Lost Illinois Pastoral

A poem by Richard King Perkins II


Now it is dark.
Glorious worlds of fireflies
lie scattered
on harsh, hungry pavement.
Phosphorescent bulbs burnt out
they crawl blindly
across oily blackness
at the edge of cricket night.

Croaking birds disappear,
dancing down into
the soul of Earth,
descending through the silent pond—
an unwavering monocle,
sentinel of falling dust
and bloody reeds

where a swan floats alone,
tender and sore,
dying in the blue shadows
at the side of an access road
no one uses anymore
except us
and a troupe
of harlequin nightingales
nesting in the throat of the world.


Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, Illinois, United States with his wife, Vickie, and daughter, Sage.

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Grease Poet

A poem by Richard King Perkins II


Carl the mechanic
was the first poet
I ever met—
livin’ at home
takin’ a few classes
at the local CC
I think us younger guys
in the neighborhood
kinda looked up to him
because he was sort
of a regular guy
but when he
came out cryin’ one day
and showed us his
first publication
he sniffed that he’d
tried to show
his old man
what he’d done
and all the old drunk
could do was laugh
and drip snot
all over the pages
Carl said this was typical
of how people
treated poets
which was why I knew
I’d never be one
so I asked Carl
to pop the hood
of the Charger
and show me
the spark plugs
or something.


Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, Illinois, United States with his wife, Vickie, and daughter, Sage.

Pulling Your Own Life out of a Hat

A poem by Richard King Perkins II


Most suicides begin like a magic trick—
preparation, a few props, the intent to impress.

All a friend of mine needed was a rifle,
some beer and an audience of trees.

When the show was over, there was no applause
because he had only made himself disappear

into the ground, which isn’t much of an illusion
since anyone can do it.

The real magic is in making yourself reappear
before the act is done.


Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, Illinois, United States with his wife, Vickie, and daughter, Sage.