among boulders. I hesitate
around blood hounds
seeking fallen bones,
woods in clearing.
When I stare into
banks filling cracks
wet with stone, the river
speaks: trust control.
I want sunshiny
bricks on my back:
dried, dense, seasoned.
No more sea foam.
Adieu to unholy spouts
funneling danger. How
I begin hardening myself—
it’s the slow paddle
toward land, turtle-slick grooving
walk through sand. Eyes up.
Shell shed. Here, I am.
A mom-and-pop where
café clinks draw us
close like a storyline
built upon full cups,
brims topped with silk
froth and sugar melts.
One whiff, hearts snap
out of place. Sips just
warm enough to leave
braille on tongues
waiting to be kissed
by broken bread.
AN OVERTONE AND UNDERTONE, BOTH VICE AND MINERAL
I said no, no, no…
It is I, the villain of vaudeville
Jazz, who vexes pagan musicians:
folks that share advice, Vicodin
Sunday nights over highballs,
blowing desires that forgave when
wrongs did not. Voices cannot thrive
beneath media vermin if art allows
my flight to survive as it were,
some source of public intervention. No.
Art must push tributes forward. Rise
wine houses and chart chateaus
because, Amy, we are not done.
ARROGANCE AND AI
I am tired. Stained in fact by those poets—
you know, poet-posse-pompous craftsmen,
who got massive globes hanging from their wet
chicken bone thighs. Now and then, well, more than
just at times, I conceive the scent of Ai:
her dearest pen budding, like a rose bush,
off their paper garden guise. Blink one eye,
she’d say. I dare you to lose sight or push
one more line to its demise. Ai’s pen draws
wax at the tiny tips of your folds. One
sound. One word alone, and her pen guffaws
at your best. But enough with making fun.
I come in query wanting to know this:
how many editors declined your piss?
MY POE ASS
A dead man strolls by my rump, lukewarm feel.
Nothing like those phantom huntsmen say.
His corpse, on the other, is not ideal;
snarl speaks theories on lovers’ decay.
I admit to following, unaware,
his outline on the boardwalk like a dove.
Our eyes fix a gaze; no gravity there.
Perhaps I am sick to think we could love.
Fleeting by our vapor, shrill nothingness
as air, my specter and I tow our toes
the other not knowing kindness or death
when: envious Annabel Lee exposed—
my unshaven ass for Edgar to groom
(such ladies as I can only assume)!
Niki Perez is a mom, a commercial real estate guru, and a word slayer. She makes no apologies for being an alpha female, though her sword fighting skills need practice. Once, Niki was an owl of literature and creative writing at FAU. You might find her pen in A Thin Slice of Anxiety and Coastlines Literary Magazine.