Alice Persons has two chapbooks,
Be Careful What You Wish For and
Never Say Never. She has had poems published in various journals and received a Pushcart Prize nomination in 2004. She is co-publisher and co-editor, with Nancy Henry, of
Moon Pie Press of Westbrook, Maine. Their website is at ww.moonpiepress.com
. Her passions include animal welfare. She lives in Westbrook with five spoiled pets. Her poetry has been featured on Garrison Keillor's
The Writer's Almanac on National Public Radio
“Koko the gorilla could write better poems than these!”
- wife of a poet, on reading a literary journal
“Don’t you monkey with the monkey.”
- Peter Gabriel, “Shock the Monkey”
Help Me, Koko
Koko, I need your help
you have to be really smart
with your astounding signing ability
and your deep, wise eyes.
You’re way more sensitive than a lot of poets I know -
you cried and rocked when your kitten died
and kept signing “Sad!” “Koko sad!”
Please, throw me some metaphors,
type me a draft --
don’t bother with the Shakespeare.
I bet no student in your composition class
would challenge your authority
and nobody in your poetry group
would dare slice up your nature poems.
Doctors and lawyers would never keep you waiting
and if someone cut you off in traffic,
they’d find out what road rage is.
Work with me, Koko.
I think we could co-write some beautiful stuff -
your power, my fifty-plus years,
my computer skills,
your enormous heart.
Now at midnight there is no true dark
but a pearly glow brighter than moonlight,
black tree limbs against a nacreous sky.
On TV, the list of cancellations grows
and the weatherman can’t restrain
his gleeful smirk as he points to the massive
storm roaring up the Eastern seaboard.
Tomorrow will bring the hard labor of plows,
of shoveling walks, snowblowing a path for the oil man,
the too-familiar weariness
of all that Sisyphean work
but for these few hours there is a kind of peace
in the mostly silent streets,
our hunkering down inside,
the inability to accomplish anything
out in the white, muffled world.
The trick is to learn to like these imprisonments,
to relish them as a kind of enforced vacation,
a reminder that on this frozen coast
nature can still do in
your dinner plans, phone service,
the high school basketball game,
church suppers, bingo, AA meetings –
and give you the gift
of watching a lovely, smothering whiteness
defeat the winter dark.
Call Me Bourgeois
After watching “Pollack”, with Ed Harris
as the tormented genius,
I couldn’t sleep,
thinking about suffering and art.
Should I feel a little shallow
because I’m not a drunk or a slave
to drugs, I pay my bills, like to cook,
and no believer in my genius supports me ?
When I have a bad day,
instead of waking up fiercely hung over
and filthy on a Manhattan street,
at the end of this trying day
I do the dull, comforting routines –
let the dogs out, fill the cat food bowl,
floss, check email, and usually (not always)
behave like a grownup
who happens to be a poet.
I don’t like to wear black all the time.
Bad poets performing their work embarrass me.
I’m all for people expressing themselves,
but I also want them to shower,
and they had better not turn over any
Thanksgiving dinner tables in my vicinity.
Pain makes art
but so do pleasure and normalcy.
Sometimes the quietest person in the band
produces the purest and most lovely sound.-