Christopher Barnes’ first collection LOVEBITES is published by Chanticleer. Each year he reads at Poetry Scotland’s Callender Poetry Weekend. He also writes art criticism which has been published in Peel and Combustus magazines.
“Putting You Through Now. Caller.” (26)
“Why did Tapsell bean-spill?
If you eyeful him again – in the flesh…
Smiling in a low-cunning mask –
Yo0ho out to the cab.”
“My paradise has its quicksand.”
That gambit is to move, and course.”
“Putting You Through Now, Caller.” (27)
“The latest wrinkle should’ve phantomed.
A dust-cloud of sales talk
Might get inauspicious.
Need you furthest – unhooked,
“Same write-off as usual?
Booth you from the motel.”
“Putting You Through Now, Caller.” (28)
“Loretta’s hurling gowns around The Manhattan.
Shall I ad-lib?
The idiot box is regulation low-profile,
A bowtie aerial gin-sticky.
She urged the .45 onto the table.”
“At times I dread spilled beans
To a pitapat of the network’s jingles.”
"Putting You Through Now, Caller.” (29)
“Two floor-to-ceiling doors pounced slack.
McKissack belly-busted through, wheezing.
I larruped his mug.
Sundown went pasty.
Even traffic cowed, apoplectic.”
“His ol’ lady’ll be hosannaing for ministry
To all the gangland dead.”
"Putting You Through Now, Caller.” (30)
Haemoglobin drizzled into an embittered pavement.
I sloughed my jerkin off.
Even nettles broke sweat.
We liberated the MG.
Does the chit mean squit to you?
What was the kitty moving for?”
“It reeked of Turkish unfiltered
And prickly hope.”
Sonnet 18, Lucidity of Life
I shall bid the gray darkness 'farewell'
greeting the dawn with a resounding joy.
feel the warmth of the Sun upon my face;
hear the awakening birds sing their songs.
make a pact...and embrace silence this day.
view a world with muted tranquility
the heart covets all that whispers to me.
Like a great oak, I welcome all seasons,
accept the daily suffering with grace.
the good days, like sunshine, will help you bloom.
Days of storms, make you strong and resilient.
I rise and inhale the breaking red dawn;
dew on the grass sings lovely songs to me;
the beauty in one's heart shall guide the way.
As the sky turns from a light gray to pink
streetlamps now hang albeit a fallow pale
Bluebirds gather upon the wires and poles
the morning sun makes feathers feel warm
coot and cormorant soar down the beach
white terns hastily skim along wave crests
large fishing boats race to leave the harbor
the wakes slap against the granite seawalls
couples now stroll barefoot on wet sands
clouds tinted with red-orange glow float by
sound of cars build as the town awakens
sipping hot coffee, breakfast is now calling.
Desert Spirits Dance
Some ride the plains when
the full moon is high.
A ghostly form upon their horse as
they go floating by.
When dark clouds gather and
rumbles of thunder are heard.
Lightning strikes the Superstition's
amongst screams of the thunderbird.
Spirit mules follow a path to the mines
lost on the trails in another time.
The face of old miners peer from rocks
and sultry shadows.
They hide their gold from claim jumpers
buried in a haunted hollow.
Tumbleweed races across plain and playa
rolling over bones of the lost or pariah.
Dancing in the light under stars and sky,
the reaper walks within a flock of magpies.
Riding o'er the plains when the moon is high.
Rise to inhale the break of dawn; jump at
the sting of a horse fly.
(First Published, Red Poppy Review)
Throng of Mornings
I could see the belltower through undulating mists.
Black skies now give way to a gray, bird-filled morning.
Starlings fly in great flocks; first east, then west, finally south.
They gather numbers for a the migration to warm climates.
I watched as leaves of the oak suddenly fell, as if too tired to
hold on for one moment more.
Acorns drop from high branches hitting leaves on the way down
sounding like hail during a freak summer storm tap, tap, tapping
upon an old tin roof.
A lone goose is spotted flying high; either this years gosling
or one who lost its mate during the long summer days.
A noise startles me; the bus stops there at the crossroad.
I step up looking to the field and a small deer stares at me;
I stare back; we didn't move and neither of us blinked.
Then the bus driver said, c'mon lad;
another day begins as September
announces it's arrival.
The Janitor’s Work
And so the janitor uses
to clean it
the yellow pencil
the muscle of it
the page, the eraser, the
Sweeping the Floor
With the good of it
says the janitor
that is my stride
to sweep the floor--
from side to side
like a smile in time--
golden as the straw
the handle so proud
After the Shift
The glass torpedoes of straight whiskey sink
into the golden oceans in the pint.
They stand six abreast for the soldiers to drink
who for eight hours have clawed through the night.
Now the mouths man the stations of bar wood
ready to fire fluid into the blood,
ready to crash glass bottoms on the bar.
With 80 proof they heal the wounds of war.
My Cousin Jenny
He commits to experience himself through every emotion, every love, every sorrow and every joy from this life he has received and then he tries to turn it into poetry.
In a world where we can invent ourselves, he pours his spirit into his words, willing to share with every other human being.
Sometimes he is burning red, like the color of igniting love.
Sometimes yellow, like every other blooming sunflower who is fearless and desperately wants to be loved.
Sometimes pink, like Taylor Swift's song "lover" and Sometimes he's blue, like color of seas and skies, color of state of mind.
But most of the time, he is just a 25 year old Indian author struggling to find a little escape through his words in this ephemeral yet efflorescent world.
( This is about parents who gave birth to a girl. In many countries like India, people kill their girl child or leave them orphans because they think girls are a burden to society. So this poetry is dedicated to that girl and the trauma that little suffers through is unimaginable)
Where am I?
Who are you?
Why are you all looking at me like this?
Is something wrong with me?
Nobody seems to be answering me, maybe they can’t understand me.
I’m so small. Oh! I’m a baby.
Which ones are my mom and dad?
I feel tired, I must sleep.
What do we do with the baby?
It is not our duty
What kind of parents would leave their child like this?
Some truly stone hearted parents, i suppose.
Maybe because she’s a girl.
But, what do we do now?
The world is so cruel out there.
we can’t keep her here.
Give me the answer i ask,
Let her live in peace or die in this hour.
Dear working/earning humans,
I'm sure sometimes
you have some money to spare,
you feel like doing something good,
you feel like putting your money to good use,
you feel like being kind to people.
At those times, what do you do?
Do you donate your spare money,
To Gods in Temples,
Or to well built young men begging on the streets?
I'm sure you do that.
What do you do,
When you're travelling in a train and buy a fruit cake which is being sold at Rs. 40, whereas the MRP is Rs. 35?
You argue that guy, and you don't buy it at Rs. 40.
Because, why let that hard working man have a profit of Rs. 5, when you can donate it to the Temples or those well built young beggars.
Change begins from home. Change begins from you.
You're the most intelligent species on this Earth.
Act like one!
in thirds. She was helping after my
second baby. Straightening the
medicine cabinet arranging items
by type, I complained I understood
my chaotic shelf and I’d never find
what I want easily. Not my way,
I asserted, forgetting she loved
me unconditionally, and I was
acting like my teen decade but
should have grown up. She,
who was always ready with
hugs, advice I didn’t have
to take, repressed her widowhood
pain that began in her forties to
make everyone else’s life more
comfortable, was seldom told
of her value. Caring and
kindness were just ‘her’, so
I didn’t compliment or thank.
Left with ashamed sensations
after her death, releasing myself
meant stripping away layers of ‘me’
until I was able to begin to forgive
I offered you
Why then am I
from heavy heat,
and empty cups, once confining
Italian ices, appear curbside,
I enjoy sunshine glinting off
Open umbrellas poke through
circular tables in area
skaters’ blades glide in winter.
In confines of a cool
store’s dressing room, I stare
at formal gardens above
Rockefeller Center’s complex;
from the street this
refuge is invisible. Pigeons
loiter on air conditioning
cylinders greenish with age.
Like me, now... no longer
resident; only my youth is native.
The ache to return is
camouflaged with feelings:
summer 2012 SNReview ©2012 Lois Greene Stone
Holes in the Bottom
it should be storing tools,
or be a long hope-chest
for accumulating bridal
linens. Except for the
raised religious symbol
on its smooth lid.
Soil, on the shovel’s
reluctant to drop.
Tumbling such depth,
sounded like gunshot
when striking its target.
Mourning has become
The Last Speck
She was a husk in the hospice bed.
Her skin two sizes too large
Doesn’t shrink in a wash
Of sponge baths and spray shampoo.
ShamWow won’t clean those cloudy eyes
But maybe a little clear remains,
A spark in her glazed visage.
She gripped my arm with a veiny hand
And told me between breathless spittles
Of when her friends would push furniture
To the walls and dance a night through
To Glenn Miller’s silky brass notes
And Sinatra’s blue-eyed ballads.
Of how she was beautiful.
Of how she could dance.
The last speck of her
Survived in those moments,
Clinging to who she was, is, and maybe will be.
Susan Kahil singer/songwriter/poet/artist is originally from the UK but now lives in Spain on a secluded mountain valley olive, orange and avocado farm.
Surrounded by nature and wildlife is where she draws her inspiration for poetry
and original songs, always looking for the beauty and infinite potential in all things.
Susan has just released her first poetry collection ‘Starlight Translated’ Book 1 ‘Blinded Visions’ available as paperback or kindle in Amazon.
Its Only Words
My thoughts passing through this age
Why are you reading me I’d like to know?
Is it simply because I put them on show
The question arises why do I?
Bare my soul let you pry
The only reason I can figure outIs that myself I must doubt
For if I were so sure and content
I would in silence know what is meant
One fine day after I have untangled my rhythm
I’ll come to this conclusion a final decision
That my poetry is but for me learning curve
The journey in which I myself observed
To find that all words are but emotions
Spelling in drops into a vast ocean
So for now read my dictations from the heart
I’ll soon be gone will have to depart
For I will be wiser and so very sure
Its only words there’s so much more
She milked the moon for sunshine,
Collected and gathered wild stars that were
shooting out into sempiternity
When a veil of clouds covered the night sky
ready for bursting tomorrows reasons
Eye shutters closed curtains drawn on all incoming
Into a dreamy poetical privacy of awakenings
Sometimes even the darkness was just that little
bit to bright
Her imagination lit up the Universe already
SHADOWS OF THE TONGUE
Those blank spaces hide the real message to be heard
Vibrational signals an intangible sequenced tone
We pick up the denser heavier frequency shown
Pauses and stops when the spirit breath enters
A silent place pure quietness without stentor
Every single letter that’s inked in a traced outline
Is but a shadow cast from the invisible noted rhyme
We cannot write with sacred light eyes never comprehend
Our souls the metaphysical allow us to take and bend
So to one another we converse speak the shadows tongue
Words are just coded echoes of a feeling already spun
Just as the stars light arrives to us so very much later
So do the thoughts we think through voice or on paper
From a place so deep as never could be described
A spark ignited coming in through a cosmic tide
Reverberations in song or scribed memories to become
Even us we are but shadows speaking the shadows tongue
A Psychotropic Pancake
My hands shaking from anxiety something this is supposed to help with. I measure out one cup that’s level of course that I pour into the sifter to get out any lumps of powder.
Then I add just a pinch of lozampam ¼ of a teaspoon to be exact to calm my nerves more and mellow me out.
Then comes the “sweetener” - lithium - two cups of this magical ingredient that makes the unicorn and evil trolls disappear into the closet.
Then I add the fat - risperdal -. This ingredient is supposed to add flavor, sugar, and spice back into my life instead it makes me fat like fatty patty down the block and puffy.
I feel like like I'm on drugs when I consume it but in a pancake batter, it's just fat.
It's safe I think.
However, it drives my eating disorder crazy making me see myself in the metal spoon as weighing 5000 pounds. when really I’m 181.23 pounds and 5’3. Let's face it I'm a bulimic but the in denial kind.
Then I take the puffing powder to make my pancakes light and fluffy like I’m floating on soft clouds. This is - amitriptyline -. It makes you calm and sleepy like the angels are calling your name as a harp plays in the background a melody fit for a giant that has the magic golden harp up on top of the beanstalk.
Yet I know this doesn't exist because I'm eating part of my pancake daily.
The rainbows, clouds, unicorns, and happiness get mixed together all the with the colored spoon that whips the ingredients into a medical cocktail.
Then into the hot grilled it goes spooned out in in a perfect circle as my perfectionism won't have it any other way.
Then flip onto the plate it goes then it gets dusted with more - Lithium - for that added kick before it goes down the hatch.
I'm checked by the resident staff to make sure all the pancake went down. They check under my tongue and in my check pockets. Like always they are clean and I pass the test. Then five minutes later in the bathroom when no one is watching I quickly vomit part of the psychotropic pancake followed by a quick flush as if I had just urinated.
Each strand strong, and coarse, a helmet to my mind
Each springing curl bouncing back those who don’t recognize
It’s greatness. My helmet is glossy, moisturized and impenetrable.
And my eyes, almond shaped, brown like the giving earth,
Eyes that squint with smiles,
Eyes called beautiful, eyes called hypnotizing under a canopy bed
Or forgiving and loving, its depths showing empathy.
My lips I’m told, were sculpted by Venus
Lips that bruise after giving too much
Painted a deep rose pink, and when my lips opened,
Intelligence poured out from its depths.
And my hips, hips one day that will bear infants,
Hips that that twist and turn and dip in dance,
Hips from my mother, and my mother's mother,
Hips that branch to thighs, strong enough to stand its ground.
Who can say, but me, that her skin can appear exposed
yet beneath my soft barrier, is a chain mail armor
To protect from arrows shot by worthless men who
Would never compare to me.
Words I Wished My Mother Said
There you are, short and scrawny hiding in the corner.
Shameful, like your pay stubs littering the nightstand.
I am not the cause of your lack of motivation--
When did it become my fault you can’t find a job
Or that at thirty-five you’re not ready to commit?
I was not built to make you feel smart,
Or to help you become a better man,
I can't hold your hand and give you power all at once.
But I’ve made some stupid choices
Because of love I stop, shrink, and swallow myself,
My voice once strong, now stunted but I’m too gone to care.
Before long the playback of my voice is a stranger,
My words are those I don't remember, I’m changing
I don’t recognize myself in the mirrors I pass.
I’m too tired to be a flame, so instead I ebb.
I’m too young to be this woman, can I stop?
I’m too hurt to try again, but I will.
The Reality of Love in your 20’s
You take 40-minute train rides after 14-hour shifts
We find time between work and sleep for a few hours each week
Our I love yous are spoken silently
Through fingertips cupped under my ear tracing circles
Through an arm gone numb under my head
Through the lacing of legs on days when we need sleep.
Our love can be loud sometimes because
We keep it to Thursday nights
So, we sometimes find it in the aisles of supermarkets,
with silly jokes and creaky carriages that pass by cans of tuna
Because even if love wants to spend all day in bed together
I have work in eight hours, and you need sleep before your next shift
And we have gotten good at making Thursday nights
Seem like years
BARBARA GAIL MONTERO
DANNY P. BARBARE
DAVID E. HOWERTON
JOHN L. STANIZZI
JONATHAN DOUGLAS DOWDLE
KEN ALLAN DRONSFIELD
K SHESHU BABU
LOIS GREENE STONE
NGOZI OLIVIA OSUOHA
PAT ST. PIERRE
RABBI STEVEN LEBOW