March 30 – April 5, 2020: Poetry from Puma Perl and Taylor Graham

Puma Perl and Taylor Graham

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Puma Perl

Bio (auto)

Puma Perl is a poet, writer performer, and producer. She’s the author of two chapbooks, Ruby True and Belinda and Her Friends, and three full-length poetry collections, knuckle tattoos, Retrograde (great weather for MEDIA), and Birthdays Before and After (Beyond Baroque Books.) She is the creator, curator, and host of Puma’s Pandemonium, which brings spoken word together with rock and roll. As Puma Perl and Friends, she performs regularly with a group of excellent musicians. She’s received three awards from the New York Press Association in recognition of her journalism and was the recipient of the 2016 Acker Award in the category of writing. Visit Puma on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Puma Perl and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


The Taste of Fresh Bread

It’s been 3 years and 99 days since I ate an apple. I used to eat one every morning. Big juicy green Granny Smiths. Sometimes I’d dice them up with bacon. Other times I’d cut perfect slices and spread thin layers of almond butter; peanut butter was too chunky. I still have peanut butter but it’s the oily kind the Food Patrol gives out. The last time they came it was a 14-hour wait and all they had left was the oily peanut butter and some beans.

Before the Night Years, I tattooed tulips and dancing girls on my arms. One of the girls was holding an apple, but it was a red one. Macintosh. Now the ink is peeling from the dryness of my aging skin. Everything has accelerated but the sun. I don’t know what I miss more, sex or fresh bread. Or maybe just the smell of bread. I remember sex, but the taste of bread has faded.



Taylor Graham

Bio (auto)

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler and served as El Dorado County Poet Laureate (2016-18). Her poems are included in Villanelles (Everyman’s Library) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Heyday Books), and forthcoming in California Fire & Water: A Climate Crisis Anthology. Her latest collection is Windows of Time and Place: poems of El Dorado County (Cold River Press, 2019). Visit Taylor on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Taylor Graham and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


ER Fantasie

We’re sitting under Smoke Barrier 21
waiting for your CT-scan.
It’s cold. I tell you, that’s to keep germs
from exploding their populations.
I suspect the heat’s been sucked away
by the southern hemisphere,
wildfire becoming its own weather.
When all of Australia is ash,
the balance will shift, our planet slip
again on its axis, it will be summer here
more so than ever. Already
we’ve cut down the trees lest they ignite
power-lines, trees that convert
our personal exhaust to clean-scrubbed
air. This hospital ER
where staff and patients walk masked
at nose and mouth
as they pass Smoke Barrier 21.


Avalanche Tale

Trying to remember the story from years ago – it was cold and dark by headlamp, lodge in ruins. Jumbled rubble like giant teeth broken, sticking out of masticated snow. Dead arm with raised fist couldn’t stop the snow. Someone still missing. A handler followed her dog, who stuck its nose in a crevice, barking, digging. Excited! Another storm. Everyone had to leave, too risky. Days later, same dog dashed to the very spot; frenzied digging. An air-pocket, a survivor! What I remember of the story, word-for-word:

How my dog acted –
I should have known, somebody
was alive down there.