Richard King Perkins II

Kentucky Jelly

There’s only one side to his pillow—
and like a celibate earthworm
with a myopic holographic mind

he’s more afraid of his wife hitting it
with a girl than a guy.

I welcome the sky she lives beneath—
the regurgitation of her foam
tadpoles turning into butterflies

and into that suspension of air
I offer the breath of allegiance
to her every world that begets
an infinite array of fleshy worlds.

We feed together
on blue grass of metallic shavings,
our combined mouths
prepared to lick the sky in pink distort.

The reason he can’t release her
is he’s hard to condemn her porn
as her head shrinks to oblivion,
basking in the guts of brute promises,

laid out in the muddy strum
of Kentucky jelly and heavy spit.



Birthplace of Horn

Wicked traveler,
egocentric window,

leave your body stretched
across another’s soul

bound in the red twine of sin.

You won’t speak your regret

or trust the urgency of seasons
lashed to the world by a stem.

Polished glass is jealous
of all that came before

aspects never seen but imagined
brothers of earthy comfort

speaking directly to your birthplace
of horn.

The tearing of innards begins
on the way to snowcapped islands

where the weeping burns
long before its heritage ends—

In all your lands of belief
infinitesimal globs of divinity

escape with every uttered word.



Oxygen-Fire and Brilliance

There is a week imagined
only in words—
when we can learn about each other

all we’ll ever need to know;
my hands swollen and feverish,
hardened by your weakness

and churning hormones.
You’ll never quite trust me—
and that’s the best part of it;

discovering your identity
against your will
and better judgement

confirming to all my senses
that you’re a fantastically-created,
intrinsically-sneaky being.

In these intangible times
of oxygen-fire and brilliance,
the days die out so quickly

but we’ve already learned
all we’ll ever need to know
about each other

by deciding
that those vast and soaring seven days
were necessary and desirable at all

even if we’re too far and realistic
to touch:
boldly, submissively, enough.



Webcam Girl

It takes an extraordinary effort for me to abandon
the tangle of paper and sticky notes
latticed in my cinderblock cubicle.
Blessed fellow creature, I’ll play along with you;
watching as you make pleasing sounds and physical artistry
while building your unassailable fortress of amaranthine
but asking for violation at all times and in every way.
Our friendship began with the first secret we shared—
your simple plan to sleep after more than five years.
It was no secret to me; a sheaf folded asymmetrically
and laid on your kitchen counter, reflecting in the toaster.
You thought it the perfect curse, an everlasting entrapment,
something I’d hoard in my own sanctum of isolation.
Your note to the world contains only thirteen words
yet the history of god seems insignificant in comparison.



Proud Papa Legba

The first night, you were a special gift—
I carried you up the stairs cradled in strong arms,
laid you gently in your bed, covered you up snug.

The next night, you were a sack of laundry—
I tossed you over my shoulder, up the stairs,
dumped you on the bed and let you lay there.

The night after that, you were a bag of garbage—
I dragged you up the stairs by the arms, thumping all the way.
I left you in the middle of the floor.

Thereafter, I never carried you—
left you passed out wherever you came to rest,
sometimes blocking the stairs and me and my friends

would have to step on you to get anywhere.
But I didn’t mind, because it was just another step to me.
Staring straight ahead, I knew it was just another step.



Behind the Bleachers

A young woman dreams of Ruby Rose
in bondage and a girl named Molly
from her gym class and in the dream
they go down on each other behind the bleachers
later she writes scads of confessional poetry
attesting to her queerness left haphazardly
around her room with the dim hope
that someone might find them
but no one cares enough to look
so she ends up going to the prom
with a guy named Jason and she lets him squeeze
her breasts and put an eager finger inside her
she cries softly under her breath
so that he never notices her pain
and when she comes home in the late night
she finds a gorgeous tattooed woman
lying spread-eagled on the bed
bound with silk ties and satin scarves
she loosens the knots of her captured fantasy
and they crawl together beneath the sheets
where the tattooed woman whispers that she’s read
all the poetry scattered on the bedroom floor
and that there’s a girl from school named Molly
who’s been dreaming of open mouth love
behind the bleachers as well.




Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.


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