Melanie Perish

Headshot of Melanie Perish


Melanie has been submitting to Brushfire since 2010, but has been interested in poetry for as long as she can remember. She used to work here at the university for Alumni Relations, which is when Joe Crowley suggested she should submit. Melanie draws inspiration for her poetry from women’s writing workshops that she attended in New York City in the 1970s. She’s extremely active in the recovery community, and she enjoys hiking, fishing, and snowshoeing in her free time. Her favorite quote is “While writing is solitary, thinking is collective.”

Featured Work: Wheels

Driving, driven. Bartleby the Scrivener knew and like him,
I would prefer not to and yet I do and know and do
again. Drive, driven. Like Chicago pols: Drive early; drive often;
even the dead drive and we do drive dead: dead-heads, dead-headed
for gardeners and herb connoisseurs alike. It’s better, we’d say,
than driving dead drunk, but it wasn’t. Driving, driven. Under the influence
we drove in droves – not just under the influence of substances, but under the influence
of not-substances, of the insubstantial, of concepts, the concept of crossing or the cross.
We put the trans back into transubstantiation of the soul, of the sole artist or the soul
artist. Is there any other kind? Yes: the sold artist. Drive, driven.
Behind the wheel of a sedan, a compact, a sub-compact, a trans-compact contract
that may delineate the conditions under which we drive or thrive or we survive
despite the obvious driving we do in hazardous conditions –
not only rain, sleet, hail and dark of night – as any driven creature.