Six Poems – Anthony Perillo

Personal War


I dream of battlefields

in the pitch black of night

where only gunfire serves as the light

If I had a family

surely I would long for home

I am the dancer

I am the finicky eater

I am the prisoner of war

All I know of you is from

secondhand stories and photographs

but I bear your name and so I live

vicariously through you





To watch you

sleep was something I wanted but I needed

sleep myself

Was it your cry that wore me

out or the brisk autumn breeze that broke my body

into early slumber?

It is winter

and I’m tired now more than ever

but I’ll sleep when I’m dead

for as long as I can

find the peace

to rest my head





The flames come up

The flames go down

This is to inform you

that I died before twenty-one

Dreams of revolt swept past me

but one caught up

Prague Spring began and each day

brought new troops from Warsaw

I received a warning from the outside

forces but I said no in petroleum ether

I was a man restrained

and now there’s no need for restraint


after Jim Harrison





Capricious death or calculated sacrifice

A family bound by burden

Eyelids like ruptured dams

We wept in the rain—

on the asphalt—

decades apart—

amidst our search for meaning

in modern life

A coward is conceived in suicide

A hero is born in self-immolation

No such thing as a gentle revolution

So say goodbye to the boys, the river and the forest


after Jan Zajíc


Hanged Man


a nest of hairs
rests atop
his hanging head
one (omniscient) eye
no pupil present
right arm wrapped behind
right leg
loins look like raisins
body / organs / veins / valves / ligaments
comprised of dark crooked lines
except lingula of the left lung
a holey cross
why oh
why was the hanged
man hanged


After Leonard Baskin


Mount Rushmore


gutzon borglum was the father of lincoln borglum.

lincoln was named after abraham, gutzon’s favorite president.

abraham died two years before gutzon was born.

when gutzon died, lincoln oversaw the job.