Below is a list of poetry published in Per Contra since Issue 37. Older work can be found in the archive.
Only the footsteps, light
as rain, tell him she’s there.
Keep dreaming, Orpheus,
you’re almost at the top.
I step outside, call out to one
hail it, beautiful
in the lesbian bar (inked onto the photograph)
is to the viewer’s left, but is not being played;
When she posed as Beatrice, she probably
wasn’t thinking he would use this sketch of her
posthumously for the painting because she’d
The railway bridge looms above the river’s
Slow black, a stone Roman aqueduct,
Darkness throbs below. Four teenaged women
Execute thrash metal tributes, routines of
Dracula, done with his shift,
Sips a Schlitz under the boardwalk.
The Dipper fills up with days of being
noticed, opinions listened to,
talk of naming the moon.
Well, no one would mistake it for a farm
house—Ash Lawn down the road or, God forbid,
an ordinary mansion.
But why next door to the last house? Unless
she liked to stand upstairs in the new one,
Under a roof of rhododendron, in
nearly-summer, and the soft rain sounded
on the leaves,
luminous in the eye,
the budding innocence
you've risen again,
the last mirage of meaning,
for every high
there's a low,
Instruments of the Home
the window of the apartment spies
on the home
The Poet and Things
things want to flash through
losing my shine, I turned sober.
dry, alone with myself, left-over.
sun still nocturnal
When I fractured my knee I became one
of the lame. You see us on the streets,
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
That was the season I wrote everything in Lucida, instead of Times New Roman.
Darkness that is me,
only in profile,
If the eyes are the windows of the soul,
she stands there, inside, leaning on the sill,
watching, unable to name,
A wristwatch is a handcuff, it shackles
you to the consciousness of time;
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
A pink glow suffuses the cumulus,
tricked out with a delicate fringe of lace at the far
horizon in the east.
I have returned,
alone, years later, on a business trip--
I never knew the way the earth’s pulse beat
until I stood long hours at this spout
These thin blue petals crowd together so,
it’s hard to count them.
I asked Jack Maier, "Who is that pretty girl
Up there beside the schoolhouse?" "Stay away
From her!" he said.
Who's that pecking at my door?"
"I'm the bird called 'Never More!"
To drink in light or filter light,
rain streaming against the credit union,
the holly was hers,
the holly shining
with red berries,
Is it dusk already? The doves
on the electric pole must have gone home.
There is a movement
in the rushes and waterweeds. And you
A few days before she leaves, she teaches me
a new word. Petrichor. And when I forget
No sooner do you touch the trophy
than the brightness dims.
And the day arrives
(ill-omened or tokening relief?)
when you attend a feast
You turn the corner
and no lascivious gaze
envelops you from breast to thigh.
The outizeiro tree beside the wall
has only grown a bit.
Death By Water
The first time
no one saw the danger.
heaven is near
I spent a few hours last night
It was a sperm whale in the center
of the piazza being hauled up by a boy
Before the yoga class begins,
I greet the students at the door.
She preferred to unroll her mat
rather than unrolling her tongue while on a couch
Discouraged by her nine-to-five in class she hopes to bud.
Padmasana: that which is born out of the muck and mud.
The instructor tells me to
“lean into the discomfort.”
Ardha chandrasana has been a mystery,
a penumbra. I enter the
pose with radiant strength, my standing leg lean and
I climbed it once, jumped up to a broken limb,
Hauled myself up and climbed high enough
We say they pass away as if
Clouds scudded over distant hills
And disappeared beyond the trees,
Two poets are having dinner
at the end of a long, tedious marriage.
Crash landing into a rice paddy,
through flames our Buddhist neighbor
pulls his wife from the plane.
The knotholes hear our confession.
He lost his chance in Chang-an,
his great height above six feet
the child is not
the greatest imaginer,
days of dubious glory,
the world crowning
words never reach
where beyond words
will we find ourselves,
yet words apart,
Dark steering of love along the curve
Mr. Cassim ran an auto repair shop.
He had no neck. He looked like a turtle.
The grass was high
between the graves.
Hello Vincey! What is up with these days?
Even when young, irregularities
in the wallpaper fascinated him,
People hear about my daily sonnet
and say, What discipline! but when I try
to direct it in a particular
is the sentence I wrote when taking notes
in preparation for writing novels
Nut clusters, caramels, jujubes,
and icing squeezed from pastry tubes
The solstice comes at 2 AM. Clouds cloak
starlight so well the owls can barely see;
Tree’s lean is forty-five degrees, as though
it worships slant more than the bright noon sun,
He finds geometry in woods so easily:
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 –
Throwing horseshoes alone, I ponder local history:
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
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
Benny Hill said never to assume,
Never, never, never to assume
When last I visited Alfred and his wife
We spent the evening talking about his art.
I like to feed my nightmares haythorn straw
I am sitting in my recliner, staring,
staring around at my room.
The serpent was a liar. Eve swallowed it,
Core and all, every jot and tittle.
The world is too much with us. Sooner or later
We have to let it go, and when we do
she conceived an enigma
she opened her palate with a slash
Enigma anticipates its existence and its deciphering
it comes before the sphinx itself and the solver of the riddle
The sphinx begins its oracles
will come with its indifference.
A cloud of sand
A cloud of sand
in secret rises from the sea