Thursday, March 11, 2021

Women's History Month: Thursday, March 11, 2021: Puma Perl with Two Poems, "If I Didn't Dream It" and "Just Another Day"

Photo © Alice Espinosa-Cincotta

If I Didn’t Dream It


I stopped remembering my dreams.

They seem to have gone the way of live music,

performing, drinking at the bar, hugging friends.


Sex and conversation, laughing in the street;

Did any part of my life really happen?


Or have I always sat at this desk,

hidden away from people

like a rock and roll Emily Dickinson,

imagining dancing in front of the band,

music so loud it took half my hearing

and, in that moment not thinking,

not caring about consequences

or tomorrow or even much of yesterday?


Was it all a dream?

Did I sit, surrounded

by not quite white walls

and rows of books,

as I created the life I thought about,

the one I always wanted,

a tough broad with a soft spot

that only a few ever touched,

keeping those few forever?


If it was real, wouldn’t I dream it?

Sometimes I wake in the morning,

sepia images of casual acquaintances

floating towards the ceiling,

unclear why they’re the ones

who visit, never anybody

with a hint or mystery

or a scent of the forbidden,

just some legs and heads,

riding the same bus

or standing in the elevator.


Another morning comes,

another coffee in the same

black cup, MOMA, 2000;

Does it mean I was there,

at a museum retrospective

wandering among Picassos,

red and blue periods,

Van Gogh’s Starry Night,

Modigliani’s long necked women?

Or did I sit in my chair

in front of the oak roll top desk,

far away from art and air and breath?


What if everything is a dream

and my sleeping hours are empty

of thought and image?


What if nothing in my life ever happened?


© 2021 Puma Perl



Just Another Day

 (in memory of Savage)


In midafternoon

on New Year’s Eve Day

he cancelled the plans

that he had initiated


I was not surprised,

just annoyed because now

I’d have to buy my own food


My heart remained dark

and unmoved


Connections are meaningless

if our souls are all the same

once you peel away egos

and black leather jackets


Without bodies

there’s nothing left

to exchange

but the air we breathe,

the sky we see,

the swords we bury

so deep below the surface

they’ll never be found


On New Year’s Eve Day

it was not his cancellation

that crushed my heart

despite my clumsy efforts

to piece the puzzles

back together


Once said, words

will never be unsaid

We writers are blessed

with memory

and cursed

with perfect recall


It’s hard to admit,

but my dark heart

sometimes shatters

just like his recollections


It’s easy to lose hours

like leopard gloves

and broken umbrellas


Just another night

Backup plans trashed

Chinese food on the way

Everybody lying low.


© 2021 Puma Perl

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 was the creator, curator, and host of Puma’s Pandemonium, which brings spoken word together with rock and roll. As Puma Perl and Friends, she’s performed 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.