Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Philip W. Perna

All Healthy Men

I came upon a man
On the ledge of a bridge
Looking down at Death
And a steely vessel passing by
Where the water peeled, folded, and churned
Over its skin agleam with rivets and porthole eyes.
I said: “Do you truly mean to do it, friend?”
“I do not,” he answered;
“But to know simply that I can
Is a comfort.”
So I climbed over the rail,
Stood on the ledge beside him,
And waited for the solace
To roll in with the tide.

Feisty Little Red Devils

What a comfort it must be
To be thought mad.
No distractions from self-declared seers
As you go about your business
With no quarrels
Save those inside your head --
Those feisty little red devils!
With their split hooves and barbed tails,
They are not clever enough
To convince you they are not there.
Despite their talent at mimicry,
Their cries of,
“There are no feisty little red devils here!”
You will not be so easily tricked (again).
But if you should for a moment doubt,
Falter in your certitude,
Behold there, a well-dressed man
Walking your way!
Just ask him, surely he must know
The truth of the matter
Concerning those feisty little red devils.
Though beware:
If he should hesitate,
Attempt to brush by you,
Look away with contempt
Or a familiar loathing,
He is a spy! A spy I say!
And you will have to keep on him
So as to prevent him
From making contact
With others like him.
Those feisty little red devils,
They are legion,
And this is not one of them
Telling you this.

©2005 by Philip W. Perna

Philip W. Perna was born and raised in Connecticut, and has a BA in Liberal Arts: Philosophy from the University of Connecticut. He is currently pursuing an MA in Education Technology, and works from home as an online editor.

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