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Friday, May 12, 2017

History in Retrograde

Those who fail to study history might do it again.”--William Pocorny Stareclough, 14th century British Philosopher

((General Washington's Press Secretary enters the tent.))

Good afternoon.
Yes, General Washington
will be going to Mount Vernon
again this weekend with his entourage.
We know this because
the slaves are already
clipping the grass while measuring
with rulers.
You know the future
father of our country
likes to hit boiled eggs
around the lawns with sticks.
Is he crazy? What an insulting question.
Next. There is no truth to the rumor
that Mary Washington is selling
Florida property to rich Brits.
We're not really at war with the Brits,
just call it an alternative peace.
We're all Brits until otherwise noted.
No, the Washingtons don't call
Mount Vernon “Mar-y-Languishes”
The colonial press pool will not be able
to go in the future president's wagon train
as there are many semaphore technicians
who have to be strung out
across the landscape
to keep The General in touch
with New York, Boston, and Philly.
Once in Mount Vernon
you'll each have two minutes
to file your stories.
I'm sorry to those from Chicago
and Phoenix,
you're not even cities, yet,
and well, we just don't have
a connection that far.
Yes, the future president
has promised to drain the swamp
but as you know
the Frenchie city designer
is falling behind with his drawings
for GeorgeTheThirdTown.
The General has ranted about that
in the dark of night to his cat, Tweets.
Next, Benjamin Franklin will meet the General
in Mount Vernon
to discuss his nutball idea
that one day lightning
will be used to send messages
on strings between cities.
There's your crazy person.
Oh, before he leaves,
The General is meeting
with the British ambassador
in the oval tent.
Only Brit press will be allowed in.
I guess they're discussing
something called
the Delaware Crossing Project
with the painters already
creating the picture
of the defeat
which you'll have copies
in your alternative history books
in about 200 years or so.
God Save The King.

Barry G. Wick

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Nothing to See Here

For an atheist
I sure pray more than necessary
It doesn't appear to be
hedging my bets
It is just that all this space
seems to be something worth
chatting with
from time to time
I've already had the best answers
from the Universe
because it seems
that the creation's message
has been around
for us to discover
We don't seem to be heeding
that message
Science discoveries are wonderful
but the basic human messages
don't seem to be getting through
so I suspect
that we're gonna go down
the extinction trail
like other populations
of this or that animal or being
Hey Universe
just leave the bunnies
they're so cute

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

On the Porch

A light breeze on a Monday evening
that sees the first fireflies
neighbor raccoons and rabbits
cross freshly mowed grass
that's mostly weeds of all kinds
as flashes from storms
to the northwest try to keep up
with Lester Young on saxophone
and those he played with
springing beats on the night
Buddy Rich on drums
Nat Cole on piano
even in the thirties
of the 20th century
Oh, he was before my awareness
though his time extends into this era
because of all the recordings
with the greatest cats of forty years
in a blessing beyond the ability
of all religious texts to comfort
with these rolling lines of sax notes
that suspend the night
with applause that I want to join
only to change my mind since
it's past ten in the night
past times when
Billie Holiday and Lester Young
Prez and Lady Day
played in '57 on CBS
died within months of each other
her broken heart
they're rotting livers
when I was seven in '59
in my house not interested in jazz
with parents who probably
could not remember their names
I'm on a porch keeping them alive

Barry G. Wick

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Revolt of the Unwritten Poems

In the darkest memories
where everything seems just vision
in the time before before birth
when everything is explained
to any soul that would become a being
where the simplest instructions
of breathing or sensations
are taught in unstructured classes
where choices are made
for parents and siblings
where basic mistakes
are explained in depth
only to be wiped away
by the complexities of birth itself
now many years later
a protest begins
deep in a confused and tortured mind

the unwritten poems
march down the rugged paths
of expectional creation
only to be tossed away
when washing the dishes
or sitting in the doctor's office
reading a year old magazine
that leans in an odd direction
of travel to places
that are too expensive
for a common poet to attain

These poems have been sitting
in the dark of a mental fog
more poisonous than any
from Sherlock's London
or Beijing just yesterday
They plot their revolt
complete with Eisensteinian stairways
upon which a mutha-writer screams
for his baby rolling down stairs
in its black and white pram
while throngs of angry poems
are shot by royalist soldiers
whose fingers refuse to touch
a keyboard or pick up a pen

There were no instructions
on how to deal with these poems
and so they sit in the darkness
building their anarchistic bombs
that are set to explode
as the first thoughts of day
push aside the dreams of sleep
There is no inner police force
equipped to investigate
these piles of uncreated angers
that may only have one bang-up image
or an ill-formed title
that now hangs in the air
for it to breathe the horrors
much like those perfumed garbage bags
from the local crapateria
that stink a kitchen
where poets do their dishes
and destroy the beginnings of poems
unable to make their Tarkovskian births

It should be noted
that references to Russian film directors
is only provided to confuse the reader
and are not based
upon any real understanding by this poet
They are an attempt to make him appear
educated and wise in the ways
of poetic imagery
In other words, careful, this poet
might be a poseur
who can't write his way
out of a trite and smelly plastic bag

Sshhhhh, they turn the corner
holding their blank signs
ready for David Lean's Zhivago
to witness the sabers slashing
unformed poems
who only seek bread
and something
else now forgotten like justice
and stuff from the crapateria

Barry G. Wick

Saturday, April 8, 2017


Just because you can
walk to your neighbor's
for coffee
or take the kids
to Mt. Rushmore
can mean you are
wearing shackles

Just because you can
go to the polls
does not mean
you have the right
to choose

Just because you go
to church
can mean
you are
hearing a lie

Just because you
voted for your representatives
does not mean
your whisper in their ear
is heard louder
than the person
with a bigger checkbook

Just because your nation
uses its power
does not mean
that children will be saved
or that the outcome
was not pre-arranged

Barry G. Wick

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Upon Reading the Cursive Writing of George Washington

His handwriting can be read
even when
the “s”s look like “f”s
Ol' George becomes real
with the way he writes
each letter in every word
are not being taught
to read handwriting
spoiled as they are
by the print
on glowing screens
They aren't being taught
the language
of the times
of the founding
of our nation
Language of that time
seems full of emotion
emotions filled
with variations
not found
on glowing screens
in daily conversation
There isn't much depth
in the 140 characters
found in Presidential
Twitter tweets
just presented overnight
to a public
waiting with the patience
of a teenage boy
running to his room
after school
to fumble excitedly
though his clothing
in search of his pecker

Barry G. Wick

Thursday, March 23, 2017


It's red
the gauze that arrived today
fully nine yards
fifty-two inches wide
and very soft
since I needed
it to be in three yard cuts
for the three new loincloths
I will be wearing this summer
enough red cloth
to cover my butt
and the naughty bits
for the law
Man's oldest clothing
was probably some kind
of leather
upon which he or his woman
to soften it enough
while stretching
the hide in every direction
on an old stump or branch
Now men just go
to a clothing store
to buy underwear and pants
complex constructions
worthy of a high dollar charge
with room for a profit
for everybody down the chain
This is just cloth
simple and comfortable
with the elastic band cut
from some worn-out underwear
and me
old enough to be considered
completely loony
to show so much fat
on a hot day
sitting on my little porch
trailing long flaps
front and back
glad I didn't have to skin
a buffalo or elk
damn that work is smelly

Barry G. Wick 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Old Newspaper

In the center of an intersection
in the small town
stands a dying tree
with all its branches
cut to the trunk
whose roots
are still buried in the earth
where messages were posted
for all to see

The town moves around it now
never noticing
there is no growth
because this limbless tree
this place to discuss
the life in this town
shrinks daily
as invisible sparks
easily erased
chip away at its pulp
The town still grows
but the conversations
take place
far outside of it

The lives
of grandparents
who raised the children
of the town
with a cup of coffee
and a few crackers
at a kitchen table
who fixed a watch
at the local jewelry store
their lives preserved in the few lines
of their obituaries
may completely disappear
if set into an electric file
and not some deep
earthen vault
dry and safe
kept from the harm
of solar winds
and shaking crust
will still remain
until the earth itself
is destroyed

Say what you will
about saving trees
no meeting place
no place of memory
is as comfortable or real
as a tree turned into pages
for the eyes of a reader

Barry G. Wick

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Compassionate Attack

I hate to move
because pain electrifies
my knees and back
so I sit
at the kitchen sink
eating a pot pie
hot from the oven
to my left
being grateful for a family
that pays taxes
which provides
me a beg-free way
to beg semi-anonymously
from the government
the largest family
that does not
know me from my past
things I need
food heat care
only to realize
the government now
hates me
and wants me to die
as quickly as possible
without food
without heat
without care
a government
that would rather bomb
someone in another country
then rebuild
caring for everyone left
I've decided I want
the government
to bomb my neighborhood
in the hope I'll survive
in order to get all
the promises
of a better life

Barry G. Wick

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tears---for Elwood “Woody” Beam

In the bushes
some birds spend
a winter day
to wonder when
their next meal
will present itself
as the ground
is covered with snow
They fluff themselves
to stay warm
as they look
side to side
to seek a vision
of danger

I'm not much different
on the little twig
I find myself
as the cold surrounds
this warm nest
One friend tweets to me
from the next branch
A small conversation
expands for us
across this small distance
then only for him
to fly away
never to be seen again
It must be lunchtime
I'll fry some seeds
and let him go

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Ides of March

A tyrant's death is sacred,
it's great to do one in.
The moment fades to naught
as Senators try to win.
Upon the Ides of March
be careful who is tapped,
a usurper might just burp
when poisoned food is lapped.
It might be in the wine.
Does it season chicken?
It might be in the soup,
used to make it thicken.
A bird tweets from the perch
the new ringleader rides;
this oppressor lies
every day not Ides.
His mem'ry not assured
by thoughts this hallowed day,
he'll be an orange-ish stain
upon some Appian Way.

Barry G. Wick

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Suddenly Bach

and I'm on the sofa
in the livingroom
of the old house
It's E. Power Biggs
Jig Fugue
and I'm a little boy
who sees the world
through that energy
I'm listening to it again
as an old man
suddenly on the radio
suddenly Bach
and a surge of youth
stiffens my aching back
with all the pain
I'm once again
a little boy
with his life ahead of him
laying on the sofa
Mother in the kitchen
dancing as she cooks
Welsh rarebit
Dad in his den
with the door closed

Barry G. Wick


playing jacks on a sloped, granite slab
the eyes watching the jacks
bounce downward toward a cliff
the ball having preceded them
slow hands flipping
at the end of lazy arms
tiny suns sparkle from mica
uttered rainbows in childhood rhymes
the children fall through the air
far down to the bottom of this
following the game to its conclusion
children scattered like jacks
being picked up
by the handfulls
onesies twoies threesies

Barry G. Wick

Saturday, March 11, 2017

South Dakota

The owner of this blog
is now refusing everyone
in the State of South Dakota
the right to read this blog
on the grounds
of deeply held religious beliefs.
You South Dakotans
can't possibly be allowed
to read it
because the writer
has a religious belief
that no one in South Dakota
shares with him.
disgusting South Dakotans
are forthwith refused
poetic service by this writer.
Please close this writing now
if you are from South Dakota.
All others may continue
to read this blog normally
since we share similar
religious beliefs.
If you don't
then you, too, must leave
this blog.
I don't have to explain myself
and you could never
explain your disgusting
South Dakota religious beliefs.
And you could never possibly
explain your disgusting
South Dakota lifestyle
to my satisfaction
since it is in conflict
with my current Iowa beliefs.
Even the air
coming from South Dakota
smells bad.

Barry G. Wick

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Early and Horrible

Rossini was challenged
to prove his youthful talent
Six sonatas
he later called horrible

Jacqueline Rochester
a southwestern painter
had a clearance sale
in a previous
north central community
where true success
was impossible
said a painting
of a Mexican Indian woman
should be destroyed
but needed the forty dollars

Any halfway decent poet
ought to destroy everything
that was written before
what a reader might
be reading now

Everything but the now
is disgusting
droolish horse apples
stretched in a line
on a rainy afternoon
without so much
as a poncho
to shield the artist
from the road splatter
of the fawners

So erase this after reading
because the words
feelings and images
no longer exist
in a writer's mind
unless of course
it is the last writing
that stews itself
for a rewrite
in a coffin
or as the flames
lick at the spinning brain
stirring a scream 
to stop
as it seeks a better word
to replace the trite
just read
by those
not yet dead
who will acclaim
the last lines
and mystical
gODD dammit

Barry G. Wick