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Perie Longo (June-July)

-Poems by Perie Longo

  Poems by Perie Longo
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Poems by Perie Longo


Ode to the Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

for Jackie Hunt

by Perie Longo


Size of an exclamation

mark! or tiny word

no surprise this creature

won your heart


jazzercise expert

of the tidal pool

moving its royal purple body

side to side as if all wings

fanning the water

then scoops into a U


amidst eel grass

but it’s that orange fringe


like a Flamenco dancer’s

shawl that tantalizes

draws us close and

we’re hooked like its prey

while it minds

its own business

despite its fluorescence

designed for breathing

and eating while we

watch in trance

its electric dancing

with some stars hanging out

in this deep

down world

where survival

is the trick as above

but this good lookin’

updated slug

can sling some sting

toward bullies

come too close showing

the small can be mighty

having the last word

after all!

            by Perie Longo

 Thoughts While Looking at Sue the T-Rex

by Perie Longo


Bones reassembled, millennia old, she stretches

resurrected in the middle of the auditorium,

a jaw-dropping twelve feet tall, forty feet long

                                                skull to arrow-tail end.


In eerie, red light we stand speechless face to face,

almost trembling, our humanness dwarfed

by her hulk, or is it his, sex uncertain

as if it matters, especially if you’re Sue the explorer

who brought it to light, proved existence. Lost


in the caverns of its empty eyes and mouth,

sword-like teeth swallow notions about what is real

and what isn’t. Ribs dangling like icicles frozen in time,

we wonder what or who lurks within us. The spirit


never dies, sages say. Roaming earth

far away from the crush and roar of this century’s

woes, in pursuit of something beyond ourselves,


you never know what lies underfoot

pressing up a cliff, what treasure might poke up

like some old weed buried beneath dust

and stone to grab our attention,

                                    turn us inside out.





I long to dip and glide like a loon

along the reddening night blasted

with sun’s violent casting itself over islands:

Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and farther north—

San Miguel. I mean to travel highways

where thunderheads loom purple,

trounce Joshua, those spiny bandits,

and bless sage-dressed dunes under heat.

I want to climb peaks where air thins,

where once I panned gold and hooked trout.

I want to migrate with whales

through turquoise hills of water

and never fear falling overboard

for I have gills to breathe and look

the Garibaldi in the eye. After that,

I will meet you in a grove of oaks

where the creek trickles over our toes

as we explore all that shimmers below.


                        Perie Longo


The True Nature of Mockingbird


Rock and rollers have nothing on you

who do not mock, but simply flatter,

little imitator, innovator, myriad song maker

full of praise for feathered friends,

repeating favored sounds and patterns over

and over—often thirty-two in an hour.

It doesn’t stop there—sirens and pianos

appeal to you, barking dogs and toddlers

learning to talk until adults learn to listen,

listen, listen, our eyes fastened on the sky.


                                       by Perie Longo




Easter morning, Gloria Halleluiah, roll away

the stone, I think of the “Zombie plant,”

recent resurrection from thirty-thousand year old

seeds embedded in a squirrel’s burrow


deep under Siberian permafrost. I rush home,

gaze again at the photo printed from the internet,

silene stenophylla, such a long name for these four

white blooms trumpeting from a clump


of robust leaves, petals wisps of baby’s breath,

the icy wings of angels. In wild speculation, scientists

cross themselves—hard to believe, this miracle

impermeable to glaciers melting above.


What other treasures lurk, sealed beneath?

A dinosaur’s small brain, the Wooly Mammoth,

Adam’s rib, Eve’s apple, the snake’s rattle—

the Creator’s taproot after all?


                                    by Perie Longo


Hastamoo Histamoo


Is how my daughter, age two, pronounced

the Natural History Museum where she

could see the “futtering familygoes”

fly high in the Bird Room,

and where her older brother claimed

in the Animal Room there were two kinds:

those who bite and those who don’t.


Years past, today  I cross the bridge

to stroll among the ancient oaks

with poet friends, the memory fresh

as yesterday, this place revered

more deeply, older than all of us

have grown, and stronger because

here is the home where what lasts

over generations begins.


                        Perie Longo




With all this talk of terror and blast

it’s hard to know where to turn

under a full moon and we know

what that does to nature,


kicks up dust devils that blow you off

the road so you have to rethink your plan.


Does nature have a plan or

like the rest of us, just let it rip.

Does she fall in love with herself

as I have with the nine blooms of a lily


planted last spring and forgotten

until this morning from nowhere risen

like some white fountain

some last laugh


despite melting fjords  

and diminishment of common sense,


nine trumpets playing

                              Alleluia  Alleluia


                        Perie Longo

(Wisconsin Review, Spring 2008)


Words Like Seeds


With pencil I honor the leaves of trees

that tremble like tambourines

in the rush of air. Rain pings on the patio,

sputters like popcorn in puddles, dances

along the concrete with its wet skirts twirling.

My pencil makes waves across the paper

that leap like kangaroos. I copy down

a rainbow curling over the mountains,

sun breaking through a blue hole in the sky.

Not far away a whale trills, breaches

to see who’s there. Pencil chases

white blossoms as they blow like snow

across the grass green again

with rare rain. We hunt and peck like birds

for words like seeds to scatter over the pond

of our paper, watch ripples pulse and circle

to seed more poems up through cracks,

or right beside your foot.


                                    by Perie Longo


Birds Do Other Things          


        besides soar in the sky

as we ourselves do, unbound

from earth, feet and legs tucked,

folded against trunk, arms spread

like eagle, and jump from cliff rim,

pretending wings, cast ourselves

into blue expanse, glide the horizon.


How the bird tosses its head in jest

when thermal gives way. We stumble,

fall and our tears do more than run

down our cheeks—they sputter,

spill over the airwaves and guess what?

the bird dives in and out of tree limbs,

struts, chortles, close and hidden.


                        Perie Longo





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