Alice Pero’s poetry has been published in many magazines and anthologies including Nimrod, National Poetry Review, River Oak Review, Poet Lore, The Alembic, North Dakota Quarterly, The Distillery, Fox Cry Review, The Griffin,and G.W. Review, California Quarterly, Pratik, “Coiled Serpent,” “Wide Awake,” “Altadena Poetry Review,” and many others. Her book of poetry, “Thawed Stars” was praised by Kenneth Koch as having “clarity and surprises.” Her book with artist, Vera Campion, “Beyond Birds & Answers” was published in 2021 by Elyssar Press. Pero is a teacher of poetry and a member of California Poets in the Schools. She is the founder of the reading series, “Moonday,” ongoing in the Los Angeles area since 2002, now located in Sunland. An accomplished flutist and former dancer, she created the performing group, “Windsong Players Chamber Ensemble" in 2015, which gives concerts regularly around the Southland. Alice Pero is the 10th Poet Laureate of Sunland/Tujunga.

"The romance of discovery, the radiant brilliance, the surprise and laughter are all here in Alice Pero's
deeply intelligent insights into the edge of things."

                                    ~The Book Reader~

Before The Fall

Squeezing the last drops of summer
sweet and pungent, like a Chinese sauce,
savored with watermelon and lime,
we gallop down dusty hills, yell at the ocean,
claim a stretch of land, three acres,
where eucalypti stand like benevolent brothers,
A huge hawk watches from a tall pine,
marks us with the eye of the ancient god
we cannot escape
We lie in the arm of the hill, half crazed with sun,
drunk with late summer's slow nectar,
our mouths open to receive the offering,
then slap the hard dry earth, bold as dancers
daring the bull, we rush away,
nimble as acrobats, thin as leaves,
we float off, disappear into hot air,
descend to drink cool evening moon,
full and fat,

published in G.W. Review

To Please A Man

When I brought him that bowl of navy bean soup
I tried to impress him with its Latin name
I had memorized the genetic code of the potato
Tossed roots of words into the trash with the peelings
I placed long strings of conjugated German verbs
on the table with the melon,
thinking to sweeten the dessert
For the next meal I composed an ode to the toaster
while giving the full history of breaking fast
citing the dates of several English's kings battles
in Ireland and Wales
At lunch I sang a Gregorian chant, which sounded
soothing accompanied by the chopping of onions
then I spun a sonnet into the soufflé
giving it just a hint of flavor...
nothing that would offend
I hoped he didn't injure a tooth biting into
the pie where I had carefully hidden the
rest of the history of the Western world
He didn't comment
but later mentioned that he was part Japanese
would prefer haiku in a dish of sushi
Men are so hard to please

published in California Quarterly

                          for Lois

Since you have succeeded in putting an entire life
in a few short stanzas,
I will have to make a poem with no beginning or ending,
that simply breaths in clouds, dogs, ink, darkness
with no thought of coming or going, giving or receiving
for how can I answer?

The wind blows but we do not know where it starts
The ocean heaves, but from what point?
I could eat a ham sandwich and include in each bite
my entire history, including kings, castles and beheadings,
but who would observe?
I could speak to you of plans to drive to Barstow
while the milk of my life flows, unseen before you

You will vaguely itch
Too much of me might tip the scales,
overwhelm careful lies of the universe

So I will merely smile slightly out of a corner of this poem,
going where you want to go in the next round

published in Griffin


Alice Pero



© 2021 Alice Pero


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