Issue > Poetry
Robert Andrew Perez

Robert Andrew Perez

Robert Andrew Perez resides in Emeryville, California, a small bayside city nested between Oakland and Berkeley, where he teaches. He was recently selected for the Russell & Yvonne Lannan Prize, awarded by the Academy of American Poets. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.F.A. from St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga.

Poppies. Poppies.

california is full of it: gold. the rush
we get from its luster. it drove men
in droves here. the burning sun
cools itself by dipping into the blue,
that's golden, too.  
the bridge i see on runs and walks.
your hair, your hair, your hair.
the wicked witch knew its power—i sleep
in the gold of california. the seeds
still stuck in my teeth. a trace
of opiates in the blood. the drive
to dover beach, beyond the exit
for the landfill, the hills beside the freeway
swayed—no—quivered spotty orange.
freckled terracettes. hiking the beach
later that day, i saw more. your face
against the green. your face against
the blue. the currency of home
in a face, yours. the transaction
of memory is an image for its forgotten
name. give me that flower on fire.
give me the word for unbearable sun.


the silence around us broke. we ran to our room from the sky whose bottom fell, all of a sudden, out, just before arriving at the ibis hotel. it was faintly dusk when the wide revolving door swept us in from out where the rain was pouring. by the time we got to our room, the sky had changed to the color of soot. the humidity of hot, austrian, summer air clung to our bodies, a layer of the day beneath our damp clothes. the first thing we did when we got in was shower it off, though the smell of it kept in our room, the ocean inside a landlocked country.

i sat on the soft corner of the spring-less platform bed. i drew my face and peered beyond your hand which was drawing back the curtain, through the window, as you said look: refracted bolts causing the rectangle to strobe. the shower water was evaporating from our naked bodies. i shifted which moved my thin, long-twin bed closer to yours; in vienna, two in a room means two beds per room. you walked toward me and nested your knee between my clean thighs and i saw, over your shoulder, for a second, a bolt cleave the window into two jagged halves.