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Sherman Pearl is president of the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center and was a co-director of the Valley Contemporary Poets. He also helped found the Los Angeles Poetry Festival. A retired journalist and free-lance writer, his work has appeared in more than fifty literary publications and won many awards, including the National Writers Union Prize, judged by Philip Levine, the Margie Magazine Award and second place in the Strokestown (Ireland) International Poetry Competition. He has published five books of poetry, including Profanities and The Poem in Time of War.



Even the cone on the ice cream shop's roof
was sexy, how it poked the summer sky,
how the plastic vanilla that filled it
looked so much like flesh.

Even the door's tinkling bells aroused me.
The decor was virginal, the aroma wholesome…
fertile ground for lascivious thoughts.

The girl behind the counter wore a tight-
fitting uniform.  She was the flavor of the day.
I ordered rocky road for its manly sound
and the erotic little bits inside.

When the girl leaned over the containers
I froze; when she scooped me some extra
I melted.  I paid my quarter

and carried her into the sunlight with me. 
I tasted her smile, tongued her lips.
I bit a small hole at the bottom, sucked
her sweetness, licked drips from my fingers.

Her name was Innocence. 
Her name was Cherry, Caramel, Butterscotch.
I named my children after her.


                       JUNK SCULPTURES

From things without value that nonetheless
                                                            couldn't be wasted
from thimbles and remnants of cloth
from debris the sky deposited
                                                            each time it fell
from unnamable scraps brought home in pushcarts
                                                my forebears crafted a life
I myself am shaped by cracked photographs
synagogue relics
                                     fragments of fractured languages
I'm composed of desecrated headstones
                                    and junkyard car parts
            and bones that have fallen from my family tree
Everything I've reclaimed from the trash bin
is welded to me
                                                             bit by bit I grow 


It stood on the corner, a relic
            of old movies in which calls
were made behind tiny closed doors,
            spoken in private.
Behind its fogged windows,
            silence, except for graffiti
that spoke a language
            alien as the words I heard
on the street, the jabbering
            of cell-phones and psychos,
warnings emitted by stop signals.
            The booth offered sanctuary. 
I entered, squeezed myself
            into that plain sight hideaway.
In solitude I listened to wisps
            of voices that had spoken there,
heard echoes of coins
            that had clinked down the slots. 
The receiver dangled as though
            the last caller had rushed out
in mid-conversation.
            Something stirred in the cord,
maybe a breath exhaled after a long time
            on hold.  Something spoke
from the world I was connected to. 
            Hello, I shouted
into the mouthpiece, are you still there?


© 2012 Sherman Pearl

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