patti, did art get us?

by Gary Percesepe

often as i lie awake i wonder    are you awake too?

            we never had any children, he said ruefully

that summer i cried so much that robert called me soakie

            robert, dying: creating silence

nineteen  i was    i'd given my baby up for adoption

            why can't i write something that would awaken the dead?

i first saw you sleeping on a simple iron bed    pale & slim

            there is strength in blackness    pure hearts are kin

bare-chested with strands of beads below his chin

            will you write our story?    no one but you can

he opened his eyes and smiled   his shepherd hair   his mass of curls

            do you want me to?   i  never heard him speak again

that night in brooklyn we'd looked at books on dali and surrealism

            our work was our children

wordless we absorbed each other's thoughts and fell asleep at dawn

            he was a man but in his presence i still felt like a girl

we stayed together all summer, nothing spoken   but understood

            we were hansel & gretel in the black forest world

at the whitney we only had money for one ticket, so

            i stayed outside and lit a cigarette and awaited your report

we dreamed our work would be displayed there one day

            we buried him at the whitney museum at the blue hour

but of all your work, you are still the most beautiful

            the most beautiful of all

little emerald bird   wants to fly away

            it is true i heard god is where you are

little emerald soul   must you say goodbye?

if i cup my hand could i make him stay?

little emerald eye

            we must say goodbye




far from us


by Gary Percesepe


i picture you with a star at your foot

making me cornell boxes with colored

string, paper lace, discarded rosaries and

black pearls, a visual poem written for one


i'd give you an italian vase if I thought it'd

help, but I've discarded your spell for prayer


long ago I figured out that you were my twin

but we shuttle back and forth like the ferryman's

children, across four states of non-being, across

our river of tears, telling our stories like wendy


entertaining the lost children of neverland

and baby, you know what? it's not us.