Excerpts From The Darkest Side: A Collection of Twisted Nursery Rhymes

I guess I had Pink Floyd on the brain when I came up with the title.

Some people who bought Danger Peak may be surprised to learn on the very first page that I also wrote a poetry book, titled The Darkest Side: A Collection of Twisted Nursery Rhymes. Of course, this book was purely self-published 15 years ago with absolutely no marketing behind it (not even a website like this). I ended up publishing only around 50 copies or so and sold most of them to my friends and family. Here is the book’s back-flap copy:

Michael Thomas Perone has been writing poetry since he was first taught his ABCs, but it wasn’t until a deep depression hit in high school that he was inspired to write a series of poems that blends Dr. Seuss with Edgar Allan Poe and marries Emily Dickinson with Shel Silverstein. Upon graduation, he continued to write poems for more than a decade during his darker days, not-so-dark days, and times when he felt he had to explain the experience of life to himself. A few of these poems, such as “Stagnant” and “Futility,” have been published previously in various poetry collections and literary zines, including Unsilenced Voices. Many of his best works are collected here in hopes of inspiring others during unexpected bouts of depression. You are not alone.

And here are a few samples:


Stagnant, I’ve become

Damn it, I feel numb

And I will experience

the endless, vicious cycle

This torture and hell

I put myself through

Gnawing my insides

and my sanity too

Mental borders

constrict my once brilliant mind

I run around in circles

It happens all the time

—I’m disappearing—

Physical breakdown

will eventually occur

Because brain and body are linked

My eyes are blurred

I can’t see out

I can’t see in

I cannot escape

this shape I’m in

I used to have emotion

Now I’m just disturbed

I can’t go on anymore

My sight’s obscured

—I’m gone.

The Suicide of Dorothy Hale (by Frida Kahlo)

Floating through the swirling sky

I, Miss Dorothy Hale

have decided to take my little life

from daring dreams gone stale

Friends told me, “Don’t you do it, dear”

But hell, what do they know?

The inscription explains my anguish clear

written in blood below

Upon the balcony’s edge I stood

ready to do the deed

They say a flower’s only as good

as it was in seed

But now I do not feel so low

walking in my world of snow.

Something Happened at the Retreat

Staggering into play

with trembling candle in hand

Spontaneously sputtering

about a nameless man

Who never grew up

from a life-to-be

is now a broken branch

from his ailing family tree

Watch him quietly kneel low

in his dopey puddle of tears

as mucous drips slow

mixing within lost years

Failing to contain

his eternity of mourning

It was cut off too soon

as his childhood was dawning

He’s puffing out flushed

overflowing with shame

His flood of body wastes

almost dousing the flame…

…But look! The tip is still lit

as the crowd gathers ‘round

His eyes pulse red

A whimper his only sound

Streaked veins his only sight

holding his still flickering light

The last fleeting legacy

of his brother’s fading memory.

Misunderstood Artist

The ambiguities

of being misunderstood

are echoed in every gallery

in each neighborhood

The painter died trying

to express his grief

while the sculptor used clay

to illustrate relief

Of course it doesn’t matter

what lies behind the meaning

If it moves you, it’s art

It transforms sleep to dreaming

When viewing a work of art

One says it’s black, the other white

And the artist, smiling, says:

“You two are both right.”

Midnight Madness

Insomnia befriends those

who gave it their all

Working night and day

and yet still fall

They would die for their country

but are charged with treason

Life’s not perfect nor fair

but everything happens for a reason

The opera man rehearsed

but forgot when to sing

He may have a heavenly voice

but timing is everything

Circling in a canoe

yet ceaselessly rowing

It’s not the loneliness I fear

It’s the not knowing.

The following poem isn’t actually in the book, but I wrote it a few years ago when I was having trouble finding a publisher for Danger Peak, so I thought I’d give it a home here:


Lying flat on my back

in the boxing ring

I fought like hell

but he outmatched my swing

Sitting with the gamblers

and I’m all out of aces

I see only mocking smirks

No more smiling faces

Stranded at the bottom of the mount

I thought I was prepped

But I stumbled and fell

before taking my first step

Floating face down in the ocean

I can’t even turn to breathe

Why bother writing down

another thought I conceive?

There are now about 15 copies of The Darkest Side left in my possession. If you would like your own paperback copy of this 120-paged collection of poetry, please send me a note on my Contact page, and I’ll give you my Paypal address. Once payment is received, I’ll ship the book to you. The books cost $15 each, including shipping and handling (unless you live outside the U.S., in which case the S&H will be more). I should warn people that some poems contain naughty language (it is titled The Darkest Side, after all), so if you don’t wish to read the occasional four-letter word sprinkled in with your poetry, maybe give this one a pass. I just don’t want disgruntled readers to say I didn’t warn them!


P.S.: Next week’s blog: Danger Peak FAQ

P.P.S.: Danger Peak is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble:

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