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Saturday, September 26, 2015

A New Coat

To whom and in what do I fit
raised by a lonely woman
who had second thoughts
after her marriage
of three decades
her second husband
tossed away at the wrong time
for poor reasons
when she could have had
someone to share a few more plays
concerts and parties
then ostracized by his circle
deserved or not

She was never very physical
never full of hugs
or just a simple touch
It felt so odd to hug her
as her runaway dementia plowed
though her hole-filled brain
mowing down memories
of everyone including me
at the end of her autonomic gasps
silenced by drops of morphine

Here the violins crescendo
in dark hours
months past those tears
when I still talk to her
across the chasm between
her chair and my sofa
the same stations
that brought calm to her sleep

Even in the years I cared
she always shouted
to a flameless room
filled with family shadows
in years that didn't
include me
never once falling
over the syllables
of her children's names

Her ashes in the ground
beneath the pines
far away
in what seems light years
across the galaxy of states

I am buried in my mobile home
quiet until the dawn
when I can no longer hold
the emptiness at arms length
only to jump into a cold bed
trying to still a vacant mind
akin to pulling a boiling pot
from a glowing stove
the liquid boiled away
to cause rainbows of heat
in the steel

Yes all the colors
anyone could want
except the one color
of you in my heart
whoever you might be

I hug the ceiling with my eyes
doused in minuscule shadows
from the acid street
curtains always drawn
to keep away my dreams
that always end with you
that always awaken to sorrow
much as she opened
her crusty eyes to empty days

You are not my mother

you always an imagination
of your face and hair
reflected in the polished pipes
of her empty funeral dirge
or the mirror of tarnished imagination
I don't know your eyes
the touch of you beside me
in these days of punishment
spiking memories mixed
with the burn
of never having met you
my invisible love
as I try on these age-filled years
a new coat made
from the wooden shavings
of my last breath

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Bread on My Stove

Pending a visitation
to my local big box food
pharmacy clothing garden store
you know the place
where bread
appeals browned and airy
in the plastic socks
tied neatly with a length
of papered wire
red blue or green

butter and jam awaits
the smell of end season
violets onions and oranges
that boost the odor
of unscrubbed
or tar-fingered patrons

the beep of the oven timer
in its high-pitch regularity
announces that a poorly crafted
inadequately covered
in the rising phase
pile of crusty dough
not really a loaf
in a loaf pan
but on an oaf pan
dough slammed onto a flat
blistered and mottled cookie sheet
forged incomplete
through a heated cycle
to the point
where it might be edible

across the kitchen it cools
in its appearance of a pillow
cased in pale protuberances
a bread sandpaper
only slightly brown
at each end
just enough to rake a tongue
with its cheap flavors
of salt and olive oil

that's it
any more images
and I'll be forced to eat
that crappy loaf

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Chosen One

My Valkyries are joining the party
they bring glitter and poppers
swords and spears
disease and damnation
love and lust

Upon the clouds they ride
dark and demonic
wearing sensible shoes
for they travel far and wide

They choose who lives and dies
in battle
I am surprised by their decision
I am chosen by them
Go about your business, ladies
For I must immortalize you
in all your Wagnerian thunder
I don't have time to fulfill
your requests of me

It would be more exciting
to see you in the clouds
above a fjord that descends
into a deep sea
full of dark monsters
but this is Iowa
at the end of summer
and the only monsters here
are talking about taxes and banking
poverty and riches
snakes and angels

Of course I'm half Norwegian
which is why I am able
to see you in the clouds
before all my neighbors
who peer out of their mobile homes
wondering what is going on
So I add more trumpets and tympani
chorus and cannon
flame and fluster
It's all for you
the women of my dreams
with at least one named Bob

Barry G. Wick

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Peace in Our Time

The only gold George Custer and his troops
should have seen as they traipsed
through the Black Hills in 1874
wouldn't have been gold but the light blue
of the spring crocus
They might have convinced him
to throw out any prospectors of the hills
and given him incentive
not to fight anymore “Indians”
He would have announced
to a waiting world
“I found the crocus and nothing else”
Then there wouldn't have been any greed
any Mount Rushmore
tourists in their whale-sized RVs
nor motorcycles rumbling by the millions
passed Bear Butte
near an unfounded Fort Meade
no Sturgis or Deadwood
Hickock would have lived longer
No Rapid City or Ellsworth Air Force Base
No broken treaties
No reservations
My parents would not have met
and I wouldn't see any crocus
on my hike over 
an unnamed Hangman's Hill
to an unbuilt Lincoln School
or take them home to Mom
by my little handfuls

Barry G. Wick

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Publish This Poem!

Hello my name is
Juan Feng-shi Apollinaire-Washington
My parents are a combination of
German Scottish and Norwegian
I concocted my MFA
at the University of Southern North Dakota
where I teach 22nd Century Poetry

I write poetry that never gets published

Soon this will change
because I have a name
the covers all the bases
I know you'll take this poem
into your deep publisher's heart
swirl it around a bit
get to know me
and put this poem
in your monthly magazine
I shall become famous

My poem will be translated
into thirteen languages
Italian but not French
Swahili but not Urdu
and some others

You will seek out
other poems by me
and my mysterious photo
because I have such
a important-sounding foreign name
You will call me on the phone
to invite me to read at the Y
or the Brooklyn poets
for a slight fee or let's just say
a ghastly-large honorarium
I will wear colorful clothing
and shoes
that do not match
My hair will be soaked
in a brand name shoe polish
I will say a few words
in my religious tongues
that no one will understand
and fake an accent
that sounds like a Native American
who grew up in New Delhi
I will be brilliant at this reading
and will chat with all those
who will fawn over me
at the rich man's apartment
after the reading

What a beautiful view
I'll say
while sipping my single malt
with a splash of cranberry

Barry G. Wick


I don't understand
all the complaints
about people
with their heads bowed
and their eyes
on the screens of their phones

Man's long-term dream
is isolation
We treasure the stories
of Daniel Boone
Jim Bridger
and those who
lived in small cabins
at the edge of a mirrored lake
built over their first summer
to trap the beaver
on dammed streams
in the wilderness

The screens show us
the great wilderness
that is humanity
as we search for beaver
buffalo and elk
all by ourselves
on the L to the “Loop”

Someday a passenger
will shoot an elk
near the CTA Blue Line
We'll call her
Elk Megan
Buffalo somebody
is already taken
The Chicago SWAT Team
will show up while she's
beading her elk-skin shirt
and yell for her
to put down her needle
Cell phone by her side
with complete instructions
and color illustrations

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Three Drops

On the floor they appear
in the light from my rechargeable
like planets on the page
of a childhood book

See here is the sun
with two planets circling
though these planets are immovable
and are not really planets at all

The largest
farthest from the entry
to the small room
with wash and dry machines
The smallest in the middle
with the mid-sized
closest to the kitchen

Now mottled brown
appearing almost as if
these had been struck by meteors
Closer inspection would reveal
dead worlds of tiny things
that had once been a part
of a larger life force

These planets show
because the blade of a hatchet
had been carelessly replaced
among other needed tools
which ever so gracefully
put a half-inch slice
in a right index finger
deeper than first thought
from where these planets
would form on the floor
from the drops carelessly
created by the sudden pain
more like a paper cut
than this dripping wound

So here these three show
themselves long past the minutes
of anxious footsteps
to the first aid box
crafted in the wood shop
some years ago
for just such an occurrence
that never happened hundreds
of hours and miles ago

Here was the bottle of wash
to treat the cut to move
what might have stayed
inside the skin now dripping
cells of many kinds
into the tiny sink

The first attempt at a bandage
failed from skin being too wet
and again the drops
were swirling down the drain
as the sting returns
to remind how carelessly
was the search for a screwdriver
The second held longer
but again failed to stem the flow
and now a third
between attempts to dry
the wounded digit
of the dominant hand
Now it closes the thin line
that caused so painful a drain
that the pad was not soaked through
that the adhesive held this skin
together to seal the skin closed

So now forgetfulness becomes
a need to put the air conditioner
into the window when the central system
had failed on a hot day
A second attempt to procure the right tool
to remove the screen
Could the machine be lifted
Could the window be sealed
So quickly it was in place to cool

So the night progresses though phone calls
through life attachments to friends
who suffer more
to video to radio to type
to all the things that take away
the pain of creation
billions of years ago
before the galaxy
the solar system
before this fragile planet
before these sudden creations
dripped reminders upon the floor
of all the atoms
of all the cells
of all the chemistry
learned in hundreds of years
of war and study
from more than
three drops of blood

Barry G. Wick