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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What Remains

If a king
the armor fills a corner
of a museum or library
the same for all the words
handwritten typed or printed
if the paper is good it may last
if on vellum perhaps a bit more
Human and animal skeletons
occupy boxes and drawers
in the backrooms for researchers
The past is dug from deserts
the tops of mountains
or all spaces in between

Mother's ashes are
in a plastic five gallon bucket
with 5 copies of a CD
filled with photos of family
and memories of her life
Her pink outfit with the pink mink
the ashes of her favorite dog

The soil will gradually wear away
revealing the plastic
for the sun to bleach
or for a future anthropologist
to study or store in a drawer

The armor I wear will go to a business
that deals with cast-off cotton
that turns fiber into money
or better paper to print this poem
that wasn't printed anywhere
and left for the ages
as ones and zeros
Slow decay and electrical wars
will turn these thoughts
to a lightning of mush

My skull will be in a drawer
or ashes moving with storms
down the rivers
down to the ocean
down to the sea with boats
where my father gradually sifts
through the seabeds
where a colorful wrasse
will nod as it swims by
It seems to say
that I'm not looking too good
these days
as its scales flash
the last line here
in remembrance of me

damn
the fish will be electric
They teach their schools
to imagine
our useless attempts
to save our world
in crumbling buildings
ground to dust
our ridiculous self-importance
sliding beneath new continents


Barry G. Wick




Monday, March 28, 2016


Dearest Allen: “...successful failure(s).”

We met at your Boulder retrospective
of avant garde films
by your friend Harry Everett Smith
Our brief conversation
about G. S. Sharat Chandra
who said he'd met you in Iowa City

I'm in that neighborhood now
writing writing writing
nothing in particular
after a life of failures

It's odd that I should find
this written dedication
to the Learys just days
after the same thought
occurred to me

The list of failures keeps growing
in my unsuccessful life of failure

The failures melt
to leave small piles
of dirt not unlike snow
in parking lots
Someone
scoops it into a trashcan

If I were a spider
I'd fail to make gossamer
near a corner
unseen in darkened room



Barry G. Wick

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Christ from a Mobile Home

“Road Song” by Wes Montgomery
cheers the darkened room
through speakers and headphones
worn when a video call
was necessary to chat with a friend
in Rapid City
which recalls a moment on the road
the dream from last night
Omaha Street that runs east and west
where the street is full of flood water
the air mattress being held tight
in a phantasmagorical flood
then to beach on another street
to walk back to a trailer home
that needs an examination
of an overheated electrical switch
everything so real
in full color
then to leave to go to the shop
to do the necessary woodwork
to select the right nails
just next door
shared with a woman who looks perplexed
at my attire
“For religious reasons?” she queries
Yes religious reasons
why else would someone wear
a loincloth but to float
in a disaster
only to return home
like so many ghosts
from the real flood
many years ago
their bodies stripped of all clothing
by rushing waters in the dark
with no jazz to accompany
the screams of terror

If it was only possible to be Christ
in a loincloth nailed on the cross
to guarantee life to all the lost friends
if it was only possible to be His Father
to stop the rain from piling up
in steep canyons
or to give a floaty to each person
so they can walk home
without becoming invisible
no vocalizations of pain
no tears from surviving relations

This is an odd dream
for someone who doesn't go
to church
Time was spent in the bars
after that real event
drinking wine
with my apostles
Others went to pray
It must be my turn


Barry G. Wick



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

At the Edge of Spring

This was suppose to be a day of rain
with snow in the late afternoon
Outside
I set my nose to play
searching among the simple changes
that announce a gradual turn
I want the season ahead to be

No flowers yet
Leafless trees fret in embarrassment
their brown leaves top the grass
in a sick frosting

Vicious clouds allow the sun
to torture me with sorrowful peeks
That yellow ball for a child
to play with
my skin still hidden beneath
layers stitched together
with sober zippers

In the southern hemisphere
they turn to winter
as we turn away from it
If only a person could have
a year of summer just once in life
something the rich enjoy
whenever they want it
but the plain of white
that now stretches before me
makes its demands
as I've lost a decent
fit for galoshes


Barry G. Wick






Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Newspaper


I can still buy a newspaper
with columns
organized like hot dogs
boiling in a saucepan
side by side in the roiling water
the ink made from soybeans
which will please all the land owners
surrounding this field
neatly plotted with cracking streets
full of speed bumps
with side by side mobile homes
just enough space between
for a little lawn
and a tree or two

That's not news here
in the pre-death zone
for either people saving money
with dirty children boarding
on the pavement trying hard
to miss a canyon which could
send them sprawling
or gray-haired boredom babies
waiting for rebirth
The fifteen mile per hour signs
mean what they say
as if yelling in white and black
were still the fashion
in newspapers
where color now exists
to compete with every screen
old cathode ray tube or light-emitting diode

Newspapers have a hard time
putting video next to the political story
with politicians yelling
even when the video wasn't started

No sir or madam I am not interested
in the price of tea at Walmart
until I'm ready to buy tea at Walmart
which may not be possible
because I have news for everyone
I hate liquids without caffeine
and enough sugar to make a syrup
neither of which I can have
caffeine keeps me awake
while the sugar eats away
at the nerves in my painful feet
the pain moving slowly enough
as if to suggest someone reading
a newspaper slowly and with feeling
the stories appealing broadly
as the papers get narrow
magnifying lenses at the ready
just as another child
finds the cement rising quickly
as bruises lend hues of blue and black
on the screen of the knees
with more than occasional stripes
of red in scrapes and rashes

This is not news where news
does not exist on a daily basis
except where people
filter through doors
or on sidewalks
to get their bills and ads
left by postal workers
who no longer drive
red white and blue mail trucks
wearing sweat-stained blue shirts
dark blue pants
blue on white agency designed eagles
modernized to reflect a new image
of mail speed
full of pizza cookie and chip products
We're far enough out
that our be-jeaned mail person
drives a Jeep
telling me my box number
when I mention my name
Even here numbers loom larger
than dignity

I can still buy a newspaper
but I don't
because Facebook and Google
bring the news and opinion
I need the most
where retirement doesn't need any
and I can print coupons
without clipping with scissors

Good-bye great newspaper writers
good-bye fourth estate and democracy
good-bye sweaty postal worker
I know you pray for electronic pulses
from the next nuclear something
that stops all this nonsense
and we have to return
to the old black and white
where Miss Ella Olson
returned to Windom
to visit her parents for tea
and stay the night
sleeping soundly in a bed
old familiar and covered
in Mrs. Olson's handmade quilts
so colorful as if to blind the dead



Barry G. Wick











Sunday, March 13, 2016

In Hiding: the depths


If I say I am deep. I am not.
If I say I am shallow. I am not.
If I say I am living on the surface.
You must ask: “What surface?”

The grain of a plank of wood
is as deep as you need it to be
the closer you are to it.

Here is Ezra Pound's death mask
with such a peaceful look;
a depth of peace he did not have
during his life of pain and poetry.
It is not his face.
It is a positive of the plaster
with which they covered the skin
that was his face that was the poet.
Soon all poets will be created
in three dimensions carved
for the world to see
in 10,000 years, if poetry lasts.
Even the poetry will not fill the gaps
of what is not seen
just as wood grain
is a grand canyon in its own scale.


Barry G. Wick

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The First Mirror of the Day

Rising to the day with sloth
a mirror near the bed
catches the first images

Sometimes a body is ready
to believe in what's seen
through the changeable eyes

These visions are transport
to the days of agelessness
though large wrinkles differ

Bright sun shines through white curtains
a revelation of old fires
in an aged deep soul



Barry G. Wick






Thursday, March 3, 2016

Start Writing A Journal says the Great Thompson



Am I suppose to make money?
Getting fat in my old age
living off the writing of my youth
from books that are supposed
to mean something important
touted in college and workshops

In his grave
Jackson Pollock is getting fat
from his drips and drizzles
that are still beyond
what the boys understand
in South Dakota

Maybe tomorrow I will write something
that will become resilient
just enough that I shall be quoted
fawned upon by the poet world
flashes of green everywhere
the gold glitterati jamming
my hands with wrapped stacks
of fifties and hundreds
of which I want nothing
though gracious I shall be
if only to wonder
if this was the reason
I started writing in the first place

Words set on paper were
ordered by The Great Thompson
a high school teacher
have been shredded out of fear
that my real youth will be
pawed upon by librarians
tickled by researchers
for the one lump of diamond language
that made my Rolls Royce lifestyle
part the streets
much as Heston stood
waiting for the special effects people
to make the Red Sea awe the audience

Awe I said granting grace to a special moment
awe I said perfecting the visual ques
from which I have established
the reasonable respect
that only a Russian sized yacht will do
dragging bags of euros behind my walker
silver with gold highlights
acanthus leaves grace its columns
steadying my trudge along the decks

oh yes Sir with love
I shall pounce upon the magnificent language
is if to capture the Spanish vaults
of Inca gold with every letter
separated by heraldic commas
only dreamed of by Oxford dons
who shall call for Henri Cartier-Bresson
to gild me with his Leica
so that The Saints
will question their gold leaf book

I am later entombed in Pere Lachaise
in a space bulldozed by naked men
with their enormous penises
to lay me beside Great Oscar in his sleep

Little did they all know
I was happiest with barely enough
to get to next month
in the golden sun of Iowa
in my finest flannel loincloth
blazing white in kitchen light
set-off neatly by an orange couture t-shirt
dripping urine back and forth
through my trailer
golden poems shaping each drop

damn I need to go now



Barry G. Wick





So Early


Too many cups of tea
in the afternoon
just to taste something
other than plain water
to wet this dry gargle

Tired is sneaking
around my corners
lapping at my beaches
I can be gritty when
I'm not wearing shoes

Offenbach dance music
water sprites of the Rhine
through the glass wires
of the new age
with no water sprites

Sand has brought me music
to the edge of my beach
where a plane of water
stretches before me
mirrors drip with music


Barry G. Wick











Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Broken Sunlight



Hours upon hours
I scan the world
through page after page
from a bundle of pipes
with leaky connections
I seek photos to thrill
or to inspire me
as I pretend I am Subhramanya
the second son of Shiva
I have to be someone

Here, I am in a park
full of broken
unrealized
or soon to be achieved
dreams
thumbing through page
after page of photos
as if I once
posed for a snake
near a soldier's grave
and want to find the negative
in a dead forest

Suddenly I know why
I am alone at this age
I was always curious
and with somebody else
in my life
I get confused about myself
a marble statue dreaming
of paper arms and legs
and about them always them

Age creates its own prism
from which some see
more than one color

for me
it's needy red
shifty red
tearful red
a genuine color
whose variations escape
the only light I see
Does Daddy Shiva approve?


Barry G. Wick