An Agitation of Silence

A poem by Richard King Perkins II


It hasn’t rained for weeks.
The color arcs have faded

and the factories have gone quiet.

Wednesday night,
black rag shadows drag the ground

moth-eaten, licentious.

The chartreuse blades of day have dulled
into yellow needles and frostweed.

The void of eastern Texas.

No sound carries off the misplaced cobblestone.
A young woman stares out the window

of a mint-green home.

I’m walking across a yard
of fallen sheaves and inflorescence.

An agitation of silence is all she’ll ever know.


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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Magnitude

A poem by Richard King Perkins II


It ended when I could become no larger

and began when I was less than a speck.

I am unrecognizable by machines

of analysis and magnification.

Tomorrow, I will be a galaxy

but at this moment I’m a remote scintillation.

Tomorrow, I will be the sound of worlds colliding

but I’m just a rubbing of grass blades at this time.

Between now and then there will be

books unread and compliments never given.

Stories I forgot to share.

Between now and then there will be

one side of the bed gone cold,

an ancestor’s name mentioned for the last time.

Intimacies that never happened.

These are what I try hardest to remember.

Growth is not an adding to—

growth is a taking away.


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.

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.

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.