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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Poem on the Passing of the Dear Leader

Our bodies have turned to tears
and we run to the rivers
as fast as all tears flow
to get away from this grief
that consumes us
We shall be free of this grief
when our bodies meet the ocean
that has become the tears of the world

We give up all our food
so that you may eat in the next life
Your strength of purpose
comes from our empty pantries
as you fight for us
our enemies
beyond this world

And then our tears shall turn to steel
the steel of our weapons
and the muscles in our arms
as we join you to destroy
the imperialists who shame themselves
that they cannot see your greatness
and feel the love you had
for the peoples of the world

Our hearts are now empty
and etched with the letters
the great purpose of our lives
to be close to the heat
the was
your great name
We shall always remember
you
Kim.....something....something


Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Another Prison for this Glorious Day

I must rush now

the day speeds away

when it occurs to me

my world around me is larger

than I think it is

despite my place

attached to my elderly mother

a fleshy ball with an invisible chain

of memories and feelings


There were times I ventured

beyond these walls

and thought myself so fortunate

to have met so many people

and let my body brag and dance

away from this creek and valley

Those experiences inspired very little

and pushed no words to the creamy top

of that murky milky life

There is much more for me in the quiet

and the shade of the evergreens

than all the pain the beyond created


Because here I can finally see

the dried leaves of the woodbine

that hangs on the screen

the patches of snow

that remain through the winter

and the water that swirls and roils

through the backyard

even if only through

a few dirty windows

which sun barely slides




Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How Rude the Eagle

A blue sky above

a yellow checked tablecloth

where Mother sits to face the creek

for breakfast

above

a bald eagle makes circles

above the eastern slope

of Norris Peak


when the sun is right

we see the flash of white

from its tail and head


first several circles one way

then several in the opposite direction

a quick turn away to the north

to seek some other space

where it can't be seen

by an old woman in her wheelchair

and her son who nears 60

who both dream of such freedom

she from her age and many infirmities

and me from daily chores

that make the knee and back

feel like they've broken


when mother asks if the eagle

would like to use her handkerchief

and have a piece of her granola bar


And all I can think about is a snot-nosed

American bald eagle

about to munch on a whitetail carcass

and needing to wipe it's bloody beak

on mother's handkerchief

No Quaker Oats granola bars for thee or me


The nerve of that bird

when it's got all those flags

that flap in the breeze

just ready for eagle boogers

red white and blue



Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Waltz in March-time

You can't imagine what 38,000 years

will do to change the world

and yet attitudes will remain the same

Human are humans after all


The great weather had come

and stayed

The deserts became verdant

years of peace and plenty

Where Mogadishu had been desert

a city of mud brick

now great forests

gardens of fruit and vegetables

as it was all across Africa

Yes oil in Saudi Arabia

but giant forests of redwood-like trees

The world burned wood

and the great greenery of the planet

sucked up all the evil

man could put into the air


He told me he couldn't love me

because love hurt too much

Nothing changes

even the dreams are unbelievable

snow in Timbuktu



Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What Abraham Knew and When He Knew It

It cannot see the shadows
in the valley
nor the wind
that today
swayed the ponderosa pine
yet I have discovered
the value of my words
to the world
as valuable as any
written by a computer
programmed to write

And what of the monkeys
given typewriters
who spend their days
in attempts to write Shakespeare
so am I no better than
those self-same monkeys
stifled by the weaknesses
of today's language

My expectation is a lie
I tell to me
the thought that I might write
one poem that could remember
me to a future world
or that my death might have the means
to net a few lines in the obituaries
of faraway newspapers
their readers amazed they never heard
of my efforts or books
enough to make them feel
they had never accomplished
even the smallest recognition
of a world in the throes of ignorance

So I've charmed these thoughts
from the shadows of a windy day
and the movement
of unimportant evergreens
that gives me the truth
of my exhalations
that they are not enough
to move any tree
in the slightest direction
and to have this manifest
fall as if I have made a fault
that cannot shake the world

Oh, a friend might send a note
to assure me that a line I write
has bent their conscious path
and caused a shift to new directions
their words to heal my lonesome wounds
and dreamy sores upon the invisible skin
I craft upon my burdened exterior
where those words become a salve
expected to seal the canyons
on the surface of my ballooned ego
what would be better
than the silence I know
the compliment of the ages
for poets

For few know that Lincoln wrote poems
these simplest expressions of humanity
the leavings on a empty plate
where they are passed to the cat
to lick clean and have as much impact
and only I can free myself
from the encroachment of a solid world
where such pronouncements
can no longer penetrate

the largest exhale though
the spiked leaves of an evergreen
on a windy day

bitch bitch bitch


Copyright © 2011 by Barry G Wick

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Big Drip

Diamonds falling from the trees

as two days of snow

bright white to half gray

sits on the evergreen

to catch the third day's sun

splitting light

as they drop branch to branch


they remind me

why my father had his ashes

tossed into the ocean


why wait for the water

to wash you to the final

frothy waves

when you can be dumped into the big waters

and know you didn't have to wait

centuries to make it to the nearest beach



Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ben and Peter, beside the Sea


remembering

Benjamin Britten 1913-1976

Peter Pears 1910-1986



The excitement of a radio studio

at the time

the best source in the world

the microphones to everywhere

to be heard and be enjoyed

in the great days of radio

the same year

that Adolf murders all his gay friends

in the long night with knives

and here in this radio studio

the singers prepare

rehearsal for the great British audience

where a handsome young composer

meets a handsome older tenor

only to fall in love later

at the worst of the war


when going to jail in their country

meant shame and shun

Ben wrote songs for Peter

Ben wrote parts for Peter

while Hugh Auden and Ben

made a habit of art

and Isherwood made a pal of Ben

at the bath on Jermyn Street


Ben and Peter friends for 42 years

in love from the war on

collaboration at every level of music

in a freer America

to spend bright summer days with

Aaron

and all the boys

who weren't allowed to fight

the powers of Paragraph 175

who had to keep their secret

and they kept the secrets of others

pianist composer and tenor

the dreamer and his voice

open even to the Queen


and they would remember the war

with minor chords

of the saddest music

Ben with his requiem

and Peter singing the debut

at Coventry Cathedral

lionized by the audience

as they privately remember so many

secret friends who went away

in the fight.


Now remembered in the moments

of “Moonlight”

when one hears the soft

love words they say to each other

together for eternity

unmarried except

for the shared notes

they sang and played

the rings of golden vibration

that circle their boney fingers

side by side

north of St. Peter and St. Paul

in Aldeburgh, Suffolk

as they shimmer beside the sea



Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Elvis Has Left the Building



It's a Saturday in October 2011

in the Christian calendar

5772 in the Hebrew calendar

4708 in the Chinese calendar

1432 in the Muslim calendar

and today in the Lakota calendar

in South Dakota

of the United States

where two people

of German Scottish and Norwegian descent

listen to a Japanese musician

with an English orchestra

play an Austrian-Bavarian composer's

piano concerto

on a Minnesota radio station

in a country he barely heard of

over wires and glass fiber

on equipment

made in China and who knows where

at a quality only available to the richest

of Salzberg and Vienna

250 years ago

and still

Mozart

hasn't left the galaxy



Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Bunch of Grapes


(for Camille Saint-Saƫns)

You played piano
then exhorted the crowd
to choose
which of 32 Beethoven Sonatas
they'd hear for an encore

At 11 years old

yes
a genius
but only youth demands such a choice
of its audience
being handed a bunch
of unique grapes
each with the taste
of its own perfect vineyard

Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Two Poems from the Same Morning

An Automatic Yard Light During the Fall


Yesterday, the dark brown turkeys, four of them
waded through the dry, fallen leaves
only to fly across the white water of the creek
to find better peckings
This speckled backyard waits
for the whitetail deer
in the depth of a yellow and red fall
Perhaps they came in the colorless night
through the evergreens south of the house
when the light sparked on
slowing my descent into sleep

Mother looks at the same birch
day after day
and says how beautiful the yellow and white tree is
as it loses it leaves in a golden rain
Mother loses her white hair
and her fading memory
of this yard as she
passes through like an aging animal
in search of its next meal
and she only set off the yard light
during her gray years
a bright yard light that woke me up
to the rainbow of this life


Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick




The Search

I see a yellow leaf caught
in an evergreen to stay the winter
I wait for the passing of deer
across dry grass, brown weeds and fallen leaves
I warm my hands in sun through dirty windows
that shows the dust on a flat table
I smell the dirty plates and unwashed towels
after a small breakfast
I am the legs that hurt, the back that aches
and the swollen joints in my hips
I sense the sun push away from this valley
when the clouds come between us
I droop like heavy eyelids
as the day props itself up on stony hills
I clamber for the earth to fill in
and smooth over these wrinkles
I search for the bridge that crosses
from this life into the uncertain

Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Wee Hours

That's when I get up to go wee
then sit
to stare at a bright screen
across the darkened room
and worry
about everything I can't control
pretending to be powerful
able to build tall buildings
dream my grandiosities
when the facts strike me hard
and I know the crash comes
from around the corner
of the dreams that awakened me

and so I end up
in an update scenario
filled with multiple screens
which demand my attention
as they douse me with cool light
from broken promises
and wishful thoughts
then off to sleep again
to keep this boat
from its frightful leaks
of life in bondage
to the unseen force
a gravity that swims
though each minute
that turns from gold to jaundice


Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No Moon Tonight

22:55 and just returned
from the Safeway
where Roma tomatoes
were a buck and 29 a pound
and I chatted with a lady
listening to an audio book
on a Fujitzu portable computer
Her son favors hard charging
games at high speed
on lightning Internet

Now, 9 miles west of Rapid City
the yard light sends its orange hue
to the neighbors and beyond
when the howling begins.

I can listen to Chopin
but when the coyotes talk
on top of Norris Peak
there's no chill like an old chill
and I'm in the darkened cave
eyes wide open
spear stick at hand


Copyright © 2011 Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Other in Flames

“I am the way, the truth and the life.”
Yeshua as transcribed by someone now called John.

The Other in Flames


There is always some teacher
some guru
some self who thinks
in a twisted way
to find the moment of your weakness
when you will accept what is outside
inside of you
and they never let you go

It is the gesture of their hand
their counting of fingers
their conversation for which you paid
their love their friendship their manner
that spark of what they are
and as you uncover your layers
they scale your walls
that protect the nuggets of soul
you are already

You are your own traitor
who walks away from the wooden horse
to sleep under the common moon
who thinks we are all the same
under layers of skin the soul
one and unending
wake up and burn it now
for the soldier chisels his way out
to kill you in your sleep

And what of mothers and professors
who clutch at you with their scowls
their spanking thoughts revealed
when all the time their goal
in not the same
as what you know inside
of what you are
separate alone with yourself
in silence and perfect
without these words
you should throw away


Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

The Silent Wave

In the great need for silence
the sound of water
low and high tones
in its race across stones
that bump and thump
in the dark night.
And the voices that sometimes
speak from the curls and eddy
a stray line of remembrance
some phrase from the past
as if someone is really speaking
and you think
you've heard a voice
when it's only water
it's holy movements
speaking of past lives
telling us of the people
who played in it's reflections
stared as it passed them on a shore
on the edge of it universe of cycles
the waves of water that wash over death
the pounds of water that smooth rock to sand
and soon it all becomes
a blur in the background
a constant drone of submergence
the play of drum, string and voice
horns of drops and slides of invisible bones
down which we travel to a forgiving sea
sometime in our future sometime
as it all goes away through
valleys and canyons
stripping the flesh
from this loving earth
from this lonely imperfect body


Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kiddie Parade with Jazz and Pain

A simple breakfast on the screened porch
with the tiny wasps feeding on the woodbine
jazz from a station in San Francisco
here I am munching raisin bran in skim milk
at the side of a small river
full of trout and frogs
and boulders with their rolling thumps
a sliced orange
drinking cheap coffee
Kurt Elling sings his flat nasality

This won't last forever
just as my infected tooth has finally
been relieved for this day
I'm feeling the reach of the vine
to the southern side of the screens
spreading out to shield me from the sun
they thinking that following the sun
now that morning awakens everything

Every day something new to see and do
and yet it all seems the same
like watching a series of childrens' parades
day after day
enough of cute costumes
and dressed-up dogs
pulled in wagons or dragged on leash
My mask is hard to see through
as I waddle down the street
hand in hand with another nearly blind child
when I see myself years older
at the side of the street
sitting on a porch screened
from the biting world
and the water flows
in an endless roil

the only savior here is a swinging bass
jesus deftly pulling the strings
on his solo
followed by big daddy on piano
and a holy spirit on drums
this is a religion
which echos on long streets
when I suddenly lose the hand
I hold
and wonder if I can make it
to the curb of my old age
inside the sunlit morning
with an empty bowl
and rinds
just there a trout grabs a black fly
Kurt seized by a grateful fan
in a bear hug
too many teeth
waiting for their own infections
like rocks pushed
by rivers of pus
bumps on the roof of my mouth
spiked by vicious bugs
that drain the yuck
from raisins
like wasps on this ever expanding
tree of woodbine
and a daybreak filled with shards of sunlight
enough to squint through the covered face
on a march through a world of applause
tutu-covered pekinese
and three cats wailing over the bay


Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Gravity and Squirrels

Back and forth through spruce
this year's brood of baby squirrels
chasing each other
in their new world
along the side of the house
at the edge of the creek
and up and down the trunks of trees
to conquer the natural force
man still does not comprehend
those complete powers
that keep us on our feet
We followed the bird
and the design of their wings
into the air
when all we really
needed was a good set
of paws and claws
to grab onto the air
at that next branch
of what we cannot see
the invisible tree of gravity
Now instead of airplane
tourists sit
inside of comfortable cabins
in the shape of squirrels
heading for a utopian beach
watching movies, reading books
and chattering about the steward's cart
stocked with pine nuts, chokecherries,
and crabapples.
No longer named airports
we'll drive to the nest
and follow our pilots
inside the natural curves of a Boeing Squirrel 870
to scamper the sky homeward.


Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Disturbed

A crow on a dead tree
jumps from branch to branch
his wings and tail
in constant motion
as if to shake away
what bothers it
above the flow of water

the tree dead to green buds below
the crow next to white birch
the still air to the flash of water

a coil of threes
ripples this valley
to deter this sleep
this sleep of the alone


Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

The New

I know it has come for a visit
in the way the yellow pine pollen
covers the windshield
in the way the high water
now spreads its white sound
beyond the backyard
where before it was
only heard at the edge of the house
The crabapple trees finally leave
at this altitude
and the bushes across the creek
now raging river
have begun to hide the gray rock wall
we stared at all winter
through the dirty windows
now years passed washing
It is the new that visits us again
as it has year after year day after day
only this time I feel the old beginning
to scratch at my back
sag in my face
slow my thought to a crawl
when trying to find the right word
that memory of a sunny day
or the name of a passing thought
founded in a forced conversation
The new and the old fighting
as they always have
crossing their borders in skirmishes
never settling their aged war
and so we are surprised to discover
that both the new and the old
are the same age
brothers never seeing eye to eye
refusing to loan a shirt
taking back a belt
arguing over the days
unable to divorce themselves
from this continuity of aggravation
that is visible
in the turn from winter to summer


Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

“Mozart! Mozart!”

(Gustav Mahler's last words)

While my attentions were on a glowing screen
movement on the other side of windows
and suddenly I'm looking at the fast beat of wing
or the dancing of hooves across the creek
today a heron
some little red-headed, yellow-breasted bird
all these and the higher, moving water of spring
on the anniversary of Mahler's death
when all at once the green of this new season
given rain and sun
and the motions of wind and nature
become symphonies and songs
Oh, Alma, you were there for his last words
when a sadness spilled over you wearing you thin
his hand growing cold
And now each time we hear
his love for you
the colors of the outside world
fill us with new notes
as if he wrote this world I see
he composes still
and reminds us
with his dying words
that even he was limited to the palette
of another before him
that he could not achieve such a sunny day
or the life that fills it.
Oh, to be Mahler and think another was greater.
That is essence. That is spirit.
That is the view from my window.


Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Friday, May 6, 2011

The King of the Taxis

The King of the Taxis

(a birthday message composed for and dedicated to Bryan Leui, driver, taxi owner extraordinary)

The King of the Taxis has come to the door,
I'm drunk as a skunk and I'm ready for more.
So to the far bar and quick you dumb fool
I'll lay on the back seat and mindlessly drool.
You give me your card and say I should call
Before the bar closes and your list gets too tall,
So, I tell the bartender just five before two
Get me a cab and a quick 'nother brew:
But he won't draw the beer and that makes me mad
so I take all my anger and store it up bad,
then you come to get me as I'm ready to pop
so I pour all my anger on your floor, get a mop.
It's my birthday, I say, as I'm barfing up gore,
“Happy Birthday, dear fare, and to you many more.”

Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What a Horse Knows

"I have discovered the fundamental Laws of Time, and I believe that now it will be easy to predict events as to count to three. If people don't want to learn my art of predicting the future . . . I shall teach it to horses."
Velimir Khlebnikov (1885-1922)


People are alright
the ones who stop by to rub noses
and cheeks
without climbing all over
they never know where
they want to go

I love to run in the grass
and roll around in the dust
I hang my head near the fence
because there's nobody to play with

Why do they call us horses
that not what we call ourselves
but we play along

oats with honey or molasses
sometimes I get indigestion

I like to be washed
and have my back scratched
grass isn't all it's cracked up to be
but hay er hey you gotta eat something

I will hide when there are loud noises
and flashes in the sky

belts can be tight

Predicting the future
Oh yes my mother told me
some will have apples and sugar
sometimes carrots
and oats
oats with honey or molasses

She said I'd like to run and I do

hoof toe, hoof toe, slide slide slide

She told me to tell my offspring
about the future
but I can't
that's why my voice is high pitched I guess

All I need is someone to take care of me
inside this fence
or let me out
to run free
I've heard of those places
word gets around you know

I like the ones who give apples and sugar
sometimes carrots

You put a chunk of metal in your mouth
It's not a bit
it's a lot



Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

After Three

After three in the morning
as someone's guitar gently weeps
over the darkness of a sad moment
when sleep will not return
his love to me
His fickle touch is blamed
for the unreal sounds I've heard
in my imagination
as he leaves my bed
in the bold new light of morning
sound that only I hear
the ringing of a doorbell
the alarm on mother's bed
the phantoms of the past night
that make me jump at nothing
the bumps of fright
that make the black windows
of the hour return
their colorless mourning
My head already dials the number
of my pillow while I pray
at this keyboard for another gem
that will gain my entrance
into the poetic swamp
Nothing pulls me through those waters
and I'm bogged
like a crackers and peanut butter
lump in my throat



Copyright © by Barry G. Wick 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Saying Goodnight

The great plains have never been kind to women
yet there they came to settle and bring their culture
their civilizing ways to men, to grass, to gardens.
They sewed their quilts and chatted to themselves
Some could sing and share their voices with others
in their small groups over tea, coffee, and cakes
and so they were with themselves a force and culture
as their men went off to wars or the fields.
They still had themselves and their soft voices praying.

My mother and her mother sang duets for small teas,
small gatherings where women were themselves,
could be with themselves and enjoy the talk and
the sounds they themselves made in the afternoons,
the sounds of singing, the sounds of chattering about
nothing but being women in their strength and weakness,
and they sang for many years and were friends
for many years until time finally separated them
when Grandmother fell and passed a month later.

And now a son takes care of his mother and listens
for every sound she makes even in the dark of night
in the room down the hall filled with old photos;
there are no other women around his mother now
and the son is not suited for this effort.
She hears her mother's voice in the singer on the radio
and quietly says, “Goodnight, Mother” in her lonely bed.
And I leave her room to the light from the yard
and go to a living room so quiet and peaceful and lonely.

And when the time begins to wane for me and for you
and the nights are lonely even when someone may
listen for your soft stirrings in the night in the dark,
who will you be saying goodnight to when your eyes close,
when your eyes close for the final time on the edge
of the last night when all the memories of mother,
of father, of brother, and sisters flood your old gray head,
who will you call to remembering all the times you
sang together, chatted together, who will be with you then.


Copyright © 2011 by Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Their Time

Is this what we wanted: a self-absorbed youth
parading on camera in their mirrors
in whatever their suit of the moment may be
the tight fitting jeans or the colorful undies
they faun over pop stars and cover their walls
in pictures of people they might never meet
they film every minute of their sexual delight
and pause before all of their seen in the scene
so we must answer the question begun
as war rages everywhere and others are dying
the youth never sees beyond himself into the dark
the rest of the world creates in the light of his star
we answer yes this is what we want to see
whatever it is they want to be in blue or green
or lavender on the screen of a faraway tv
not hindered not edited not voted away
by the popular hate of the day religious intolerant
or bully of the neighborhood with scarred fists
yes we want to see this world unfettered and alive
always alive for the brief time of this: youth



copyright (c)2011 by Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winds

there are many ways to travel
across these furtive plains
the choice is always present
for those directed by internal passions
or the wind may blow
its many directions
sending a tumbleweed
spinning its seeds
in a thousand spirals
and when the nearing end
prevails on these watery sacks
does regret appeal to either path
does the chooser say how they
might have wished
a more serendipitous life
or does the wind driven
propose to settle
on just one presumption
of a perfect foible
in which to wrap


copyright (c) by Barry G. Wick