By Christopher Perricone

Dialogues of the Pool              

I remember
The dialogues of the pool,
Interlocutors bobbing,
The chlorine waves
Smacking their nipples,
Currents of their children’s urine,
The pool’s bottom painted blue.
What men they were,
Their dilemmas,
Their cigars and sunglasses,
Taking a dunk, making a point,
Then slicking back
Their strands like Latin lovers.
What women:
Always nearby, floating,
Their biceps like water wings,
That would support
A weak link in an old man’s heart.
Theirs was a man-made world,
Completely filtered,
Like the homes in the suburbs
In which they lived.    
And though they chose
To be bound by
Canned memberships, safe,
Where milk runs smoother
Than blood, and not so deep,
They chose, too,
That communion of words in water,
And so they knew of the sea,
How it harbors
The crimes of our origins,
They must have known it:
The wheezing chest
Of so many unlucky ends.


I am a firefighter,
Veteran of the High Sierras,
Decorated in the South Bronx.
I’ve made fire
To stop fire.
I’ve prayed for snow.
I’ve been lost
Among rats
Inside crumbling labyrinths.
I’ve seen many
Things beyond recognition
I’d rather not recall.
I am a firefighter.
On Sundays I study the sun.
I monitor the wind.
I wait for a break
In the clouds.
With my magnifying glass,
I seize all that Sunday’s light,
Reduced to a pinpoint
In the palm of my hand.
I cry: I am a firefighter!
How it burns.
How I love to fight.


I’m fast, neat.
My table’s never wrong.
My hands are always clean.
You know exactly
Where you stand:
Either you’re in or out.
Better than anywhere else
In the world.
I work windowless
In a tux
Without sun, without time,
Nor with the heart
Of the tide.
Once my mind is set
Nothing distracts me:
The old ladies pulling off the slots,
The equanimity of screams: win or lose,              
The synthesized eternal rock.
I deal.
I read ’em.
I’ve only wept
Once in my life.
Never again.

Flying Lessons                                                          

Anyone can take off.
Push in the throttle,
She’ll climb all alone,
Provided you hold it
Straight and level.
A few times up,
Once you get the hang
Of the pitch, roll, and yaw,
You’ll be able to stall
At will,
Cut a figure eight,
Do a chandelle, even
Spin your belly to the sun.
But not anyone can land.
I mean land:
Where the sweet spot
Meets a fast ball,
When the dancer
Just dances…
To land you got to feel physics,
Quarks in the heart.
You have to have a taste
For planetary motion,
Know the very quality
Of air by the nose.
To land you need
To possess
The disappointment
And the requirement ingrained
Of returning home.


The snows are the dreams
Of which picture postcards
Are made,
Icings on wedding cakes,
Flakes locked
In a purely physical love,
Crystalline labyrinths
In which a mind
Might be forever lost.
Our squad
Found her buried
In the snow,
Her complexion frosted,
A champagne glass,
Still pink,
Her eyes barely closed.
Just before the snow’s
Sonic booms,
She might have heard
A bird song.
There might have been
A gust of wind.
Who knows what
Child with a broken crown
Might have caused the snow
To come tumbling down.
As she foundered
In its rising tide,
She might have seen
Sea horses, angels, and sunfish,
All the stag horns and brains
Of the tropical seas.
Now her face a cameo,
Once a cross country skier,
A lover on vacation
Enthralled by the high country,
Curious of the ins and outs
Of crystal
Of the echoes of those lost
In the snow.

c perricone

Christopher in his own words:

I’ve had poems published in literary magazines, as well as a volume of poems, A Summer of Monkey Poems, Cummington Press, 1996. Recently I was invited to contribute to an homage to Harry Duncan, celebrated fine press book publisher: “Playing Catch” appeared in All Along the Fence, Gibraltar Editions, 2016. Also, I earned a PhD in Philosophy from CUNY Grad. Center and have had essays published in professional philosophy journals.
On a personal note I’m lucky to live among those I care for and who care for me…and then there’s Charlie Parker, my pet bird.