I now have one regular patron who sends a monthly contribution to keep this poet alive. Yes, per usual, I'm a poor poet...and for some reason I'm a poor poet in its many meanings...but someone like my patron loves my work. If you become a sustaining patron I can guarantee you'll see writing from me on a regular basis. I do edit my mad. But I don't always hit it out of the park. At least my patrons have a chance to select from all my work...and they become the editors rather than the small-minded who often edit magazines and journals. Poet James Wright,one of his last books, held by two editors for the longest time that his wife Anne took to another publisher who snapped it up and it became a huge success. Now I don't have people like Robert Bly, Don Hall, or their equals I can send my poems to for a review before I put them on the internet or send to any publisher. I believe in opening up my "horde" for the world to critique or love. And it's expensive to send out my work, getting only rejection, so it's money I don't have for food, or the electric bill. Please send what you can via my email: via Paypal. I thank those who support me one way or another.


Thank you to those who have contributed via Paypal to support my writing. My account at Paypal is the same as my email: rikwrybac(at)

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Monday, September 17, 2018

The Silent Loaves

The Silent Loaves

It's an old movie
from the 1950s
Famous actors
in a farce
about the daughter
of a private detective
who uses her father's files
to find and fall in love
with an older rake

The daughter tells her father
“I love you.”
He says
“I love you more.”

Ever since I saw that film
I can only think of people
to whom I want to say
“I love you more.”
They are my children
and best friends
who still support me

I was mildly shocked
to have someone with whom
I chat regularly say
“I love you.”
I said nothing

I am still a child inside
and I don't recall my parents
ever saying they loved me
until late in their lives
My mother once said
her own mother was cold
Hard Norwegians
Germans and Scots
are my heritage

Emotion is often beat
out of people 
much as bread is kneaded
People become pliable
to the whims
of paymaster chefs
Bread pans form walls
that shape dough
People also get shaped
by hot walls of opinion
oppression and lack of opportunity
Many a poor chef forgets time
burning the bread

People get burned

I'm going to try
to say what I want to say
“I love you more.”
If I do
it's to thank you
for the love
you give so freely
It's my last soft crumb
inside a blackened crust
of a discarded silent loaf

Barry G. Wick

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Monarch

The Monarch

thou didst afix thy chrysalis
to mine abode
down Iowa way

Green it was
and like new mown grass
ahangin' there attached
beside my walk

Methinks the spring
will come
for me to see
what you will become

Since I am not
of the entomologist strain
I dare not speculate
your springtime...whoops
in only ten or so days
you emerged
changed for fall flight
to a Mexican forest
as a Monarch butterfly

Gather all your colorful friends
attach threads to your bodies
thence to our would-be “monarch”
to tug HIM south of the border
whereupon we SHALL
build the wall
to keep HIM out
whilst you continue
to fly o'er it
in spring
to bring lasting beauty
and peace
to a great-full nation

Barry G. Wick

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Rubbing Up Against the Edges

Rubbing Up Against the Edges

this is raw
tension in the glass shards
surrounding this minute
light in glints from each
how can I beg this to stop
and still pretend
I live inside the rainbow
a rainstorm of tears
thunder inside my heart
lightning ends at my skin
never grounding
always pounding sound
across this razor prairie
where are you
where is your hammer
that will break me free
from the sharp corners
these are the judgments
that sift through memory
edged dust honed to perfection
wake up wake up wake up
this slicing dream
leaves tattered remnants
upon the second hand

Barry G. Wick

Friday, August 31, 2018

Pending Restart

Pending Restart

Now comes the end of life
distressing to some
fear of what's next
fear of nothing
fear of the dark
too many fears to handle

Believers don't have this problem
but so many aren't believers
Then come those
who believe in reincarnation
Buddhists and such
Now think of reincarnation
as a chance to get a new body
a new life
a new way of looking all of this

I prefer to think of reincarnation
as a black screen from the maker
with the words
Pending Restart
I'll stare at it until something happens
Perhaps it'll be something like
Don't turn off your life
We're downloading your update now
ten per cent
twenty per cent
forty-five per cent
one hundred per cent
Then all of a sudden
everything gets bright
as I'm pushed down
my new mother's vagina
or whatever will give me
a new life
Perhaps I'll just break out
of an egg or something like it
and if there's this giant
blue screen
I'm gonna scream

which will please the doctor no end

Barry G. Wick

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Dear Mr. Vivaldi

Dear Mr. Vivaldi

There you are at your simple desk
putting notes of music
on expensive paper until it's full
I listen to your thoughts
with the drops of rain
hitting the window on this morning
I feel like dancing
to these percussive strings
playing melody
with gentle turns of the bow
the Concerto for Violin in G Major
I could never listen
to anything else
Never and for the rest of my life
You scratch your head
for just a second
as we both stare
waiting for the next measure
Both you and I know
you won't waste much time in thought
There's too much music
bouncing across you skull
enough for ten lifetimes
speeding through your pen
to paper to the score for the conductor
to the parts for the musicians
The river of ink flows
through the speakers in my livingroom
to my ears
none of it dripping
into my breakfast
I hate cleaning up
piles of misshapen notes of music
of modern musicians
I'm already looking forward
to out next meeting
I'll make a fresh pot
It's good to have the best company
come to visit
Tony Tony Tony
write eight bars of whole note rests
you deserve it

Barry G. Wick



memories of the past
dreams of impossible events
thoughts about today
none are real

former lovers
wanted lovers
and no lovers
always with and not

a breeze
a gale
the emotions
of living alone

Barry G. Wick

Friday, August 24, 2018

Mental Mush(perhaps next year)

Mental Mush(perhaps next year)

It's after breakfast at the hospital
where it's the annual visit
for the national research study
that occupies my life
every day and every three months

I've had my coffee
eggs and toast
orange juice

The nurse starts testing me
for mental cognition
At sixty-six the cogs
are a bit worn
even after coffee

I have a minute to give her
all the words I can name
with a set a rules of course
words that I'm not allowed to name
words that begin
with the letter “F”
A naturally nasty poet
like old numb nuts
ought to have a number
of such nouns
Did I say it was morning?
Two small cups is not enough
“Flagons” of coffee are necessary
to start the engine's “fires”
on the mental railway
that cogs up and down this “Fatterhorn”

I “fail”
a word I didn't mention

She's disappointed
and says a poet should do better
My muse doesn't work that way
I think to myself
Words must be chewed
often a hundred times
like a “faceful” of brown rice
for the macrobiotic crowd
And there are times I must stare
at my wrinkling hands
before putting my “fingers”
on the keyboard
another word I didn't list
plus some words I “fabricated”

Days later I wake in the night
boiling in “F” words
My muse is asleep
I'm wide awake
I try to think
if I have any dishes to wash
My bed becomes a “flatform”
which doesn't exist as a word
This is better than morning coffee
I think “fortuitously”

Next year the same thing
though I don't know what letter
she'll select for the test
I promise myself to read
every dictionary
in the next year

My muse just laughs
He says he'll “flash”
all the “fancy” words
I can “facilitate”
to “feel” my way
though the “fields”
of poetry
I “fawn” over his
“felicitous” humor
as I “fixate” on the next dream
“falling” to sleep
“full” of “phantoms”

Barry G. Wick

Monday, August 13, 2018



My weekly pillbox
reminds me of the music staff
In each box in the spaces
are the notes of music
prescribed by my doctors
I take them with “water music”
Most of them are whole notes
I only take one half note
splitting a pain pill
that gets me to the library
without my knees drumming
that makes me sing loudly
for all to hear
It sounds oddly like screaming
A modern music
as old as human suffering
I take my notes
with breakfast
at lunch and dinner
and at bedtime
The older one gets
the more others sing along
with this chorus
Drug companies do all the applauding

Barry G. Wick

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Gaols (Jails)

Gaols (Jails)

Being old
Having a walker
Being in a wheelchair
Being too fat or two thin
Always eating too much
or too little
Missing someone taken away or lost
Lying in bed
Connection to breathing machines
Living with someone you don't love
Living with someone who loves street drugs
Living with someone who loves alcohol
Living with someone who loves someone else
Living with someone who just loves sex
Living with someone too committed to work
Living with someone who only loves money
Living with someone who won't spend money
Living with someone who doesn't like play
Living with someone who only likes pornography
Living with someone who eats too much
Living with someone addicted to self-help groups
Wanting someone who doesn't want you
Wanting more than you will ever have
Living where there are bad neighbors
Living where there are no neighbors
Living in fear of arrest for no reason
Being harassed for just being the wrong color
in a different color neighborhood
Always feeling or being naked
Wanting shoes or simple clothes
Living with a dead-end job and life
Wanting love when you don't have friends
Wanting a friend when you have none
Living alone for years
Wanting to be touched and hugged
Living in a nation that hates you
Living in prison
Living with the memory of your dead family
Living with too much stuff
Having family that doesn't want you
Living in a loveless family
Being blind and not coping
Being deaf and not coping
Neurological and stroke effects
Living without electricity
Living with electricity that costs too much
Always needing water
Floods and fires
these and many more “gaols' (jails)
that citizens of this planet find themselves in
being on a planet
so far away from other life-producing planets
that we'll never know
in our lifetimes
or potentially the lifetimes
of our descendants
the jails other beings live in and upon
their planets

The universe creates, captures and destroys
everything in it
the universe is in its own gaol (jail)
unable to get away from itself
and its obsessions
which means
the creator
is in great need
of psychological counseling
eons of it

Barry G. Wick

Monday, August 6, 2018


I'm crazy
not raving crazy
not violent crazy
not silent crazy
not wide-eyed crazy
not washing-my-hands crazy
not constantly-itching crazy
not naked-and-running crazy
not obsessed-with-another-person crazy
not obsessed-with-hate-or-love crazy
not chew-my-nails or pick-my-nose crazy
not praying-to-gODD or church crazy
not telling-others-how-to-live crazy
not drama-involved-and-excessive-emotion crazy
I'm crazy with crazy
I'm opened-eyes-seeing-the-world crazy
I'm aware crazy
I'm not-aware crazy
I see-too-much-and-not-enough crazy
I read about crazies and people who think they aren't
Many people think I'm crazy
They're always wrong twice a day

If I were to tell you I was crazy
I would not be
If I were to tell you I wasn't crazy
I'd be lying

Now you understand the problem
and I'm completely wrong
in that assumption
and that just drives me crazy

I insert a (((sigh))) here
because it's a kind of intake
and exhale of air
that brings clarity to everything that's confusing

honestly, I'm really fond of skin
especially my own
entirely my own
which is probably why

Barry G. Wick

Friday, August 3, 2018

Song of the Chicken Canner

Song of the Chicken Canner

Pressure won't you grow
Treasure won't you glow
It's been two long hours
and I'm just about done
Chicken for the winter
Chicken in my pot
Twenty-four quarts
and that's not a lot
Time to make the noodles
Eggs and flour and salt
These processes keep on
and who is John Galt?

Barry G. Wick

Sunday, July 22, 2018

'Note to Poet "J.G"

Thank you for sharing your poem "Speaking to Imagination" with me the other day.  More importantly for me is that I have met one of my readers.  I'm truly honored.
Your poem is directed at your imagination.  For some writers the imagination is one of the muses:

  "Here again, Calliope (epic poetry) carries a writing tablet; Clio (history) carries a scroll and books; Euterpe (song and elegiac poetry) carries a flute, the aulos; Erato (lyric poetry) is often seen with a lyre and a crown of roses; Melpomene (tragedy) is often seen with a tragic mask;Polyhymnia (sacred poetry) is ...."from Wikipedia

This quite a group of powerful muses.  If this group of muses is to whom you are speaking then heed my warning.  Respect them ad nauseum.  Telling them that you are the "...King." is tantamount to insurrection...or insult.  
Love them.  Stroke them.  They give poets powerful words and ideas.  I am in love with all of them despite their jealousies with each other over me.  Juggling my attentions on them is done with great difficulty.  I often start to write something and find I am hearing an argument over which muse is going to help me complete the project. Some learned people think I am just hearing voices in my head.  It's an awful thing when I am in the library on the computer, listening to music on the internet,  writing something and suddenly, I hear a bunch of women screaming in my headphones.  Then, I launch into often loud conversation trying to calm a group of arguing muses.  These "ladies" are giving me a bad reputation here.  It's all very strange for a gay man to hear women in his ears arguing with each other.  People don't believe I hear these things.   After a few minutes they discover that they have embarrassed me.  There are no apologies.  There are clear thoughts filled with the words I need to complete something under the fingers typing on the computer.  Now, they've gone quiet.  They aren't speaking to me because I am writing about them.  My dears, I am so sorry, but I have to get another writer to respect your respect my dear sweet ladies who often ramble through my head like a hundred St. Bernards in search of a lost skier.  So even though you have gone silent because of my words to this potentially fine writer, I know I shall hear your singing once again.  So, J.G., you did have my attention and I hope this note is an explanation of my viewpoint that surrounds your poem.  Please write some more for me and I hope to see you again soon.   Your devoted reader, Barry.

On the Moon

On The Moon

I'm here
I'm not running out
of anything important
like air food or water
This is the crater
I live in
It's a two bath
three bedroom crater
with a well appointed kitchen
with enough rocks
to pay monthly crater rent
To be honest
I don't know
who gets the rocks
I sew my own spacesuits
but they leak
so I don't spend time
looking for junk
that falls from the sky
The parts I've collected
make a nice porch
that beeps every
fifteen minutes
It's annoying
but at least
it keeps me company

The internet is helpful
at the crater three miles away
where the Russians lost
a load of books
or was that the Germans
who didn't want to burn them
I just hope my moon buggy
gets me there in the coming years

The moon is gray
Music I listen to
comes from the rainbow
Now I hear Etta James
“Stormy Weather”
over and over
“It's keep rainin'
all the time.”
but that's the moon
in the summertime
James P. Johnson
at the keyboard
“Snowy Morning Blues”
All I have here
are micrometeorites.

The government
sends a supply ship
every month on the third
Supplies mostly run out
by the tenth
so I have to be careful
until the next ship arrives

Mahalia Jackson sings
“Just a Closer Walk with Thee”
On the moon
it's just a closer skip and hop
with thee
but everything on the moon
is far away

I've been to the dark side
That's usually the last
three of four days of the month
or after I visit the doctor
with all the gadgets
I hook up to me
so she can tell
if I'm gonna be around
for the next supply ship

Louis just walked on stage
with Mahalia
The applause won't stop
Now he's singin' with her
I'm foggin' up my helmet visor
A closer walk with the saints
that come marching in
leaving footprints in the dust

That's it from here
on the moon...wait
Louis now sings
“Mack the Knife”
Who'd have thought
would have made a hit
by the Germans
lyricist Bertolt Brecht
and composer Kurt Weill
But then Americans
landed on the moon
thanks to a German designer
of big rockets
named Wernher Magnus
Maximilian von Braun
member of that political party
he said magically appeared
on top of him
Eventually everything
comes from Germany
even the political system
now infecting
my former homeland
I might be the only
person on the moon
but I've designed
a political system
that nobody can beat
It's called “Just-me-ism”
I leave everybody alone
and everybody leaves me alone
It only catches on
when you're old
a complete outcast
from family and
all of the world
that's impossible to walk to
when using a walker

Stanley Jordan plays
“Willow Weep for Me”

Where's a willow
when you want one
It doesn't help
if you live on the moon
I'm not feeling sorry
I just feel the rocks in my....
this is a family crater

Barry G. Wick

Thursday, July 12, 2018

News Flashes

A power outage drives me to my porch
with three improvised lighted torches
made from empty jam jars
with punctured metal lids through which
the wicks of rolled and sewn gauze peek
The fuel gives off smoke to keep bugs at bay
Several moths go down in flames
their last flutters within feet of me
Moths are a disorganized lot
unlike their bug cousins:  the fireflies
They form a flying message
Hundreds of fireflies linked together
above the darkened lawn in the trees
behind my home
It's almost as if a neon sign
glides over this tender scene of loneliness
Where they have learned this word
is anyone's guess
yet here they are flying in formation
presenting their request
to any bug or person
who will read
or answer their request
This strange ghostly flight
of a word has me in tears
because I know how they feel
how lonely these gentle insects
who have joined arms in protest
to tell the world
their great need for what
their message glows
in the star-filled sky
three letters that make up
one word
powered by thousands of wings
soundless in their presentation
to explain their intimate desires
I cannot help them
except to beg them to stay away
from the flames that illuminate
my bare feet to my head
Here they are
far from my three breeze-twisted flames
their three letters
flickering now
every two seconds
damn, I love Iowa

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Long Train of Suffering

Jesus was a beggar
who invested his income
He didn't make his fortune
in his father's
furniture shop
He kept the government
from taxing his capital gains
made on the goat market
by using an offshore account
It's the Christian thing to do

Won't everybody be surprised
when they have to take their turn
as Jesus in another life
Your reincarnation
only with a different body
is surrounded by the tools
of cruelty and crucifixion
Somewhere in that limbo
the cross
now forged titanium
will have been recycled
through the many lives
that have to go through
government sponsored torture

For that time
some disfavored race
will sit on the sidelines
with rating cards
ranging from zero point zero
to ten
How well did this Jesus suffer?
Six point seven
The audience applauds
Someone yells that
the judges needed to raise
the decision
Apostles are never satisfied
Those judges were Dyacks
from Borneo
who will now have to be
persecuted and wander for centuries
because they killed this Jesus
They didn't really
It just makes them the best
loincloth tailors and rag merchants
in the next history

The tomb is a refrigerated morgue
Some Mary will march
through the doors
with an entourage
in her furs and jewels
Including a blonde bimbo
they call The Mag
only to find the bin
Now how did he open it
Oh yes it's magic
The auditorium is silent
when the announcer
taps the mic
It's “Jesus starring in
'Houdini on Ice'”

This Jesus runs around
showing everybody his holes
entrance wounds made with lasers
so he can be hung on the pegs
No more of those pointy spikes

this Jesus says
boy was that a trip

Jesus rises to heaven
since by this time
anti-gravity is as simple
as healing the sick
The Apostles split up
This show is over
The audience is restless
for the next Jesus

Okay kid
get some Apostles together
No you can't use the ones
the previous Jesus used
Their off writing their memoirs
starting churches
Some will be such a pain
in the ass
they'll be crucified
It's a tough world kid
but you can do it
Now start pitching
that stuff
being about
your father's business
Oh insurance
That'll make an interesting
chapter in a new testament

Risk assessment
how to avoid being
the next Jesus

I can tell you this kid
You're gonna wind up
on a cross
No two ways about it
There are benefits
This time you don't
have to drag it through
the streets
like the first Jesus
The whole thing
has been simplified
They just hang you
on the pegs
You die
save the world
and go to heaven
easy peasy

Barry G. Wick

Saturday, June 30, 2018

This and That


Slippery vision slippery thought
It is what it is and sometimes not


Sometimes the squirrel
barks at the dog
Sometimes the snake
is et by the frog


We stand by a tree to sing a song
and all the while the tree's asleep
It hates all singing, it thinks it's wrong
the prettiest melody makes it weep


Given time to observe
everything's a learning curve
A rope is tied deep in our mind
Untie the knot and you might find


Sit and watch do not expound
keep your feet upon the ground
Let no word take glorious flight
until it's certain that it's right


The thing we buy the thing we try
is likely something to make us cry


The look of love is oft desired
but then it gets unruly mired


Beware what's writ on glowing screens
and what's said in Ways and Means
Politicians want your vote
not what's writ in a four page note


We beg the stars to keep their shape
to stay the same for children's sake
What stories will the sky tell then
in twenty thousand years or when


We dance around this planet
as if the universe we own
until we realize it's size
we're just a seed that's sown


Surrounded by convention
we think it is quite normal
even if our clothes are ripped
it's truly all quite formal
Someone wears a loincloth
someone underwear
It's all really just the same
that we refuse to bare
In the jungles deep and dark
people wear no clothes at all
You envy them their bodies svelte
and gym yourself a bill that's tall
So to the jungle with you now
and shoot down monkeys from the trees
No clothes at all is you at birth
Swim in the river and dry in a breeze


You there in your suit quite tidy
thinking you're all high and mighty
Without electric this and that
the dirt accumulates
And everything you wear
will soon entomb your fate
A spot upon your tie so fine
will grow so green with mold
and everything you own
will look so shabby and quite old
Don't criticize those upon the street
whose bath was weeks ago
They're human and complete
and know something you don't know
Civilization isn't planned
it's a train wreck pure and simple
Tomorrow's world infection
begins with just a pimple

Barry G. Wick

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Lawn in the New Day

Is there anything
more disheartening
than sitting on the edge
of a bed rising from dreams
filled with people
who are supposed
to be everyone that's inside
only to wish
there was someone outside
who would hold the hand
that stops a fall to the floor
as tears of amazement
refract the glow
of a green lawn
that sifts through raindrops
on a screen

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, June 26, 2018


The campfire of love
and the love of campfire
can both be extinguished
by a bucket
of cold water

Campfire belonged
to early man
who begged woman
to make dinner using it
which is why
baked rat is rarely
on the menu

Burning wood
could pop sparks
from the campfire
onto lovers
sparking in front of it

Campfire in a dream
can feel warm
just don't try
to pee it out

Wolves won't go near
a campfire
yet rhinos
will stamp and pee
to put one out
Rhinos call wolves
and like them fried
or baked in wine

How many campfires
have there been
upon the silk road
just enough
for the worms to weave it
without moonlight

Ever notice
that nobody cares
how bad you sound
singing around
a campfire
which is why
there's always a candle
lit in church

Men wearing
only loincloths
who sit near
roaring campfires
are called masochists

The crackle of a campfire
will mask
the sound of farts
only when alone

A group of women
sitting around a campfire
late at night
was called birth control

Trying to light
a campfire
in pouring rain
lead to the invention
of gasoline

Man put stones around
all campfires
to stop it from escaping
which is why
no campfire has robbed a bank
a second time

Early man never
announced himself
when coming upon
the campfire of others
This lead to the multiple
independent discoveries of
disposable loincloths

Genghis Khan
personally refused to create
“campfire surprise”
because he preferred
the smell of camels

Barry G. Wick

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Tinkerbell Fascists

Rising above the castles of Washington,
winged beasts with their cannon wands
spray sparking red, white, and blue
fairy dust for all the media to marvel,
behind which, lies have only obfuscation,
midst the corpses of unemployed immigrants,
desiccated women of forced pregnancy,
the new babies to be slaughtered or starved
into the smiling skeletons of children,
bullet-riddled, laying upon school floors
or the dusty, bomb-scarred, oil-pumped plains,
as their puddling tears dry in sandy echos,
unhooked by a hypnotized-while-blind public:
who pray each evening to  their flat screens
in the hope that GODD will materialize
just long enough for them to crowd-cheer
His golden hair flying from the fans
placed for His closest media angels
that He excoriates to the knowing smiles
of those who pray to His heroic majesty,
unfazed by Zeuses like Eisenhower,
Grant, and Washington who could*
out-hero even the tiniest ghost riders
in pure, white, black-holed sheets festooned
with flaming blood-soaked crosses
marking the spot where dripping pussies
should be grabbed in public and adorned
with spinning, sparkling swastikas,
and a gun club membership card
entitling one, full, and free magazine fired
at the nearest scattering school children
who dare to imagine in their deepest thoughts
any liberal, democrat, or foreigner
who lives now or is a demon of the past
who failed to wave a ripped Old Glory
and give the Bellamy it's proper angle
above the bleeding putti who encircle
His gold coif that sparkles from this new Son.
Crawler Headline:  America drowns in fairy dust.

Barry G. Wick

*Author's Note:  Eisenhower shook hands with Spain's fascist leader Franco, Grant wasn't well-liked by Native Americans(under-statement), and Washington had more connections to Great Britain than King George III....!


Across the space
between us
our eyes meet
your dark deep eyes
that need to be filled
with this love
that only an empty man
can generate
and I'm smitten
such a smile
and wishing
my fingers through
your black hair
There are many years
between us
does it matter
does it

Barry G. Wick

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday Morning with Joni Mitchell

We're on the sofa together
She's in Memphis
with the other Egyptians
who built pyramids of music
She says she's sitting in a cafe
and I remind her it's my couch
in sight of corn and beans
in Iowa

I'm thinking about the news
and how I don't miss it
glad the currency of daily life
doesn't gloss over my eyes
I don't know what has happened
in the last four days
and this morning
the world still full of fools
fighting for everything
“A woman must have everything.”
I know about that Joni

I'm beyond it all now
peeking from time to time
into the abyss
falling more slowly
than I did years ago
when I was a young journalist
in college during the war
following the march against
in the middle of wheat and lentils
in the great Palouse
Up and down the hills
filing as it happened reports
just like Edward R.
did from London
except I'm not on CBS
just the college station
wired into the dorms
with 8 listeners
who are reading Shakespeare
and Mao in the same language
from red books
I'm preparing for the day
a cop and a bunch of people
are murdered in Gillette
northeast Wyoming
when I go to the hospital
and am the first to report
live on the air
the policeman is dead
the killer is dead
and a pile of others
as this nut drove
across the town
spreading death
as easily as I put
the eggs on my toast
and the sweet stuff
in my black coffee

You still with me Joni?
You're fading out
as the summer heat of Iowa
makes a cloud fall
out of my freezer

Joni is traveling again
and I think of all the miles
between wherever
that are now so much
wasted dinosaurs
as we head for the end
of civilization that was never civil
as I stare at the changing screen
pictures that change every minute
three boys wrestling
in bright red breechclouts
at some rendezvous of trappers
their parents probably
What do you think Joni
of my tie-dyed loincloth
Yeah nobody cares
as she says “I'll be thinking of you.”
Oh sure babe
She's in her 70s
I'm in my 60s.
“Will you still love me
when I get back to town?”
I'm too young for you sweets
and if I'm looking at guys
in their malos
on some Pacific isle
then you might not be
the right person to cuddle with
“I've got the blues inside...”
Sorry, I know you had your heart set
on me as your man
We both sigh
me in my lonely Iowa
and you in your British Columbia
singing to an old nobody
writing some words
on a glowing screen
ready to get another cup
of Folgers
the only coffee I can afford
and you probably
with those beans
shit from the ass
of some odd cat
expensive beans
ground by natives
with their carved-rock
mortars and pestles
sitting in their loincloths
or is that poi

It doesn't matter any more
I don't know what's going on
as you travel
spilling your words
in ones and zeros
from my computer's CD player
hissing at summer lawns
please my dear
be nice
at least I'm wearing something
and you're jumping
out of my speakers
as naked a poet
as there ever was
while we're kissing in cafes
kissing on main street
rollin' rollin' rock and rollin'

 Barry G. Wick

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Poem of Summer 2018

Call me Sebastian
It's a honest name for me
since grandfathers
back in time had that name

Tennessee Williams wrote the play
the movie
Suddenly Last Summer”
identifying the dead Sebastian Venable
as the major character
we see without his face
late in the movie
He has no face
yet we know he likes boys
and he's getting older
he's getting older
a bad sign for gay men

Cousin Catherine
now replaces mother Violet
for Sebastian
in his travels
to procure for him

To Mrs. Venable
is the be-all end-all stylish poet
His last trip to Cabeza de Lobo
with Catherine
he gets eaten by crowds
of boys driving him to the top
of the highest hill in town
It's a fag-bashing sure enough

There I was sitting in the back
of a Pontiac station wagon
at the Pines Drive-in
at a young age
with only my mother
in the front seat avoiding
my father for the night
to see this movie
and I stared
at the tight swim suits
on the beach boys
as Elizabeth Taylor
recounted her character
Catherine's terrors
the summer she escorted
Sebastian on his travels
in place of his mother Violet
Catherine suffers
post-traumatic stress disorder
as a result of what happened
to Sebastian
and says horrible things
Violet wants cut out of her mind

Sebastian didn't write
his poem of summer
according to his mother Violet
because Catherine
could not give him what he needed
lots of hot boys to stimulate him
they way he needed stimulation
Violet Venable wants
a lobotomy for Catherine
because she tells the truth
Violet lost her ability to attract
so she blames Catherine
for no Poem of Summer
to have been written by
Sebastian who writes
one poem a year
in summer

My mother was my Violet
dragging me around town
to the dress shops
the fabric stores
the shoe stores
her dress maker's
chin wags with her friends
baby sitters ad infinitum
the local television station
to the piano teacher
and put tears in my eyes
demanding I practice
refusing my desire to play baseball
putting me on every stage
and local television show
to play

I hid in the trees
to hide from you Violet
Any self expression
on my part
any outburst at school
was met with shame
shame shame shame
I treated girls
with great courtesy
polite courtesy
mustn't touch them
must treat them as untouchables
like your all-powerful mother
who trained you
from the age of four
to be a slave
to her desires
to eventually write the poems
that were never written

Get me a lobotomy mother
to take away all these memories
of not knowing who I was
of not knowing what I wanted
of only knowing what you wanted
of growing old now
an old queer
with no one who loves me
who kisses me on every occasion
I turned everybody away
who loved me
because I was suppose
to love only you mother

I'm far away in my own
Cabeza De Lobo

Here endeth my Poem of Summer
now let the boys eat me
Here's a bottle of hot sauce
and a tub of potato salad

Barry G. Wick
May-June 2018

Monday, June 4, 2018

Leafless and Loving

Let us remember
that each sex
has skirmished
or warred
against the image
of each other's bodies

Men owned magazines
ad agencies and more
that presented an image
of women
that wasn't the reality of them
The image of “bullied” women
was always created by men
who were governed by doctrines
founded in other nations
by men who subjugated
their partners
writing rules
that all men should follow
rules that have followed men
to the new world that now
looks strangely old and outdated

Women also decided
that men could not be men
proud of their bodies
as they are
much as they opposed
native American men
from wearing only loincloths
into western towns
without first wearing
red long john underwear
red supposedly being
the color of their skin
Men have been “cowed”
into passing laws
against themselves

Every image
of Adam and Eve
is a lie
since leaves obscure
of what each
is most proud
and never at liberty
to reveal

We can vote
but we can't be equal
(just let that sink in)

These are just a few
elements of the war
between the sexes
By denying the other sex
permission to be themselves
each loses their hegemony
in an endless and useless war

Each sex has become
a forest of frosted branches
trees without the leaves
of a following spring
covered in sack cloth
and the ashes of war
Ashes from the leaves
hastily grabbed
to cover the “embarrassment”
of having eaten an apple
told by an obviously male god
to be poisonous
to the good order
of “his” garden

The sackcloth now comes
in bolts from China
India and Indonesia
but that's a different poem

But it does bring us to
the topic of clothing
which is why god
made winter
to rob Adam and Eve
of leaves
so they'd have to get
their clothing
from the Salvation Army
Goodwill Industries
St. Vincent d ePaul
and Filene's Basement
giving rise to the argument
between them
that Adam could
cover himself
with any old rag
but that Eve
had to wait
for the fall fashions
It only made sense
to her
but she ended up
Yves Saint Laurent
since his first name
sounded like hers
despite her inability
to read the tag
tags she saved
to put in her own
hand-made clothing
so her friends
would be wowed
Her clothing was limited
due to the restrictions
Adam placed on her
household budget
From that stems
all the anti-women crap
that men put out there
The truth is that Adam
got tired of weaving cotton
and cleaning sheep's wool
and good-lord
have you ever tired to
coral silk worms
He appealed to god
to help him with the worms
to which exclaimed
'For that kiddo
you'll need leaves
and I'd like you two
to suffer for a couple
of cold winters
No dice'

Adam didn't understand
the dice reference
so Adam invented them
and god got good and pissed
at all the gambling
going on the garden
which was the real reason
he expelled them from the garden
Seven come Eleven
just didn't sound
like a good beginning
for a prayer

Barry G. Wick


My Grandmothers Ella and Florence
were born
when women did not have the vote
or much of a say in anything
until they were grown
with families of their own
Men decided
pretty much
just as men now
when women want sex
when women need health care
when it's time for dinner
who should visit
how to iron a man's shirts
the why of anything

The nation is still ruled
by books brought
from old countries
that say women
belong to men

This is a new nation
not the old world
yet men are raised
to treat equal citizens
who now have the vote
like dogs and cattle

Get out the whip Maude
it's time for your punishment

How many votes must be taken
before women finally control
the nation
if only for two or four years
enough time for men
to think about real equality

Here now
a time when an autocratic man
who treats women badly
is elected by many women

Come back my Grandmothers
to teach this world again
how men and women should be
in a new nation
conceived in liberty
marching in the streets
for equal rights
and other important stuff
like that there

Barry G. Wick
April-June 2018

Friday, June 1, 2018

The American Acolyte

Each person elected
to office
has chosen to preach
the best of this nation
whether they do so
or not
They are democracy's priests
The political activist
even just a common voter
assisting each leader
to provide
the spiritual growth
to advance
the causes of the people
love hope charity
sharing sympathy and empathy
success and failure
for those two potential outcomes
of life
are brothers
even as many familial brothers
cannot conceive of helping each other
physically or emotionally
Those elected
must recognize their need
to communicate
with even the lowliest element
in their area of influence
for each
high and low
to each other
are acolytes

Barry G. Wick

Monday, May 21, 2018


I keep thinking
that someone I'd like to see
will knock on my door
or that someone
I've recently met
will call me on the phone
It doesn't happen
I now know what
old people
have always lived through
the lonely years
after a partner dies
or whatever life dishes out
to anybody
So I will talk with no one
We shall have a fine talk
about whatever
Whatever is a big topic
these days
I hear people dismiss
each other
with that word
Maybe that's what I feel
some days
and then I think
of the friends
and readers I do have
goes far down the list
of topics
I become grateful
for the conservation
for the little time I do have
with friends and family
then I don't feel
missed or otherwise

Barry G. Wick
May 2018

Saturday, May 19, 2018

All The Beautiful

All the Beautiful
to ya Buddy
whatever year this is
Symphonies tapestries clothing
sculptures and laced covered buildings
gold-leafed alters
with marble tombs of the famous
paintings of fawns and faeries
landscapes of flowers
ships with bare chested ladies
leading their sailors to discovery
and Shakespeare's drifting and lifting
Words weren't created
by people who stared
into glowing screens
of television
or cell phones
Beethoven never wore
earbuds blowing out
his eardrums
no sirree

Today I listened
to Schubert's 1st Symphony
he wrote when he was fifteen
I'll post this for you
so you can read this
on a glowing screen
because I doubt that
it'd have any meaning
for you if I didn't
Then your mind
will throw it away
like so much plastic
to end up in an ocean
of ones and zeros
only to be eliminated
by an electric pulse
or wayward solar flare
that switches off
everything we think great
so we can go back to
creating beauty for the world
for awhile
that lasts as long
as the pyramids
or The Parthenon
or a diadem of gold
that graced the head
of a Queen
or Miss Destiny in drag
and her new hustler boyfriend
Zack with all the muscles
who won't be remembered
except by the long-dead guys
he did the nasty with
for a quick thrill
five minutes after
he left the sex stall
of some future Pompeii
destroyed by something
they'll dig out in twenty thousand
and nineteen
and nineteen
and nineteen
when the screens
get reinvented
the books will fall apart
Michelangelo Squirtboy
can't get
The Holy Holy Miss Molly
to give him the money
for the ceiling he painted
in the
Crutch of Arnold the Divine
the word church long forgotten
proving once again
what religion was
and always will be
a group of old drag queens
welshers and chiselers really
who won't pay
what art is worth
The stained-glass windows
briefly flicker
with an audible “Oh no!”
heard throughout the pews
Spirituality rekindled
at midnight en masse solipsism
God can't be seen
if the screens flicker

Siddhartha has his one mouthful
of rice with pine nuts and onion
with an infantile Cabernet
He takes off his necklace
of clay beads
spattered with reds and yellows
then hands them to me
I have nothing to give back
putting down my pen
to start crying
with my head bowed
looking at
the orange breechcloth
up around my fat stomach
I pull on the threads
coming undone on the front
that hangs down mid-thigh
I'm thinking of gratitude
and Squirtboy's plastic bottles
of hand-ground oil paints
squeezed at the ceiling
with extra drops
falling into his eyes
A couple of bitches sing
something amazing
from the Marriage of Mozart
It only lasted 16 seconds
All that remains
this far in the future
That was that.”
says the announcer
Hey, we found 27 seconds
of someone else singing something
on a broken hard drive,”
he says with amazement
Nothing but the greats
on this station

You plead with me
to let you go
I'm getting tedious
you think
Preserve your memories,”
I say
They're all that's left blank.”
I may have the quote wrong
but it doesn't matter
I tried
Remember this was free
did you think
my space in your head
was worth anything
Me neither
Switch it off
and read a book
printed on special paper
signed and numbered by the author
while it lasts

Barry G. Wick, May 2018

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The True Path

This advice to babies
just out of the birth canal
start breathing
then ask the following questions
What the hell is this
Who the hell are you
Why am I screwing around here
How do I get through
this ridiculous thing called life
When will you
listen to me through this crying
(since all crying is an urge to listen
to the person crying)

The parent now says
just listen and learn
changes the dirty diaper
feeds the baby
helps them walk
gives them clothes
Generally after that
they're on their own

Then the parent
quits listening
quits asking questions
dirties a diaper
needs to be fed
stops walking
and cries from loneliness
until the urge to stop breathing
to go away from it all
overcomes everything

Barry G. Wick

Monday, May 14, 2018

American Murder

This is set to music
Maurice Ravel's Bolero
At the first of the music
he buys his hopped-up
semi-automatic rifle
made to hold magazines
containing up to 30 bullets
each neatly on top
of a brass shell
containing a fast-burning powder
ready to be lit by a primer
in the base
when the firing pin is released
by the trigger

He carries six magazines
in his vest
with one magazine in the gun
He has over two hundred bullets
ready to be fired
in the direction
of his sworn enemies
which are his family
his friends
his neighbors
doctors and nurses
school children

There is no thought in his action
unlike the saxophone player
and the trumpets
that slowly build their anger
at the composer
who is making them
repeat the melody
over and over
The violins are plenty miffed
They fire their notes
softer than the timpani
but still in Ravel's direction

Our hero steps
from the door of his rusty pickup
carrying his weapon
at the entrance of the mall
Some shoppers see this
and start screaming
as his finger plays it's melody
on the trigger
sounding strangely
like snare drums
with their raspy thump
The music swells
as people fall
with each report

First its an old lady
with her grandson
then the grandson
Behind him is a baby
in a stroller
with its parents
who fall screaming
He turns to see a store clerk
behind a counter
adjust the earrings
on a display
Down she goes
shot in the chest

He advances further
past stores filled
with the world's merchandise
ready to fill the pockets
of the poor and wealthy alike
with monetary bounty
People scatter before him
trying like ducks
to fly from a pond
spooked by the sound of a gun
It's open season on Americans

Soon the tally grows
to ten or fifteen
he's lost count
in his murderous fun
Now he's in the main hall
filled with shoppers
on this Saturday
Many look in the direction
of this explosive noise
wondering what it might be
Then seeing the flashes
with widening eyes
Their day on earth is ending
Their stories streak
across the mall floor
in red rivers

He is in a crescendo
building the inevitable
pile of victims
that has become a regular
fixture of freedom
There is no stopping
his switch from an empty
to a full magazine of death
All the musicians are falling
having spent themselves silly
in an orgiastic economy
falling one by one
fueled by oil
fueled by gas
fueled by explosions
fueled by printed paper
fueled by greed
fueled by need
fueled by the seeds of hate
fueled by the deeds of fate
fueled by the reaching
fueled by the teaching
fueled by the sinister
fueled by the minister
fueled by wild hunger
fueled by this violent thunder

The tally flashes on his screen
for less than a second
twenty-six dead and thirty-one
wounded and crying
A mall guard steps from a store
behind him
to put a bullet in his brain

America is saved
America the brave
America secured
America inured

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Required Response

When is this going to change
my love
I've been waiting for you
in my dreams
in my waking hours
when I'm involved with minutia
I've asked others
to look for you
though neither of us
knows what you look like

I've tried over and over
to find you
and every time
others have put themselves
between us
Sometimes I've been too critical
perhaps pushing you away
or being cruel
That's a specialty of mine
I know that others
have not approved of your kind
or my kind
giving me a reason
to let you go
knowing full well
I'd have to look for you again

Looking through music and art
and books I've read
you're not there
I've scanned thousands of photos
hoping to see you
but the ones I see are out of reach
for a man my age
for a man my size
for a man of my qualities
for a man who is deperate
for a man
with whom to be
throughout my day

This message is being sent to you
in the only way I now know
My door is open
to greet you
who has
the required response

Barry G. Wick

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Dear Mother 2018

Four and half years ago
I was with you
when you left
a hole in my heart
one of many you gave me
over the years

Your dreams for me
were never fully realized
In your zeal to produce
a pianist
you never saw
who you forgot to see
My college professors
found the stiffness
of my playing
was the resistance I created
to your forceful desires
Music should be a joy
discovered by a child
without tears and fear
Obedience and the need to please
were created
rather than the wild abandon
of a wondrous melody

The desire to create
was never connected
to me
It was on a chain
through your shoving
me to the piano
plus your insistence
I play for everyone
to pet your ego

It is my later years
I truly discover
the joy of music
Now I hear

Still I am grateful
to push aside all bitterness
to find my soul
can dance
despite my octopus knees

As Mother's Day
approaches in my 66th year
your better qualities
are remembered
so that I can miss you
so that I can forget
that you forgot who I was
always and
in your last ten years
when I cared for you
when I kept you
in your own home
to see
the changing seasons
along the creek
in the black mountain hills
of Dakota

Barry G. Wick

Poem of Night to Day

The night rain
sparkled on the screen
Tornado siren memory
from the early evening
kept me awake
until the peace of night
returned me to sleep

Morning brought
the popping of leaves
across the barrier of trees
that had allowed the moon
to procure my gaze

Summer has arrived early
with winter's abrupt end
“Tapiola” by Sibelius
with its storms and resolution
brings the lush green
of this new season
into a tepid focus

Barry G. Wick

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Cruel Memory

The past in all its permutations
The loss of word
Friends who should have been kept
Friends who were tossed away
Temporary loves
Long term loves
The never loved and wanted to love
The punches of regret
Things wanted to be forgotten return
Things wanted to be remembered disappear
Ripples of time that change memories
once truth become lies
then lies become truth
Cruel memory is a criminal
that murders what we think
and destroys what we are
from then on

Barry G. Wick

Sunday, April 22, 2018


Here is the myth
that doesn't believe in me
There are magic legends
that surround it in amazing colors
It is sometimes a feeble blue
on the edge of purple
I'm not orange enough
for it to accept my myths
that cling to my hands and feet
They clash like demons
at the edge of my driveway
that send a shower of sparks
alternating numbers from one to five
I keep repeating the legends
but never get to see the myth itself
I want it to be red
but that's me
I dance in my breech cloth
that is patterned
in orange and yellow
Jealous natives who dance
in their ghost suits
pat me on the shoulder
in expectation of some new legends
that create a different set of numbers
This is the essence of the myth
It can't accept me yet
This is what shames me

Barry G. Wick

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Haiku of Thanks, for all who donate

Two friends gave money
at this time of silent need
Rainbow Washingtons

Barry G. Wick

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Mouse Style

There are mice within my walls somewhere
wearing little white underwear
I've seen them scamper across a room
I laugh so hard it breaks the gloom
It is a wonder why they chose
this simple color of underclothes
I know they hear me when I tell
that other colors the stores will sell
When summer comes and heat discomforts
I'm at the pool in my red shorts
Certainly they follow my lead
to cool down quickly when they need
Red is the color I now suppose
mice swim in skimpy Speedos

Barry G. Wick 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


It snowed Saturday
A bewildered robin sits
where orphan grass slumps

Barry G. Wick
March 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018


In my dreams of starless nights
I leave my vacant studio
through anechoic rock hallways
to walk shadowed incomplete streets
that sift their compressed sand
of my hometown with tool-scarred homes
outside to never enter unfinished doors
chiseled signs of nameless business
then turning roughened corners
onto melt-water sidewalks into unrevealed bars
with tasteless alcohol
No Moses in these stones

No matter how much I wish
that place to go away I'm there
in black-mooned dream
this smoked bacheloric memory
No familiar address no home comfort
no place to reshape my dull tools
There the jagged remains
littering the pyrimidine base
of granite mountains buildings and people
carved by my hand each night as I seek
something familiar friendly or loved
upon this faceless Rushmore world

Barry G. Wick

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Foot Voodoo

Herr Doctor
surveys these pink balloons
at the end of my soiled legs
holding oceans
He asks about pills
to make the stream flow
Not from the witch I say
whose hut is
on the same floor
Her magic has not conjured
that option as she dances
around the fire typing
I reveal my failure
since my last visit
to heed his mojo
to couple his ointments
with my lower digits
only twice in seven days
“I'll take it” he grunts
through his oval mask
“Something is better than nothing”
He shakes his rattles
as he clips away the evil
“Four months”
He turns away
in a cloud of sparks and smoke
His footsteps sound strangely
as if the toes of a leper
were falling
into peaceful water

Barry G. Wick

Reading Another Writer's Poem

The words are a jungle to me
To talk to me in my time
leaves and vines must be
hacked away to get to
the writer's hooch
many stanzas from here

There is a thick bark
of experience surrounding
dripping green emotions
Sunlit images rattle around
inside my head
monkeys in the trees

Suddenly the writer appears
ahead on a well-used path
in a golden loincloth
Visible tan lines show
what the sun sees
I am lost in the depth of them

Here I jump from the page
into the clutter of simplicity
Beethoven's page turner
licks fingers for an empty page
I no longer hear the howlers
only Ludwig's memory

I need to read silently
without background radio
This distraction cost me
the possibility of the writer
seeing my arousal then dress me
in his own mystical garment

Barry G. Wick
March 2018

Saturday, March 10, 2018

My Sacred Discovery

A small range of hills
runs through the center
of my hometown
the town where I grew
the hill where I played
the hill was my yard
There was no family right next door
they lived down the hill
and I could hit the roof
of Mrs. Bradski's house
with a rock
I just threw rocks
I soon learned
that throwing rocks
can be more physically painful
than throwing words
It was a lesson
I learned from my brother
The scar is beneath
my right eyebrow

The sand rock
at the top of the hill
is named Hangman's Rock
since the hill is Hangman's Hill
next to Dinosaur Hill
where great cement dinosaurs
sit created in the 1930s
From the top
I could see both sides
of my town
and the roads
that ran through the gap
in the hills
between the two halves

Around me sat the ghosts
of so many who came
before me
to the top of this rock
to sit and gain wisdom
from seeing the prairie
to the east
and the Black Hills
to the west
I was not alone
as I felt
or feel even this day

After school
Mother made me practice
the piano
performing her dream
that I did not choose
instead of baseball
or sitting in silence
Jiddu Krishnamurti says thought
creates gODD
and silence of thought
creates the sacred
Very little was sacred in my life

I learned to please others
and never please myself
except with food
or the vacancy of approval

Hangman's Rock
was once the bottom of a sea
or the shore of that sea
a great sand rock outcropping
certainly older than the cement dinosaurs
that pretended to show history

Sitting on the top of Hangman's Rock
was my connection to history
my connection to the sacred
I won't fully understand
until the moment of my death
when I join the small animals
body upon body
that created the compressed sand

Hangman's Rock
is privately owned
a fence now blocking access
just as so many block access
to Krishnamurti's sacred silence

I give every lonely boy
who became a lonely man
the top of Hangman's Rock
in my last will
because it will be mine
until my last day

Barry G. Wick
February/March 2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

Upon Re-hearing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles

It was 20 years ago today
or more
since I heard
this music
My 66 years old ears
surprised how positive
and hopeful
this sounds.
Sparked by the Viet Nam war years
new recording techniques
a budding culture of self-awareness
wrought by drugs and meditation
Hindu Buddhist Christian
all religions and practices
this diamond joins
Jimi and the Airplane in my heavens

It was a time when youth
sat and listened to music and poetry
instead of dancing
to everything with a good beat
Music was splitting the world
cleaving it into facets
different diamonds for different people

there seems to be nothing positive
that sounds across the world
as bright as this was then
War and the murder of children
drains art into salt shakers
that season this bitter soup
while we wrinkled magicians
search out old rabbits
to revive our crushed top hats
Our moth-eaten capes
stuffed into the holes
where the tears get in
that keeps our minds wondering
where we are all going
without you
without everyone
the strings cut to our kites
that once anchored us
to the sky
now filled with
too many loose diamonds
a cacophony that strangely
appears in a final chord
that never ends
that never ends
that never ends

Barry G. Wick