Puma Perl


You were younger than me
I guess you still are
You asked if I’d been bad
and I replied, purposefully,
They just drew me this way
That was all it took
We began, despite the distance
I don’t know when we became friends
or why you are still so important
These days, you’re writing
about arthritis in your hands
and blue pills so you can fuck,
sobriety and sadness…
Did I like you better drunk?
Maybe, but not on speed,
out there in the desert
or prowling LA streets,
messaging the girls,
hooking up with the boys…
and the girls
Were you happier?
Was I?
With my poetry readings
and big fat boyfriend
and my 12 Step meetings,
thinking my books mattered,
thinking anything mattered
While writing the fourth one,
I read your manuscript
and threw mine in the garbage
You are still the better poet
even though you say you’re not
Some of my best poems
respond to yours
A few other good ones
wrap themselves around
a moment, if I’m lucky
Most of them are garbage
It’s like baseball
If you hit 20 out of the park
in a season you’re pretty good
20 home run poems a year
I’d win a Pulitzer
Stick it on a shelf,
probably break it
Or lose it
Safety can be measured
in miles
3,000 just about makes it
My perfect relationship
Close, and really, really
far away.

Puma Perl is an award-winning poet, writer, and journalist, and has four solo collections in print. A fifth is expected to be published in 2019. She is the producer and creator of Puma Perl’s Pandemonium, which brings spoken word together with rock and roll, and she performs regularly with her band, Puma Perl and Friends.