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Saturday, July 23, 2016


for Kent Stevens by request

There were things called records I do believe,
they stayed all day in a cardboard sleeve.
We pulled them out to make them play,
so music could make the room full sway.
Then video recorders came to stay,
years went by they went away.
I don't know what comes out next,
its going away will have me vext.
Better to save your dollars dear,
than lose them to a fad this year.
Flowers and trees are next, I'm told,
people now think they're just too old.
Losing their bid are air and water
to stay with us, I think they ought'r.
Earth is tired of humans we know
since heat is rising with a very hot blow.
Though never you fear of sun and heat
for everything some day becomes obsolete.

Barry G. Wick

((one of my rare rhyming poems, usually on light themes.))

Friday, July 22, 2016


Perhaps they kept crayon in the lines
their cartoon hero Mighty Mouse 
with his red cape and speedo
with yellow tights
right fist in the air
as they dream about the streets
where they save the birds from cats
Then there are the colored lights
racing through a dark city
attracting moths that fly
around the driveways
on top of their black and whites
Later in the bar with their loud spouts
taunting their fellows with jokes
or experience of the people
they've collared but not collars
steel bands and chains
that their victims see as
remnants of the days of slavery
only it's a new master
that keeps them in their neighborhood
with rifled barrel and clubs
It's still “nigger” town to some
in whatever city they prowl
who never experienced
the music of the Duke Count or Marsalis
the words of Hughes or Baldwin Giovanni
or the art of Basqiat
and photos of Parks
who never heard of this or that massacre
Rosewood or Tulsa
less than a hundred years ago
when Jim Crow was the law
Jim Beam is a policeman's blood
and kids didn't mix in schools
much to the loss of the entire population
where respect never crosses into empty hearts
when the boiling streets beg the question
from a black therapist helping an autistic patient
away from the safety of the building
who follows every command yet wonders
“Sir, why did you shoot me?”
and the answer is only
“I don't know.”

Welcome to the town near a reservation
a word that sounds like your suite
at a tall brick hotel in the hill-lined city
filled with beautiful furniture and high tea at four
where the school system rids itself
of the “injun” counselor
who managed to keep the Lakota boys in school
or the girls from hanging themselves
in their well-appointed suites
provided by their reservations
somehow eight people manage
to drown in the small creek
ruled accidents and suicides
where one witness says
she saw someone roll a body
into that creek
the witness ignored
or shootings are justified as
suicide by cop
he lunged
with a kitchen knife
The officer who just happen
to forget his less than lethal tools
where the white officers
stay away from the wacipi
at the civic center
because they know they're
not welcome
because they don't understand
the questions raised
by people whose great-grandparents
were shot down at the Knee
loved ones buried in a trench
by soldiers awarded
Congressional Medals of Honor
Is there honor in slaughter
again the question
“Why did you shoot me?”
and the answer is only
“I don't know.”

A uniform can be worn to infect
or it can be traded away
for membership
in a community to protect

Barry G. Wick

Monday, July 18, 2016

Mother at the End of the Line

Her afternoon begins
with a long shower
she's still able to accomplish
The towels have been warmed
above a heated register
Their first touch to skin
reminds her of another touch
someone who once loved her
The next hour is for her hair
brushing and combing
getting it just right
creating the bun in the back
she always wore
but today seems important
that she spend some extra time
to get every hair in its place
Her glasses help her eyes
stare into a magnifying mirror
on a stand by the sink
as she applies her makeup
Her eyebrow pencil
needs to be sharpened
and she calls for it to be
just so
Foundation lipstick eyeliner
all placed with extra care
Then one final look
though her thick glasses
as she puts on her rings
that sat in the cloisonné dish
on the right of the sink
Next her finest black pants suit
with the fringe on the sleeves
the zipper on the back
of the shirt
Again she calls for help
Sitting on the edge
of her large king size bed
where she sleeps on the side
she's slept on for years
one leg at a time
her wrinkled legs
enter each column of crepe
much as an actress
gets ready for her close-up
She directs the helping hands
to reach into the top drawer
of a walnut Karges dresser
to find the gold bangles
for her arms
the green silk scarf
for her neck
then to reach
into the bottom drawer
for the thick round green
bangles for her ankles

“My black heels, please.”

The first thought begins
to form that something
is not right

“Are they arriving yet?”
she asks.
“Who, Mother?” you reply
“Why, my guests, of course.”
“What guests?”
“For the party.”

There is no party
and hasn't been for years
It's just another night
after long nights
when you sit with her
eating dinner in front
of the television
changing channels
to her favorite shows

There is no party for Mother
“There is no party,” you say
Her face betrays a micro-shock

Her mouth opens
as her face turns sad
from the excited anticipation
of the entire day
as tears well in her eyes
“Then bring me my slippers.”

The “stars” dance
on a glowing screen
just for Mother
at her party

at her party
at the end of the line

Barry G. Wick

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Halloween 1973

The knock on the door
It's Harold Simon
Harold gives me some acid
He invites me to his party
just blocks over
from where I lived
take this
come to my party later
as I put the small piece of paper
on my tongue
Harold leaves
I shut the door

I sit down to wait
but in a little while
I look at the sunset
as a Roman Trireme rows
across the orange sunset
west of Pullman

It's time for Harold's party
a swift walk across the hill
to a shabby house
Harold lives upstairs
I knock
A beautiful gypsy woman
answers the door
Harold wears a magician's robe
and pointed hat covered
in tin foil
his head is covered in tiny mirrors

Sharat Chandra holds the crowd
from his comfy corner chair
as I sit on the floor listening
and for the first time
I understand poetry

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Stars

In the dark away from cities
be drawn to the stars
like grandparents before
who stared from grassy knolls
their back caressed by earth
All dreams begin with stars
winding their lives like clocks
until the key to time is lost

Dreams that begin with stars
shave with diamond shards
so no hair of thought
extends beyond the face of it
Each dream is smooth
for itself and another
just as a lover's pinch
is drawn to smooth skin

The dream for peace
does not reach beyond itself
but remains pure of heart
The dream for love
has no further shore to settle
The dream for knowledge
travels through the universe
with an invisible ship and sail

Hold these dreams close
for they appear bright ghosts
as sunlight fades from day
These molten shadows of hope
retain all that came before
enclosed in their wispy shells
true for all the ages
as they fly through the dark

Barry G. Wick

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Roller Coaster

It became my Mother's home
on Rapid Creek up the hill
on nine miles of two lane
from where her condo
had been destroyed
by the great flood
down canyons
It had been
lightly flooded
but the old couple
who had lived there
decided to move away
rather than risk another
Mother was brave that way

The house came to me
at the end of her life
as she lay in a bed
at a town home
where nurses
could do little
with her swallow
all wrong and gagging
food and water impossible
to take in at her advanced age

It all was sold to pay the bills
furniture and everything
gone in an auction
and I slept
on the floor
of that house
until two weeks
before it quickly sold

An empty house yields
its darkest secrets
wall cracks
all you movers
there is no one to move

Barry G. Wick

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Last Embrace

(for Juan Ramon Guerrero and Christopher “Drew” Leinonen)

It wasn't planned this way.
Families were to be invited.
Flowers, cake, and all
chosen to make the day
so special for them
and for everyone they knew.

No one can predict rain.
Clouds sneak in to skies
to play dark games.
It is the same with people.
Some people are so dark
they cannot share in love.

While sharing their love
with friends, the clouds came
when light changed to dark
for one and then the other.
The last embrace unplanned
kissing their crimson altar.

Barry G. Wick