Robert Andrew Perez

Robert Andrew Perez lives in Berkeley, California with two biologists. He is literally rolling in the dough, working for a Chicago-style deep dish pizza company based not in Chicago. Robert holds various other odd jobs: teaching ESL, mobile DJing for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, and working for the English departments of UC Berkeley and Saint Mary’s College (where he earned his BA and MFA, respectively) in a variety of academic capacities ranging from undergraduate Chicago-style paper scrubber to lecturer. He is also the blog manager for the Underpass Reading Series and design editor for speCt!, a letterpress imprint, both based out of Oakland. His recent work can be found in The Cortland Review, Writing Without Walls and somewhere on this site. He has yet to visit Chicago.

late summer

the sea or bay—

enough. a handful
fits in the mouth
easy. gone is gone

is gone. in poetry school
& in life you learn a word

is elegy
for that which it signifies (a rule
of semantics) by way

of stevens. by way of the sea.
how dry. even this sea: dry.
a house neatly

of popsicle sticks.
an herb garden


on a ledge above
the sink.
steam filtering through basil

leaves. hot water & porcelain.
by this logic, elegy is an elegy of an elegy.
and grief a failure

of necromancy.
zombie poem, be.

hailing clouds

today cumuli

resemble semen

ribboning in chlorine-

blue pool water

in this mood

i mind the root

meaning of words:

how ore comes from ear

or earth & or-

comes from mouth

or wound

i am bound

to attach import

to a leftover ache

that is to say a beck

& call: you

there—the gondolier—

the lovelier

of us—with exposed opening

& closing heart valves—

in imperfect halves

an exceptional hard-on-

yourself look

say: blood clot-

shaped cloud-ridden sky—screw

your moonlessness

& your moonlessnessness

then name it—

cirrus priapus

cirrocumulus thrombosis—

to escape the pother

that flees

too slowly


in 2009 the founder of the cloud appreciation society
along with his fellow arbiters announced a new formation

the sky has inverted earth’s rolling hills siphoning the green
from them to make a blanket that waves

at god-time. undulatus asperatus. this is another/different
cloud poem. an ode, to our unmade bed, a gas-rendered

ceiling. pre-boiling-point forms impress each other
shifting the moistening cotton and foam. everything white

everything upside down. there is no distance in this metaphor
greater than its exactness. not likeness, equipoise.

imagine the city we live in, known for steepness and sparseness
of anything flat. imagine the soft, pliable earth manipulated

by geothermal happenings—a hot giant invisible hand molding it.
these our bodies. what we unmake shape heaven and earth.