[How many times! this doorbell], Simon Perchik

Marilyn Higginson, Aspens at Hart Mountain Refuge, Oil on Wrapped Canvas, 48″ X 60″



How many times! this doorbell
smelling your sweat must know
nothing’s changed and the dry sleep

through the night –the button
has forgotten how, curls up
with someone who isn’t there

though this all-at-once-familiar nudge
can’t keep you away, outside
it’s still rain and darkness

always some touch pressing down
a somewhere note, half embraced
half pounded, by itself heads into

the constant fear it’s her name
that falls from the night sky
with no help in remembering

–for years! you don’t first knock
sure this door will bring it down
leave only the earthquake and walls.

Simon Perchik


Review by Michael T. Young

I’ve been an admirer of Perchik’s poetry for some time and all 3 of the poems in this issue bear the mark of his teasingly brilliant poems. They are poems that, in the best tradition of surreal poetry, defy reductionist interpretations while remaining suggestive of a rich diversity of meaning. The first 2 of these untitled poems hint at love stories behind them, that “constant fear it’s her name/that falls from the night sky” or “the last drop falling through her arm/as a single word – Mickie! louder, louder/and you hold hands, go on drowning.” With the drowning, the earthquake and walls, the despair and falling that inflict all 3 of these poems there is trauma and pain being confronted but confronted without sentimentality. It is a remaking and a reimagining of the reality of those despairs into art, a form of salvation and reanimation.

I’ve always loved the way Perchik’s poems transform from moment to moment through acceptable irrationalities as a doorbell “smelling your sweat,” or a bed sheet that becomes “the stream pouring from each stone fountain.” Each moment of reflection finds an adequate anchor in an enlarging image and which in turn yields another reflection and so on until the resolution finds itself in what one can only call an exaltation of pure imagination.

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