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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Just Along the Highway

((a poem for those interested in Unidentified Flying Objects))


We stop and pick up some fruit
on our way to the western shore.
South Dakota is a long ways
from California, so we think.
Perhaps, that is what all the fuss
is about when people see
disks, tubes and triangles
floating soundlessly
through our beautiful skies.
Other folks, well, not really folks,
stopping by our planet to buy
some fruit, fill up on water,
whatever it is we have to offer.
Sure, they could have stopped
in an invisible mode,
but that's how they pay us
for the stuff they take from us:
cow parts, photos of our colons,
recordings of our screams,
cherished video of our astonishment
they get to play to their brood
of whatever the heck they are.
They've started a whole industry
of book publishing and photo swapping.
Experts collect a few coins
from personal appearances.
Old soldiers get to tell
what they weren't supposed to tell.
Autopsies, not withstanding,
are probably one of the many reasons
they don't set down
on some Washington lawn.
After all, who wants a cold or flu.
Have you ever seen one of those things
with chicken pox?
I suspect for them
it becomes condor pox
with a side of cow pox
from which they grow horns
that drop away when they're healed.
“Don't pick at your horns, dear.”
We've broadcast
dozens of Hollywood horrors
during which our hero
eliminates planetsful of oozing
monsters, which to them
seem more like neighbors
with whom to share a barbeque
of abductee. Yum.
Be sure to remove all those trackers
and little whatevers
you insert in our brains
through our noses.
We wouldn't want the kids,
if they are kids,
to choke on one,
necessitating a trip
halfway across the galaxy
to a hospital for care
where parking one of those
big triangles has to be
a serious problem.
You think the notes you get
are nasty when you park
your Chevy in two spots,
just imagine crop circles
in fifty million
languages and every word
describing the nasty
things they'll do to their colons.
It may also be a reason
they come to earth:
free parking with no wait times:
Cow Parts and Colon Pics,
open 24 hours.
We accept your
Universal Express Card.




Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Recording of “Bleeker Street”

Listening to the recording
of a jazz group:
guitar, drums, bass,
trumpet, piano, and tenor sax:
Houston Person on tenor,
his session for an album called
Moment to Moment.
The tune is Bleeker Street.
So why do these old players
keep playing:
because once in a while
the muse attacks
dropping a bit of magic
on a recording or a line or melody
that makes the musician wonder
where it came from.

He'll think,
“Not me,
but I've just been blessed
with the touch of eternity."

How many times does it happen
on a musicians riff,
a painter's canvas,
a line of poetry,
for someone really great?
For pros, it happens more often
than you think.

Most listeners
won't hear it,
won't see it,
won't read it.

The artist keeps moving
from note to note,
session to session,
club to club,
in the hopes of finding
that feeling.
Oh, they'll repeat their finery
they know is perfect.
It's how they make
the loaf of bread
everybody needs to butter.

For the common artist
it might not happen so often,
but when it does
they might not make their crust,
but all that practice of bad notes,
writing of senseless phrases,
painting that seems like the sides of a building,
yeah, all of that
will shrug off like so much dust
that suddenly turns to silver flakes
mixed with gold,
and a few diamonds
for good measure.

Nope, it doesn't happen often,
but that's how
Person looks in his pictures,
with common notes whitening his temples
and gray phrases pushing out his mustache;
trying once again to find
that quavering shower of electrostatic staffs
notated with holy water.

Houston Person
is the cleanest tenor sax player
on the radio this night,
and I've just been washed
after his notes went
down the drain
on top of me...
oh Lordy, my soul is rinsed.


Barry G. Wick





Monday, April 27, 2015

The Supreme Declaration of Speech (Dedicated to Citizens United and David Bossie with the perfect name)

Sometimes the couch
has just enough
to buy the day old bread
from a store whose employees
barely feed themselves.
There are days of only one meal.
There are days of none.
From the bottom of the nation
no voice is heard
because there is no money
to make it heard
above the broadcast shouts
of well-fed men
who pound the table
with their meaty fists,
to complain about
they who have sallow faces
or the most hated color
of today's empty stomachs.

Off to war go the children
of the poor
who send home bread
or themselves in a box,
to make the pockets bulge
of the hand slammers
and the lip vibrators.
More rockets than empty pockets.
More bombs and hungry moms.
More guns to stun the runners
who have no limousine
in which to preen.
Money speaks loudly
high above the proud
who force themselves
to beg a dime from orators
who shine so brightly
on the nightly news.
If lassitude is crass
it is because the masses
cannot speak above a thirsty whisper.
This sound echoes in an empty tin.
Thin is in and pants fall down,
hand-me-frowns from facial muscles,
racial tussles about which
the white men crown themselves
with high and mighty words
for a hungry child
in the wilds of dying city.
It's a pity they can't speak louder
with the freedom of speech
their fathers never earned
on the minimum wage.

Too many rules spoil a conversation
and so does too much money.




Barry G. Wick

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Glow the Bag

He leaves the store in the hand
of a recent widow dressed
in black with bright orange shoes
Her veil obscures very little
of the grief behind her dark glasses
It's not often a bag gets a poem
for in parts of this nation
similar items are called sacks
His name is Glow you should know
and if his poorer cousin the sack
should get the same publicity
the bag would be on her head
and the sack upon her body
Such are the wars between
the sacks and the bags
The sacks would remind you
they are usually made of paper
The bags are of oil-based plastic
For the sack a tree must die
For the bag a whatyacallapus
has decomposed deep in the earth
We can't name the sack here
because the woman only had a bag
and as we all know
bags and sacks get their names
when someone takes one home
Bag names are quite pronounceable
whereas sacks receive their name
from the sound they make
when the clerk pulls one from a shelf
As since each sack has a different sound
most humans can't make it
with their teeth tongue gums and lips
As for the widow we are confined
to earthly descriptions as she
saunters through her sequins
whispering her name to a bag
that needs to know who cradles it
in her arms soon to be en-robed
in what only a bald vicuna
will allow from a store in a bag
with the idiopathic name of Glow



Barry G. Wick
Is Poetry Dead???  Washington Post Article

If poetry is dead, then I'm dead and the people who gloriously visit my poetry blog are dead.  We're all dead, my dear friends.  And we're having lots of fun being dead...dancing our dead dance...reciting our dead poetry in the dead moonlight.  We consume dead coffee and dead scotch.  Dead art hangs on our walls as we listen to dead music....and "Dead" music.  We smoke death.  We eat dead cookies and dead cake.  We talk about dead Jesus and dead Buddha.  We share dead books by dead authors.  And if my health sinks any lower, I'm gonna be alive sooner than I'd like to be.  Damn, and here I thought I was gonna be dead my whole life.

Friday, April 24, 2015

My Day With Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention


Good morning, Frank.
Just sitting here
putting a brown track
in my loincloth
while you stick your head
through my speakers.
As an musician
with many heads
many hats
you rank up there
with the greats
before, during, and after
your reign.
Now, I'm going to put
my hand in the microwave.
What is the sound
of one hand clapping
while it blisters on high?


Barry G. Wick








Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Truth Be Known

Good-bye birds.
Good-bye fish.
Fukushima...
gone?  You wish.

So long friend,
end is near
Is Jesus coming?
Not right here.

In our book
does it say
Atomic power...
no good play?

Christ knows not
atomic rays
kills believers,
so they say.

I live here,
it is said,
small bad things are
near my bed.


Barry G. Wick







Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Fifer--a Boy with a Fife and Red Pants

It doesn't matter what Edouard Manet
chose to do with his eyes and hands
He could have created the same sensations
with clay or a dictionary full of words
Instead some great loneliness touched
his intellectual acuity to gain the silence
of his paints so well we can hear the note

It is what happens to the old we know
when they sink into their last years
One look from them and we are judged
to our depth in full knowledge
of our frailties and imperfections
so much so that we leave the old alone
in their smaller worlds with numb hands

In clay the old artist can feel every grain
instinctively knowing when to stop
pushing it around into the form he expects
Is there enough water and more questions
filter the information through fingers and eyes
more sensations than we know exist
until their crafts explode out of their worlds

Here, Manet, lets his subject stand alone
to hold a fife that normally rests
inside a brass tube that contains and protects
or is this brass tube not a protective item
instead being another instrument with which
the boy produces the sound his fellows
and the moment of marshal music required

The sash that hangs around his shoulder
is not simply one piece of cloth sewn together
but joined so neatly to a brass ring that seems
to be as polished as the buttons on his black tunic
brass that has always lead the parade
and yet there are no drummers or coronets
along side for Manet to exploit in equal daubs

It is shadow that lends the music to this boy
the dark line beneath the sash or behind
the fife on the palm of his hand so unnoticed
by everyone except the artist himself
who sees this light and the lack of it in oils
in unexpected overtones of the note being played
by the boy in the red pants and spat-covered shoes

Where is this piper besides the eye of the painter
though we are to believe his place is among
other musicians as his eyes betray the concentration
necessary when others vibrate columns of air
in unseen instruments standing at the side
of a road in a small French town where Manet
sees these scarlet pantaloons with a black stripe

The boy's cap is jauntily tilted to his right
perhaps like other boys in the invisible band
or just an expression of his own youthful style
this cap with red crown and gold braid
adds nothing to the music but is the child's crown
that Edouard provides to this youthful musician
playing unknown music on a ghost street



Barry G. Wick




Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Waiting for It to Happen

Playing a game to numb my mind
while it searches the world
for the next juice on which to run
then I open my favorite
internet jazz station

The flash is too bright for my ears
I close my eyes to be certain
every note is heard
when there is no doubt
I am in the presence of the great

Oscar Peterson and Count Basie
Lester Leaps In

You will always know what is great
when you hear it
when you see it
yes, you'll be swayed to other things
that will momentarily thrill you

I am

It's human nature to follow trends
but the time will come
when the trend won't be worthy
and nothing but the best will do
It will happen in just about everything
Art music dance poetry architecture clothes
everything
the hair will stand and skin with flash
Sometimes something is seen or heard
which create feelings
Electricity will shoot
through to the tips of fingers
the back of necks
down arms
there can even be a tightness in the gut
when its found
its found
and nothing else will satisfy
from then on
humanity will be honored

those poor aliens who visit
in their metal craft
simply won't understand
because they are afraid
to catch our diseases
oh, sure they may probe
but they can never find
what makes this change
happen

It happens
There can be one
standing beside
that experience inside
who is just as alien
as we're sailin'
to the feeling that's appealing

Damn those humans



Barry G. Wick 2015



Stumbling

 (for G. S. Sharat Chandra)

When I went to college
I owned a large Zenith radio
from which the world
came into my walkout basement
beneath the old lady
who would fall on the floor
with a thump
that would make me look up
to my ceiling
covered in hippie Indian bedspreads

Sure I went up to call for help
Then back to the dungeon
where I'd listen to the radio
all night to hear the latest
on the Symbionese Liberation Army
and Patty Hearst from KNX in Los Angeles

Exposed pipe wasn't as lovely
as the block print colors
contrasted with the sound effects
recorded live on the scene
of gunfire and police interviews

Three windows kept me in touch
with the outside
One to the south that looked
out over the town
and two onto the parking lot
behind the building
at 300 North East Maple Street

How strange it is to now
look upon that building
and see the apartments
upgraded with shiny new appliances
across the nation inside my computer
looking for ghosts of a different time
when Simon gave me an acid dot
and I watched a Roman trireme
being rowed across the sky
That night at his Halloween party
The great Chandra would open
my mind to the world of poetry

So now I've come to his old grounds
to find my writing voice
as I hold my walker tightly
sliding around my mobile home
only wishing
someone could hear me
as a stumble
to fall upon the floor

As I lay there
will I see Roman ships
rowing across my ceiling
and hear gunfire from Los Angeles
or will I slowly sink
into the stupor of an acid trip
the brilliance of my ceiling
once again covered in block print tapestry
from his homeland around the world

As that has not happened as yet
I know the day is coming
as life winds slowly down
like the words of this dead poet
stuffed into unread books
or sparked across a screen
the explanations before his reading
by who and what
the future wants to hear
plain language
delicious as simple block prints
from that bearded dark skinned face


Barry G. Wick 2015


Monday, April 13, 2015

Little Brother and Tall Boy

Here on the land
created by wasi'chu
Little Brother looks up to Tall Boy
Tall Boy takes him to the prairie
and tells him stories he learned
from the ghosts who now sleep
Here on the prairie Tall Boy
is a hero to the younger children
because he leads his war party
to victory after victory

Little Brother falls down a lot
and Tall Boy picks him up
to put him on his shoulders
Little Brother loves the ride
but gets too excited
while getting dizzy
Tall Boy understands
that Little Brother's mother
went to White Clay once to often
So now Little Brother is
the butt of jokes at school
from his own people
some of whom have
fetal alcohol syndrome too

He goes out to the prairie
to throw a stick for dog
Dog is his best friend
after Tall Boy
Tall Boy gets the cheers
pats on the back
calls from giggling girls
who are too shy to say anything
across the invisible wires

One day Tall Boy got mad
and jumped so high
he put two holes in the ceiling
on either side of a beam
Little Brother goes to see his
friend because it's been a bad day
He finds Tall Boy sleeping
at the end of a rope
beneath the beam
that holds up the roof

Little Brother will ask his mother
when she wakes up
when Tall Boy can carry
him on his shoulders
Tall Boy will sleep a long time
beyond his life on the reservation
beyond the life of stars
beyond the time of ghosts


Barry G. Wick





Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Pleasure of Your Company

Such a perfect day
with people in the park.
They throw a stick for dogs.
Parents watch children play in sand.

No one could forecast
this day joins these legends.
Separate evils for untold years;
through these two, men took hold.

On this day doors close behind.
They stroll toward the peopled green;
to their eye's surprise these partners meet:
Greed and Indifference now clasping hands.

So where one is found
the other stands close behind.
Married for eternity these minds combine.
From these maladies all other grief descends.

This day it was when two friends carved
into lands, into trees, into every living thing,
through right of ownership to each abhorrent quality,
now its our charge we take: to rid them from our world.



Barry G. Wick





Monday, April 6, 2015

Passed Another Midnight

As if it were a grade
it is past another midnight
beyond two in the early morning
when music becomes instrumental
so that words don't change this

Heavy guitars were not promised
by this station somewhere
who told the listener
acoustic was more important
than electrified screams

So back and forth it jumps
from this screaming into that pathos
no matter what is wanted
the mind will not settle
into the needed softness

Satie feels his way through the dark
by some juvenile performer
heard before on piano
not so out of tune as this
Eric is not rolling just embarrassed

Mention this dark hour to anyone
they will figure it out
the full dish rack in the low light
an open window to chilled air
tapping fingers to resolve a mood



Barry G. Wick