Featured Poet: Andrew Periale, Strafford
Andrew Periale has spent the past 25 years as a puppeteer, performer and playwright. Given the uncertain earning potential in these professions, "poet" seemed like a career move well within his risk profile. With his
wife, Bonnie, he has been the longtime editor of the nationally
distributed PUPPETRY INTERNATIONAL magazine. They also have toured for
many years as the Emmy-nominated Perry Alley Theatre. "The Meter Maid" was published in a recent issue of LIGHT QUARTERLY, and his
adaptation of George Orwell’s ANIMAL FARM opens at Philadelphia’s Mum
Puppettheatre in April. He is the current poet laureate of Rochester
Of his showcase poem, Andrew writes:
I lead a number of creative writing classes at area high schools, and
sometimes I scribble along with my young artists, particularly during
those quick "kick off" exercises at the beginning of class. Working from
the purloined prompt (pick-pocketed from a Portsmouth poet) to write
about a cat (not your own) who has nothing to live for, I penned this
gem with the sense of surprise my cat displays at the appearance of an
extremely large fur ball.
Cat at Sundown
No doubt about it: the cat’s a pill—
sharpens claws on table legs,
refuses to be pampered,
and one that’s really hard to swallow.
But now the cat’s gone hollow.
Hard to say what’s different—
he still perches on his pillow
yet his eyes no longer follow me
across the room. Mice come and go
without disturbing Kitty’s catatonia.
This beast I lately loathed
I now bear to and from his litter box,
fuss over each successful bowel movement.
Last month, he wouldn’t let me touch him,
now he suffers these indignities without complaint.
That’s how it goes with families:
One has notched another’s ear,
pissed in an inconvenient place
or knocked a treasured heirloom to oblivion.
In the end, the only thing that matters
is to be there,
stroke the soft, warm fur
and wait for night to come.
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