Alice Pero

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Award-Winning Poetry

"Time Addict" won
First Prize California State Poetry Society
October 2002 Contest
Theme: Satire, Humor

Time Addict

Now that we are doing the confession thing,
I have to admit…I’m a time addict
I try to only take one day at a time, but
sometimes the cravings take over and
I swallow whole months, can’t stop myself,
I’m gobbling a whole YEAR and I’m so strung out
the next day that I don’t even know what day it is
That is, I don’t know what day I’ve been abusing
I’ve tried everything.
The 12 Step thing is so humiliating
They make a whole therapy out of my addiction,
actually telling people to “Take one day at a time”,
as though I should be taking any time at all
I’ve tried the substitution method…money for time
Right.  You go into this clinic and they stuff your
pockets with cash and expect you to be less of an addict
After that treatment, I became a serious thief, robbing
other time addicts of their money, just for kicks
It’s the same thing, the more you have, the more you
want, until your cravings for piles of dough are as
bad as your cravings for time, can’t ever get enough
Those substitution clinics are a real racket
I tried talk therapy, but it took so much of my time,
I was hysterical, trying to talk for, say…one minute….
and I’d break down and take more
People who were only hooked on heroin or booze
just felt sorry for me…they could take as much time as they
wanted and never felt a thing
Oh, I forgot to tell you…I’m a poet and those 4 minute
limits at open readings are probably what started
my addiction
I suppose if they let you feature every reading, gave
you at least 20 minutes or more, you’d never get
a craving, never get started, never want to suck in
a million years of hearing yourself talk


"Conversations About Poetry" won
Second Prize
National League of American Pen Women
Palomar Branch Poetry Contest 2001
Published in Palomar Showcase, Vol. 12

Conversations About Poetry

It is never a good idea to have a conversation
with a poet too soon after his demise;
he is usually slightly irritated,
having left one unfinished poem
and some unwashed dishes in the sink
He won't be entertained by interviews in scholarly journals
or fancy write-ups in the "very best" magazines
although it might amuse him to find
such interest in him now that he is gone
You might want to wait awhile,
maybe even 20 years or so for him to come out of his funk
Although small children have been known to write good poetry
they have also been known to turn to hard rock or even rap
But a seasoned poet will return, even quote his best work
under duress (in schoolrooms, they might chant in unison,)
while others consider him some sort of blessed saint
Poets have a tendency to come into rebirth
They find a way around all theories of heaven, hell
or the eternal damnation of being only a body
They like to start conversations, they talk more than their friends
and are at risk of being labeled ADHD
because they have way too much energy
and can see into more corners
from the backs of their heads
So don't get them too excited;
wait a little while to talk to them about poetry
after they are dead

The poem "Grass" came in as "Honorable Mention"
in the same contest above and was also published in
Palomar Showcase, Vol 12


Thinking of the soft grass under my feet
at the age of eight
what I now remember is how easy it was to leap
but it's not really a memory
because who can recall the feeling of air between legs,
the motion that was more spirit than real;
the joy flying from me so fast
I'd have to be a child again to really know it

My sister jumped from a high building when she was 38
I guess she was tired of a body pumped full of so many drugs,
she had lost track of which part of her was flesh and which
part some LSD trip
So she flew off, letting the body go into a crumple
I don't know if she is living a better life now
but I hope so
We never did talk much
and she wasn't going to tell me where
she was going or why...even after death

But I never agreed with her way of life, when living
If I was going to leap, I would land on soft grass
Because I wanted people to smile
not cry over some aftermath
and to me the landing is as important
as the flying up
so I can keep on talking to you
and maybe recover the speed of childhood
despite gravity


"Yesterday" came in third in the San Gabriel
Quarterly Fall 2002 contest and was published
in SGVPQ 17 and on the web at:>


It has long been my habit to take yesterday,
fold it neatly and slide it into my accordion
This way I can play it back whenever I wish,
although the neighbors haven't been happy,
me playing "yesterday" over and over (and it's
not even the Beatles version)
What is convenient about the accordion is that
it folds and time folds fairly easily, once you get
the hang of it
I took a class in origami and although they didn't
teach me to fold time, they gave me the knack,
I could do herons and water lilies
But it does take some doing to fold all of yesterday
I usually leave out some key things, like my
mother-in-law yelling at me or my brakes failing
I pick and choose, maybe the sound of some kid
climbing up the slide at the park or my lover
giving me a backrub (hard to get the sound of that, but it's doable)
I don't know why the neighbors don't like the accordion
I think they are missing some of the more subtle sounds,
It might help them to listen a little more carefully to
their own lives

© 2014 Alice Pero  All Rights Reserved

Last updated:   February 11, 2014