make out the grin
that could be yours

–it’s been years, minutes
and even with your arms apart
you have forgotten the smell
the fleece-lined gloves
filled with dry leaves
half paper, half iron
half pinned to this snapshot
still bleeding from a thumbtack
and your shoulders

–you don’t recognize the hand
left holding up the sky
to look for the other
bringing it a morning
ripped from wings and mountainside
that can’t close or open
or dry :the rust
still waving, gutting the cheeks
whatever day it was.

Embedded and this statue
still tightening its grip
tries to revive the horse
expects its crumbling reins
to smell from leather
and crowding –you squint

the way the general
looks for a small thing
encased in a season
exactly where he left it

waits in the rain
for your black umbrella to open
make room for you
and under the darkness
hold the Earth steady

while his horse works its way
closer to this rain still wet
from the climbing turn
into ice and longing, lost

–its front hooves mid-air
shaking the stone loose
for its likeness even in moonlight
almost breathing, already
side by side that could go on
if it had to.

Without a ripple this jetty
full steam and though whales
will clear their throat
the gull can’t hear it’s next
struts on bedrock that already
twice a day surfaces
spits out the cooling skim
from molten iron and salt

–you dive into these rocks
for more light, more lift
and your feathers struggling
with that first shriek
that lasts forever in your sides

–for a split second
you build a nest
as if seaweed never dries

–the stench from open wounds
is nothing, claws and now a beak
no hands, nothing

–only your arms know the plunge
from a soft, warm face
into her eyes and terrifying love
washed ashore, wait

wave after wave, expect
that sobbing tilt the Earth
never forgot –by instinct

you hollow out this rock
into its painful seasons
face the same direction and fly.

This shallow dish dead center
though its glass is commonplace
shimmering into mist

–it’s not the usual birth
or that fragrance still moist
from the womb, reaching out

to be born in the open
–you cool this tea
the way every breath

divides in half then half again
and again till all that’s left
is snow –what you drink

already has your eyes, your lips
and between your hands
its scent ices over where once

there was nothing –side to side
you darken this water as if the moon
still rocks the Earth asleep

–you sip this darkness
let it stain your voice
your whispers frozen to the bottom.

You climb and these steps spread out
in those rings trees still carry
under their wings

–you collect height
and at night two at a time
though the steps are chipped
the inscriptions worn away
staring off to the side

–they will be first
spruced back to life
and at the top you move the sun back
–crosswinds can’t be trusted
always on the run, raging inside
close to your throat

–you carry up the dust
the Earth turned away, step by step
this wall all there is to lead you safely
against her eyes already hollowed out
as if in all this stone
there’s no place to lie down
no room for your hand
that suddenly will open
and over your lips the stars
breathing down, count for nothing.

Q&A with Simon Perchik

Writing is…
Writing is the articulation of the writer’s thoughts. Poetry, though a form of writing, informs the reader or listener of that which cannot be articulated. Like abstract painting and music.

Writing and photography…
I was hoping you would ask that. I have spent the last 40 years writing to, for, against photographs. It took almost 10 years to write the 482 poems to, for, against the 482 photographs in The Family of Man (Museum of Modern Art). Did the same to collections of Robert Frank, and others.

Who, or what, left the biggest impression on you?
WWII. The war is constantly with me. Can’t shake it off…

Tell us a little about yourself
I’m a 92 year old man still trying to learn, since I was 12, how to write poetry.

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