Writing the Apocalypse | In the Mayor’s House: In Commemoration of World AIDS Day

Writing the Apocalypse is a weekly series featuring the poems, essays, and recollections of Puma Perl, with subject matter influenced by her experiences as a NYC resident during the COVID-19 pandemic.



I had planned to leave

the golden man’s house

at 7:45. He lived ten

blocks and five dimensions

from Gracie Mansion.

He didn’t want me to go.

He loved my tall walk

down his hallway.

I left at 8:15.


In the mayor’s mansion,

on World AIDS Day,

there is an open house.

Open, by invitation only.

Guests devour

sandwich triangles,

bland, tasteless slivers

served on silver trays,

tired red ribbons

wilt fresh pressed shirts.


Are you anybody?

Narrowed eyes wonder

No, they decide.

I’m nobody.


Everyone takes pictures

on the good side,

I find new friends quickly

through the common language

of provocative subversion,

The mirrors hang high on the walls.

We bounce without reflection,

irrelevant as promises.


The line creeps listlessly.

Little Mayor Mike B poses,

looking only into camera eyes.

As he shakes my hand

hot gold morning cum

runs down my leg,

staining my appropriate

black suit.


© puma perl, 12/06

Puma Perl is a poet and writer, with five solo collections in print. The most recent is Birthdays Before and After (Beyond Baroque Books, 2019.) She is the producer/creator of Puma’s Pandemonium, which brings spoken word together with rock and roll, and she performs regularly with her band Puma Perl and Friends. She’s received three New York Press Association awards in recognition of her journalism, and is the recipient of the 2016 Acker Award in the category of writing. Her most recent books can be found by clicking here.


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