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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Iowa: At the End of November



There's lots of turkey and noodles
turkey and rice soup
turkey vegetable soup
turkey bouillon
turkey pot pies
It doesn't seem to be centered
in Des Moines or Iowa City
just kinda all over

The harvest is pretty much over
oh sure some farmer is just
finishing up the 160
over by the river

It's have turkey and fall asleep
until after Christmas
with all the annual service work
It's not actual sleep
It's the kinda sleep
on automatic
There's the tree and shopping
Cousin Shirley needs something
Nobody is giving away her secret

It's also the time of year
when Iowa
decides its motto
for the next year
Missouri next door
just keeps the same one
year after year
That's how boring Missouri is

Someone will have a bright idea
but as always down by the river
it's hold that thought
and wait a hundred years

Nobody cares that
the great-great grandfather
settled in Afton in the 1830s
or that the move back
from some other state
was a really good idea
You mean your family left
And now you recognize
your familial mistake
and you're trying to make up
for it
That begins the Iowa Shame
There's no albatross to hang
around your neck here
It's an empty corn cob
festooned with dried soy leaves
and a fresh pig's tail
You wear that until it falls off

Last year's motto was
Iowa
always the same
It came from the 1928
Iowa Bin of Great Thought
Notice there's only one thought
in that bin
I'm told there'll be another bin
in fifteen or twenty years
I'm thinking real hard



Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Humming With Bach



Pianist Glenn Gould
famously hummed
with his recordings
of Bach
He gave me a gift
of being
there and here
now




Barry G. Wick

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Out Damned Spot



I look deep into their eyes
and the lines upon their faces
knowing they aren't here
but gracing the shadows with frowns

I remember the sudden spill
that seemed to cover the world
sitting beside the waves of lace
on a red mahogany ocean

Somewhere my grandmother still
tries to clean the stain from threads
handed to her by dear enstrustors
who well knew little boys' wild arms

It's not who puts a spot on cloth
but the ghosts who return
to dance this family love upon it
sliding through the gravy of time


Barry G. Wick



Thursday, October 5, 2017

Darkness at the Edges


There is darkness at the edges
just night that removes colors
without permission
automatic deception
after daylight
before the morning refreshes
all the important thoughts
I am not depressed
I am just dull
and not able to keep
an interest in myself
at this hour
I know the sky
is packing sunlight
into empty suitcases
for a trip around the world
The sky and the air
that surrounds us
is an illegal immigrant
without a passport
unable to do any
reasonable work
except to provide us
with air to breathe
and protection
from the emptiness
of unconquerable space
So there is an opportunity
to let it fill out the paperwork
we so desperately require
The questions we have
on our forms
are not given enough paper
to answer
unless we allow
the answers written on atoms
even then
we aren't willing to learn
the language it speaks
we try oh yes
however
our mismatched intentions
are similar
to giving a tuba
to Thelonious Monk
which I have no doubt
upon which he could
make some kind of music
The question
on a high numbered line
might be
would it be his best music
With that I've run out
of space to provide answers
to anything important
The sky and its unpacking
the light of day
have me seeking
a dark closet or empty drawer
for a gas-filled mind
waiting in the spark of light



Barry G. Wick




Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fascination Haiku----for BF

how we could have danced
just funky enough to jazz
your husband's anger





Barry G. Wick

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Fall Haiku 3—The Vampire

Sun begins its rise
Night feeding benefits end
Homeland soil calls




Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fall Haiku



A hinge is fueled
as the wind rockets a door
the slam of fall launched 


Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Failures



Flying across galaxies and time
on waves of gravity
other civilizations
have likely discovered us

They research everything
this planet has given us
plus the depth of mistakes
we make every day

Mostly it's our inability
to mind our own business
while cooperating
that must have them baffled

They can see how everything
is related here because
of the biological signatures
each species has inside of them

They're not likely to announce
their discoveries to the planet
because they're just waiting
for the failure about to come

For them a second
is fifty thousand years for us
that flies by to reveal
our inherent flaws

Over the rivers through the woods
our grandmothers knew the truth
stay home make a pie
give to those less fortunate

So our gifts to those
less fortunate from distance worlds
will be a planet free of humans
deceased from war and greed


Barry G. Wick

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Quest Room


(for my observant and intelligent friend, Corwin Watts)

I am here in my Quest Room
You read that correctly
It's not my guest room
It is here where The Black Hills
once surrounded me
where I now keep them deep inside
Here are the fallen sandstone boulders
of my youth near my parent's home
The house still there
but it's no longer home
just like so many houses there
were home and are not now
the warmth I once felt

Here are the Ponderosa Pines
I once sat next to
to peel bits of bark
Sometimes an ant or other bug
would crawl through the grooves
between the segments

There are the pasque flowers
in the spring
don't call them crocus
because that's not what they are
but I remember pale blue
handfuls of them
taken home to Mother
as I rounded the rock
on Hangman's Hill descending
to the small field
on the side where our home
looked west to the rain
crossing the layers
of hills to the south
or the setting of the winter sun
that warmed the basement cement
where I could sit dreaming
of where I might go
or what I might do

It's the home where I managed
to slay the dragons of music
on the peaks of a piano
tossing my fingerings
into the volcanoes of disapproval

I bike down the gravel road
past the dozer cuts that give
this Dinosaur Hill something
about which to complain
That very road almost killed me
as I gassed my father's car
more than the ice would tolerate
to spin a one-eighty
rear wheels just six inches
from locking themselves
over the edge and rolling me
to a severe injury or worse

The schools teachers and students
come into my Quest Room
challenging me to change
a painful past that many
would also experience
with no one to talk to

People in South Dakota
never talked about being queer
especially in a house filled
with conservative politicians
at my parent's summer parties
Here a governor
there a mayor
This is my mother's friend
married to a successful dentist
This is my father's friend
the superintendent of schools
They know everybody
but the Indians who walked up
the road with their children
in the cold of winter
without coats
only to get a five dollar bill
Here
I want to say now
take my coat
Here's one from my mother
a mink
Dad has several
and blankets
take all these blankets
Wrap your children in them
wrap your children in them
wrap your children in them
a five dollar bill is not very warm
when he could have taken them
to a motel
given them clothes
bought them food
called someone anyone
leaving me with the guilt
only a child can feel
staring out the windows
standing on green wool carpet
Invite them in
Don't turn them away with money

They turn and walk away
in my Quest Room
Here's a dragon I can't slay
Here's a dragon that slays me
And with that the bubble bursts
on the Quest Room
I flounder in what's left
of that liquid memory
looking across the room
at what created this
in large letters
large enough to read
large enough to stab
any dream
from over fifty years ago
Many quests and dragons slain
only some of them
still breathe fire and smoke
fire and smoke
and where there's fire
sometimes there isn't warmth


Barry G. Wick



Haydn Between the Leaves

Outside my window
from which I look
every day
a crabapple tree
in the middle of summer
now stripped of fruit
except one or two
here and there
because a squirrel
will jump the branches
causing leaves to fan the air
or send a bird or two flying

I sit back on the sofa
to watch this tree
in sun wind or rain
Its trunk leans
a bit to the north
much as I lean
over the walker
that supports me
The squirrels race
around the trunk
on a freshly mowed lawn
jumping onto it
when cats are around
Some have even sat
at the foot of the trunk
hoping a squirrel
will make a mistake
yet they never do

Who waits for me
to make a mistake
Who would even
notice if I did
and what mistake
might it be
dumping the grounds
into the hopper
without a liner
not starting the dryer
when I need something
to wear that week

Everything simplifies
Messages become the same
year after year
Dust falls on furniture
Garbage needs to go out
It rains or snows
or winds blow
just enough
to knock the rest
of the crab-apples
to the ground
The window gets washed
by the morning rain
Birds leave the grass
in a furious flap

What would Haydn
compose today
to accompany
all this activity
that entertains
an old man who sits
after breakfast
sipping his cooled coffee



Barry G. Wick



Friday, September 15, 2017

Haiku Pie



I have disappeared
in an apple tree's blank stare
taste me if you dare





Barry G. Wick

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Responsibility

Having remembered a fun time
with a person
in a dream still asleep
I phone him
and invite him to go out

He makes an excuse
then I tell him
another time maybe

Awaking I know
he represents
everyone who has ever
rejected me
or
who I rejected

Sitting on the edge
of the bed
I begin to wander
through the memories
of my life
piecing together
a story of how
I've ended up alone

I find excuses
and people to blame
though later
I know it is
the person
on the edge of the bed
who sleeps in crumpled sheets
staring out a curtained window
at the new day
thinking he can change
the old day
when his unkindnesses
rejected others 
who wanted to be loved

I have arrived here
the result of shaming
fear of discovery
rejection by others
and my rejection of them

There's no chance
that I will find real love
in this life now
locked into a solace
and silence
in a home selected
to reject everything
that came before it
people places and things
who passed through the life
of the one I rejected the most
myself



Barry G. Wick

Friday, September 8, 2017

Two Eggs and Failure


From the refrigerator
to the gap between
the stove and the counter
just next to the perking pot
two eggs rest
warming themselves
from their sleep
next to the milk
and oranges
Instead of noisy clucking
from generations of their future
so nastily interrupted
by corporate farming
pacing between farm buildings
munching on grass and bugs
I have chosen these eggs
on this very morning
to be a runny part
of a heart-clogging breakfast
on the top of Walmart wheat bread
two slices from an 88 cent loaf
the eggs 54 cents for 36
during Walmart's welcome
of the Aldi store just over the hill
This breakfast has been
the product of business competition
desired by a retired something-or-other
who lives on payments
from a government social program

The eggs failed to produce
generations of chickens
The wheat failed produce
generations of tall wheat grass
Walmart failed to keep competition
away from this neighborhood
Aldi had failed to make a greater
new business opening
Mozart, whose piano concerto No. 15
accompanies this writing
failed to know of his fame
dying in poverty
and failure to live into old age
This writer failed to be published
and you dear reader
failed to find a great poet
to inspire some wondrous moment
during which you live
wasting away your time
on the musings of a simpleton
who was inspired
by two eggs and failure


Barry G. Wick












Friday, September 1, 2017

A Minor Epos: The Life of One: Our Hero or Heroine



There will come a time,
a time of which
one has never been told
and would not understand
if one had been told.
One has been had.
The truth will hit one.
Complete descriptions
featuring fantastic adjectives
are inserted here.

Running around the world
will cease.
The thought will occur to one:
What an idiot I was
for running around the world
like an idiot.”
The world will shrink
to the size
of whatever distance it is
to where one buys food
to where one gets medicines
to where the hospital is
possibly to where some family
or friends
live
or include one in their family
And one will not mind
this diminution of localities
this shrinking of the wool
over one's eyes
One starts to see the little things
like unvacuumed carpet
bits of string dust crumbs of food
tiny shreds of paper
that escaped the dump
into a larger waste sack
or bag
depending upon which
part of the nation
your language describes
floppy open-ended plastic or paper
containers into which
are dumped life's flotsam and jetsam
before it is released
to the great dinosaurs
that consume these bags
on one's special day
a day one hopes will not be forgotten
since such containers
full of crud sweepings and empty containers
either fall upon the curb
or sit in the garage or hallway
until the following week
when one can again forget
to take these now gently expanding
gas bubbles of garbage
out

oh yes
one forgets even the simplest words
only to spend useless time
coming up with a definition
one enters into the internet search engine
in order to find the correct
combination of letters of the alphabet
that match the gap in one's head

One has much to which
one looks forward
as the solar orb sweeps
ever more rapidly
across the raceway of sky
ever more rapidly
please stop
ever more rapidly
why won't you stop
ever more rapidly
and then there are the nights
that shake and roll
beneath the festering sheets
that whip every little patch of skin
with wakeful pleasures
designed to punish the mind
with the importance of unlocked doors
burning coffee
greasy ovens full of black things
old peas in teeth-ripped plastic
and oh yeah
the question of the middle of the night
is this garbage day
and why didn't this one
take it to the curb
when once again it's time
to stagger through a darkened room
bumping the walker
into everything one tried to remember
is in-between one and a toilet seat
up or down
which doesn't matter quite soon
as the moon moves faster
please stop
as the moon speeds faster
stop stop stop
as the moon shreds
its sol-lit lumbering
with its unseen nighttime walker
through its black bedroom
of night
bright and awake
as one is
waiting for another day
for breakfast
for lunch
for dinner
for the same Beethoven this
heard for the painful, unnumbered time
of one's life
when one begs the radio personality
to bring out something
one has not heard
Oh yes
even the Ode to Joy
can be an Ode to ad nauseam
Ode be damned
Ode be gone
and one slides into sleep
a long tortuous sleep
full of discomfiture
as a blanket brands one's cheek
when one realized
one has been part of the herd
waiting for one's balls to be cut
(not the case for the heroine
of this epos)
waiting for the smell of burning hair
on an open prairie
the dreams of a corpse
lying in the oven
hair on fire
feeling owned by everything
and everyone
that preceded this
baptism in flaming methane

And the priest asks:
What name do you give this corpse?”
Just one. Just one.



Barry G. Wick




Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Summer Haiku

Boxes of thunder
hiding cats with flashing eyes
mouse hunts in storm skies





Barry G. Wick

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The New Playground---(from a poem written circa 1991-1993)


41 nearer to 42
shouldn't it be a time of riches
life begins at
and such, oh my how we dream
instead of-watching, waiting,
active verbs
do, jump, take, glow, bake.
Every thought is past, was,
saw the, had the, been the, write the.
Future is barely tomorrow
and mostly today
full of its forwarding-time-expireds
and envelopes of unseen cause words.

All becomes regret on the wrong
waterbed sheets in the drier
coin-op yearnings of pianos
and muted trumpets
sack the drummer and get a driver.

nails takin' on the look of fear
with thin edges and yellow stain
above the canyons above the keys
to underlocked doors behind secrets
in the hallway to see-through stairs
and chance harumphs or 'llos
from ghostbers, on Ron with a set
of polished treads that wax he sees
on Amazing something burns the flame
not the finish.

Ha'ld a zillion seconds of potry
ago with Inkpen, Sharat, Dennis clayman,
gists of words inside me like
cavemen eat lunch at the diner in my head
and somesuch gone now
into unemployment checks and angry daughters
on the phone with 700 Club boyfriends
who turn queer dads into the new jigaboos.

Yeah, that's it, resolution of solos
to theses with illogical endings filled
with 9ths and 11ths and fading to silence.



Barry G. Wick

a poem written circa 1992 or 1993

Friday, August 25, 2017

Toys and Games

After a night of fiddling
with a brain
we wake up
Good morning
it's time to play
another day of games
Some of the games
are cruel
We might be someone's toy
It's hard telling

War
that ends with no winner
with broken bodies and minds
everywhere
This is an especially important
game for the United States
that has hundreds
of military installations worldwide
where men and women
wait for someone with a brown body
or a sane thought
to step out of line
inside the borders of a nation
where the United States wants
to distribute bibles
and pamphlets on the correct
form of government
that would be acceptable
to the President and Congress
Naturally some of the citizens
of the United States
don't like paying for these activities
or oppose them outright
Sovereignty is a word
being removed from American books

Salesman
that's a game
where everybody
sticks their snouts
in the trough
It's war for the greedy
The best players
will steal
and nobody will notice
ever
Don't expect this game
to involve just products
It may be ideas
concepts and philosophies
Some are just nasty

Groceries
some people starve
while the vultures
get fat
The vultures are
not always birds
in this game
Some groceries
have been intentionally
or unintentionally
poisoned
The United States Congress
is hoping to starve
many of its own citizens
in favor of feeding countries
and the nation's wealthiest citizens
the Congress favors
because of under the table payments
to many Members of Congress
After all
who needs old and poor people
Just remember if you fall
into one of these categories
that you are a toy
Be prepared to be thoroughly shaken
and abused by the children and animals
within your circle
You are a Velveteen Rabbit
made of sackcloth and filled with ashes

Loneliness
this game is primarily
for old people
who have been forgotten
at the edge of families
there are some variations
however it always
ends the same
full of pain
alone in a bed
more often than not
surrounded by nobody
and the fun thing about this game
is that it doesn't matter
if there are none or thousands
surrounding the bed
the game ends
with no winners
Even the ones who
get everything from the will
They might even be the ones
who are worse off
than the principle player

Love is a terrible game
full of deceit
and you thought death
was painful
Falling in love with someone
seems pleasant on the surface
except it is falling
Falling always feels wonderful
until one hits that towards which
one is falling
It is often something hard
and capable of inflicting
bodily and mental harm

Lust
It's rarely out in the open
because lust is generally
in game we play with ourselves
never letting the object
of our lust know
that we lust for them
An open game of lust
usually leads to charges
or firing from a job
where the rules
have been broken
Lust between
those who consent
can lead to disrespect
We'll get back to you
on this one

Loincloth
This is a game for people
who desire closets full of clothes
That's right
It's named
for the simplest article
of clothing invented
by men and women
who never would own one
and who could open
a clothing store from what's
in their closets
sometimes the tags are still
on the clothes
from purchases made years back
The opposite of these players
are the naked sadhus
who attend Kumbh Mela
every twelve years
near the Ganges River
in India
Many don't seem to own
any clothing including loincloths
except a coating of ash
Twenty thousand marching
naked sadhus
The thought of this
has the employees and management
of Bergdorf Goodman puking
on the next rag you buy from them
If you own an actual loincloth
you have won the side game
This poet has a number of them
and plays this side game very well
It is too much information
but he is wearing a loincloth
while typing these words
Save yourself
Just visualize his mother
His mother won
the international championship
and never owned an actual loincloth
The poet is far humbler than his mother
This statement will receive chortles
from some of his friends

Acquisition
is a game played by many people
in the world
One must own everything
they can get their hands upon
The crying of a newborn
signals the parents
that the child is ready to play
this standard game
You'll find complete rules
on page one of your game guide
available by sending this poet
ten dollars via his PayPal account
Send twenty dollars
and he might even send it to you
but as with all games there are
no guarantees you'll actually
receive the promised finish
of the games themselves
If you never receive a copy
of the rules of these games
don't fret
This poet is merely playing
what he learned when exploring the rules
of the game Salesman
You must work for some very shady bosses
and co-workers
in order to fully realize the complete rules
of this game

These are just some of the games
being played in your neighborhood
There are others
You will have to discover them
for yourselves
since you haven't sent your twenty dollars
as yet


Barry G. Wick

















Hard Work

The sky's sweat
is a cloud.
Holding the secrets
of the universe
back from humanity
is still hard work,
despite the blue
being split by occasional
balloons, aircraft, and rocketry.
We stare through it
with our biggest eyes,
only to see it trying
to wiggle itself away
from our curiosity
and it's responsible appointment:
to keep us from discovery.
Night used to be its sweatshirt;
unwashed with the smell of fear.
Yet some of us questioned
our abilities to overcome it,
deciding the air and what's beyond
nothing but a toothless badger.
That bravado became its reason
to spit us back to the ground
until we respected the daily toil
we had not recognized.
Now that we do,
we test each others' mastery:
one with lightning,
the other with controlled fire.
Through it all
there is still more sky
than humans who want to conquer it.
Instead, fighting the neighbor
for limited ground remains,
until all realize
there's more space overhead
to protect and serve,
wasting nothing in our quest
to go beyond ourselves
into the kingdom of suns.


Barry G. Wick




Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Empty Light


As summer closes
firefly embrace escapes yards
their cool light drains

Sane reality
drops away from the people
who march without peace

Torch flame is empty
without care of any kind
bring back love flashes



Barry G. Wick

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Morning Becomes Electric



There is texture
in the first light
as if god
has yet to wipe
away the sleep
of night
that forms
a spider-raised web
Bird song thunders
Even the sky yawns
stirring the trees enough
to pretend they shake away
their dreams of travel
They are the only ones
consistently aware
of the journey
through the stars
Corn creaks and
Beans fatten
in the mirrors of dew
We want to believe
all is right with the world
only to turn on the news
which completely
fucks up the morning



Barry G. Wick

Monday, July 17, 2017

July Haiku



The summer flies by
through tall weeds on the road side
with little cat wings



Barry G. Wick

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Dementia National Anthem

In a dream with my Mother
She's being secretive
by not telling me
where she wants to go
Finally I tell her
that if she doesn't tell me
I'll have to take her
to the hospital
since I'm the person
who takes her everywhere
She wants to go
to Custer, South Dakota
Why I ask
because the Rockefellers
Do you know any I ask

I wake up in the dream
from the dream
to tell everybody
about the dream
from which I just awakened
I then wake up
to think about the times
Mother fell or fought with me
about the time she called
the Sheriff
because she didn't know me
When the deputy arrives
she becomes the perfect hostess
all forgotten
why he was called

I sat with her for ten years
to keep her from wandering
I carry her dementia
around my waist
and in my mind
until the days
I'll no longer remember
who cares for me and why

There is no Olympic event
for caretakers
No medals
of gold silver or bronze
even from family
We are weightlifters
standing on the dark podium
in an empty stadium
on a cold starless night
holding a bunch
of crumbling flowers
watching an instant playback
of our victory
our great moment of success
that replays
the months and years
of our preparation
for this moment
described by an announcer
who doesn't know
where she is
who she is
what's happening
or why
Rockefellers go to Custer



Barry G. Wick

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Valley of Time

Here we've come
to the valley of time
The river never floods
unless we attempt
to remember
where we put our keys
It's then it becomes
The Box Canyon of Time

If we lost our glasses
it becomes
The Grand Canyon of Time
...at night
and the river
is full of
ferocious magazine racks
escaped ottomans
and cold-blooded Legos

If we're drunk
crawling into our home
it becomes
The Mariana's Trench of Time
full of those weird fish
with the lighted lures
and big teeth
Those teeth are actually
the steps up to our bedroom
where upon we fall
into the gaping maw of sleep
Maws always gape

If one is trying
to discuss the finances
of a relationship
and why one cannot
buy a set of tools
or a new Brazilian Bikini
it becomes
the Black Hole of Time
A big one sucking up the universe
followed by
make-up sex of the universe

Now that we've discussed
this topic from
its logical beginning
Do attempt to avoid
this type of poem
because they are
The Potholes of Time
and you've just blown
The Tire of Time


Barry G. Wick