All Poetry

Below is a list of poetry published in Per Contra since Issue 37. Older work can be found in the archive.

Issue 37 - Poetry


It was during a trip beyond the hills


The table is dirty


The Visitors


On a Violet


A Dog's Bark (No. 3)


A Dog's Bark (No. 5)


In Memoriam C. E. 1957 – 2014


Diego Rivera Posing with Giant Papier-mâché Devil and Girl


trees iv


trees iii


trees ii


trees i


From Sarga 69, Book II of the Ramayana


The Love Call of F. Scott Fitzgerald


Stock Trader Steps Outside


Pythagoras’s Meaning


Ineluctable Blues


Anatomy of a Passing Thought


Mnemosyne Meanders




Glossary of Snow


Meditations on Snow 7: Lost friend


Meditations on Snow 10: I have your moon


Issue 38 - Poetry


My Sister's Last Gift


School Year


How Poppies Grow


One Way of Looking at Grace






What I Did Not See Driving from Swansea


The Sheela-na-Gig at Llandrindod Wells


The Apprentice Pillar


beloved 5


beloved 6


beloved 7


beloved 8


The Sign of Steel


Zip Street Blues




Letter to Daniel G. Hoffman




Pythagoras in Crisis


Pythagoras's Broken Abacus


Sheb Wooley


Sergeant John Ordway’s Journal, Last Entry


Summoning Japan


Canto V: The Forest of Humbaba


There’s Always a Viper at the Wedding Feast by Elizabeth J. Coleman

Only the footsteps, light
as rain, tell him she’s there.
Keep dreaming, Orpheus,
you’re almost at the top.


Romancing Taxis by Elizabeth J. Coleman

I step outside, call out to one
hail it, beautiful



The Piano by Stephen Gibson

in the lesbian bar (inked onto the photograph)
is to the viewer’s left, but is not being played;


Rossetti’s Preliminary Sketch of Elizabeth Siddal as Beata Beatrix by Stephen Gibson

When she posed as Beatrice, she probably
wasn’t thinking he would use this sketch of her
posthumously for the painting because she’d
have overdosed,...


Washington’s Crossing by Ernest Hilbert

The railway bridge looms above the river’s
Slow black, a stone Roman aqueduct,


From the Balcony on Heavy Metal Tribute Night at the Trocadero by Ernest Hilbert

Darkness throbs below. Four teenaged women
Execute thrash metal tributes, routines of
Accomplished ferocity,


Summer Scream by Ernest Hilbert

Dracula, done with his shift,
Sips a Schlitz under the boardwalk.


Mountain Retreats by Colette Inez

The Dipper fills up with days of being
noticed, opinions listened to,
talk of naming the moon.


American Revolutions by Sarah Kennedy

Well, no one would mistake it for a farm
            house—Ash Lawn down the road or, God forbid,
                        an ordinary mansion.


The Home Front by Sarah Kennedy

But why next door to the last house?  Unless
            she liked to stand upstairs in the new one,


A May Poem by Sarah Kennedy

Under a roof of rhododendron, in
nearly-summer, and the soft rain sounded
on the leaves,


high and low by Donald Kuspit

for every high
                  there's a low,
and below
             more suffering,


light and dark by Donald Kuspit

luminous in the eye,
                            the budding innocence
anoints memory,


wondrous beloved by Donald Kuspit

you've risen again,
                           the last mirage of meaning,


Instruments of the Home by Salgado Maranhão
Translated by Alexis Levitin

the window of the apartment spies
on the home


The Poet and Things by Salgado Maranhão
Translated by Alexis Levitin

things want to flash through
the poem


Mere Honor by Salgado Maranhão
Translated by Alexis Levitin

losing my shine, I turned sober.
dry, alone with myself, left-over.


Unnighting by Salgado Maranhão
Translated by Alexis Levitin

sun still nocturnal


Who to Blame by Ed Meek

When I fractured my knee I became one
of the lame. You see us on the streets,


On the Edge by Ed Meek

Lizzie must have known it was high enough before she jumped from the 7th floor of her apartment in Paris. Experts claim a psychotic break from reality occurs suddenly sometimes, even in middle age


Summer 1985 by Charles Rafferty

That was the season I wrote everything in Lucida, instead of Times New Roman.


Shadow by Charles Rafferty

Darkness that is me,
only in profile,


Alzheimer’s by Don Riggs

If the eyes are the windows of the soul,
she stands there, inside, leaning on the sill,
watching, unable to name,


Watchband by Don Riggs

A wristwatch is a handcuff, it shackles
you to the consciousness of time;


Second Guessing by Don Riggs

Why is it that men--I should only speak
for myself now, but a woman once told
me the same thing



Luck: to be paired with the unknown woman,
welcoming expression, blond, same age, still quite—

in her tank top and yoga pants she was born to wear,
and we’re instructed for the assisted back bend


The Black Panther by David R. Slavitt

A pink glow suffuses the cumulus,
tricked out with a delicate fringe of lace at the far
horizon in the east.


Flash and Glow by Lee Slonimsky

                                            I have returned,
alone, years later, on a business trip--


Whitman, Not a Cardiologist by Lee Slonimsky

I never knew the way the earth’s pulse beat
until I stood long hours at this spout


Flower by Lee Slonimsky

These thin blue petals crowd together so,
it’s hard to count them.


Pretty Girl by Lewis Turco

I asked Jack Maier, "Who is that pretty girl
Up there beside the schoolhouse?"  "Stay away
From her!" he said.


Po’ Poe by Lewis Turco

Who's that pecking at my door?"
"I'm the bird called 'Never More!"


Gray by Lee Upton

To drink in light or filter light,
rain streaming against the credit union,


Holly by Lee Upton

That day
the holly was hers,
the holly shining
with red berries,


At the Turn of the Road by R. K. Biswas

Is it dusk already? The doves
on the electric pole must have gone home.


Oriental Darter Birds by R. K. Biswas

Something disturbs.
There is a movement
in the rushes and waterweeds. And you


Petrichor by R. K. Biswas

A few days before she leaves, she teaches me
a new word. Petrichor. And when I forget


Familiarity by Astrid Cabral
Translated by Alexis Levitin

No sooner do you touch the trophy
than the brightness dims.


Left-over by Astrid Cabral
Translated by Alexis Levitin

And the day arrives
(ill-omened or tokening relief?)
when you attend a feast


Hormonal Snares by Astrid Cabral
Translated by Alexis Levitin

You turn the corner
and no lascivious gaze
envelops you from breast to thigh.


Ancient Scenario by Astrid Cabral
Translated by Alexis Levitin

The outizeiro tree beside the wall
has only grown a bit.


Death By Water by Astrid Cabral
Translated by Alexis Levitin

The first time
no one saw the danger.


BRAMBU DREZI, Book III by Jack Foley

heaven is near
I spent a few hours last night


Protest by Stephen Gibson

It was a sperm whale in the center
of the piazza being hauled up by a boy


6pm Vinyasa flow by Nathalie Goykhman

Before the yoga class begins,
I greet the students at the door.


Half Lord of the Fishes by Nathalie Goykhman

She preferred to unroll her mat
rather than unrolling her tongue while on a couch


Blossoming in Padmasana by Nathalie Goykhman

Discouraged by her nine-to-five in class she hopes to bud.
Padmasana: that which is born out of the muck and mud.


Bakasana: Crow or Crane by Nathalie Goykhman

The instructor tells me to
“lean into the discomfort.”


Celestial Mechanics by Nathalie Goykhman

Ardha chandrasana has been a mystery,
a penumbra. I enter the
pose with radiant strength, my standing leg lean and


The Jackpine by Jonathan Hazelton

I climbed it once, jumped up to a broken limb,
Hauled myself up and climbed high enough


Stroll by Jonathan Hazelton

We say they pass away as if
Clouds scudded over distant hills
And disappeared beyond the trees,


Error by Strummer Hoffston

Two poets are having dinner
at the end of a long, tedious marriage.


Flying Home From Burma by Colette Inez

Crash landing into a rice paddy,
through flames our Buddhist neighbor
pulls his wife from the plane.


Knotholes by Colette Inez

The knotholes hear our confession.


Li Po, Mid-October, Gray Light Streaked with Rust-Colored Glints Over Silver Water by Colette Inez

He lost his chance in Chang-an,
his great height above six feet


new children’s art by Donald Kuspit

the child is not
                        the greatest imaginer,


miserere i by Donald Kuspit

days of dubious glory,
                              the world crowning


miserere ii by Donald Kuspit

words never reach
                         far enough,


wondrous beloved v by Donald Kuspit

o beloved,
                where beyond words
will we find ourselves,


wondrous beloved vi by Donald Kuspit

we're together,
                   yet words apart,


Buoy by Carol Lipszyc

Dark steering of love along the curve
and surge


Mr. Cassim by Vincent Poturica

Mr. Cassim ran an auto repair shop.
He had no neck. He looked like a turtle.


South Park Street by Vincent Poturica

The grass was high
between the graves.


Voicemail from Shehan by Vincent Poturica

Hello Vincey! What is up with these days?


Fascination by Donald Riggs

Even when young, irregularities
in the wallpaper fascinated him,


Storm Coming by Donald Riggs

People hear about my daily sonnet
and say, What discipline! but when I try
to direct it in a particular


The moon was just a dim smudge in the clouds by Donald Riggs

is the sentence I wrote when taking notes
in preparation for writing novels


L'empereur s'amuse by David R. Slavitt

The odorific


Sweetness and Light by David R. Slavitt

Nut clusters, caramels, jujubes,
and icing squeezed from pastry tubes


Synaptic Traces by Lee Slonimsky

The solstice comes at 2 AM.  Clouds cloak
starlight so well the owls can barely see;


Pythagoras Consults with the Swifts by Lee Slonimsky

Tree’s lean is forty-five degrees, as though
it worships slant more than the bright noon sun,


The Economics of Pythagoras’s Academy by Lee Slonimsky

He finds geometry in woods so easily:


The Ambivalence of Love by Lee Slonimsky

A narrow street in Ghent, Belgium.  Dark blue;


E. B. by R. T. Smith

           Emily Brontë, passion’s candle
but inclined to excess of brevity –


Back In Alabama by R. T. Smith

Throwing horseshoes alone, I ponder local history:


Hope again by Phil Sultz

Now the thinking is to omit the jug 
head procedure, work the surface as fact


Endure by Phil Sultz

Love exchanged with prickly care intended to suffice


Remembering  Zoltan Sepeshy  1898-1974 by Phil Sultz

A whole string of good yantefs, bravissimos, 
and skol to seal the deal.  I'm trying to get away


Hands by Phil Sultz

His roofer hands are like
his fathers, over-sized for


Assumptions by Lewis Turco

Benny Hill said never to assume, 
Never, never, never to assume


Alfred Moskowitz, R.I.P. by Lewis Turco

When last I visited Alfred and his wife
We spent the evening talking about his art.


Dreaming Stories by Lewis Turco

I like to feed my nightmares haythorn straw


Staring by Lewis Turco

I am sitting in my recliner, staring,
           staring around at my room.  


Smallage by Lewis Turco

The serpent was a liar. Eve swallowed it,
Core and all, every jot and tittle.


The Journey by Lewis Turco

The world is too much with us. Sooner or later 
We have to let it go, and when we do


The sphinx followed the footsteps of the wanderer by Carmen Váscones
Translated by Alexis Levitin

she conceived an enigma
she opened her palate with a slash


Enigma anticipates its existence and its deciphering by Carmen Váscones
Translated by Alexis Levitin

it comes before the sphinx itself and the solver of the riddle


The sphinx begins its oracles by Carmen Váscones
Translated by Alexis Levitin

will come with its indifference.


A cloud of sand by Carmen Váscones
Translated by Alexis Levitin

A cloud of sand
in secret rises from the sea