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Thank you to those who support me via my Paypal account: rikwrybac@yahoo.com. The government doesn't read my poetry. You do. Out of over 370 poems here on this blog by me, I hope you find one or more you like.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Shape of States


The Shape of States

I have decided to write a poem
in the shape of an unknown state
I thought first it should be Louisiana
but since I can't remember
if I've ever been there
if would be foolish to write something
about a place I know nothing about
So that is the origin of my unknown state
It's a place where nobody lives
until some government official
decides to draw a map
then places it's unnamed capital
near yet created rivers and transportation
and decides what resources
will make this state wealthy
so he or she can reap the rewards
of graft and personal investment
This state is to be named after some
yet to be discovered native tribe
with a history of dancing on full moons
wearing red berry-stained loincloths
woven from Morvopinus Tree bark
Again a tree created by government
biologists and insane foresters
with a grudge since the juice
of this particular berry stings
Yes the native do wild dances
As the roads and cities of this state
begin to take shape
we are reminded that place names
usually come from the distinguished names
of citizens who either gave away their lives
or raped someone or something
for personal gain
Arguments ensue between groups
of this state's yet to be politicians
An entire politically correct system
develops from almost nothing important
the bubbles spit by fish
chicken phlegm
dust from the tops of pianos
I then realized that this fictitious state
was probably like South Dakota
the state in which I grew
from tadpole in mother's stomach
to uninterested adult
It only makes sense to dismiss
this project entirely
It's all been done before
and wasted like all political argument
The sun shines on this unknown place
Birds sing Gershwin here
Cows fart Cole Porter
I guess we should be thankful
nobody else lives there
as I am its only resident
The budget for state aid to education
is enormous just like South Dakota

Barry G. Wick



Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Same Morning


The Same Morning

It always begins
with the end of a dream
I've never had

I lay on my back
perched like an extinct bird
flapping the lids of my eyes
just fast enough
to rise above the jungle
of sheets and pillows

I am no longer pretty
in my orange breechcloth
which I straighten
before standing to grab
the handles of the walker
that steadies me
for the travels through light

I mutter simple prayers
of gratitude and hope
I know I will die
It is this knowledge of death
that replaces the foolish youth
that sometimes returns
inside me
someone willing to make
the same mistakes
I gave up years ago

I move through the tight spaces
that limit my trek
around this simple house

Will the particle board
furniture finally sprout a tree
Will the radio announcers
stop in their scripts
to take a moment to hold my hand
All things are possible
when the sun speaks
to the one plant I nurture

I spread myself upon the couch
a weird potentate
searching for a t-shirt
the only wealth I seek
to give me comfort

Through the veils
that cover my windows
others are known to me
by the sounds of their automobiles
or the barking of their dogs
People should bark
their morning greetings
to the world
It would change the sameness
of intractable hours
that silently begin
in a yawn or a stretch

Behold
I yelp my greeting
I sniff at the world's butt
hoping I won't get dragged away
by the leash that binds me to heaven


Barry G. Wick


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Winter Haiku


Winter Haiku

Winter's sudden fright
Curled oak leaves wind-blown down
Spiders crawl on snow



Barry G. Wick

I Am A Monk


I Am A Monk
(for my children who are confounded by their father)

Be still with me....you know where I am...keep breathing...”--Imogen Heap

I am a monk
without chanting sutras,
without simple robes,
or affectatious langot.
There is no exact word
to describe the faith
I practice. Some are close.
Ranjung sangay?
The self-enlightened?
Pratyekabuddha?
The path of self-enlightenment?
I would be a poor choice
for such great words.
My study wat
is an old trailer
where I cannot kneel,
where there are no devotees
to help with my simple needs.
There are no attachments
or so I think
as I examine everything within
or attempt to suspend the world.
Unlike a real monk
I cannot walk my city with a bowl;
I need and sometimes carry money.
In this obsessed society
it is not begging to accept money
since cooked rice and vegetables
rarely come or survive in the mail.
Those who give to me
practice their faith in generosity
and reveal truth in charity.
For the few who serve me
I give what I simply can:
a poem,
a caring ear,
a kind word,
my time,
confused attempts at love,
a smile.
I wasn't always on this path.
It would be impossible
to explain my life to others:
the silence of selflessness,
the study of what's inside,
the walk inside a cage.
I fail every day to match ideals
of monks around the world.
I do aspire to a higher way;
to answers that complete me.
I claim no awareness or
enlightenment.
Normal clothing will cover me.
It's not important for others
to recognize me by my exterior.
Many will judge me
with or without robes
and the trappings of a religious.
As a teen,
I once told my mother
I wanted to live in a monastery;
the undiscovered truth I later found
was to get away from her.
Not being Catholic, Thai Buddhist,
our own Congregational Christianity,
some other religious group
with monasteries, I never
found pantheists who share
in communities. Some may exist.
My back on a lawn
in the starlit dark of night
is a way for me
to partially glimpse gODD.
I have achieved the basic
requirements of such a life
without the company of
other monks.
I contemplate and pray.
I read lessons that come
or are presented before me.
I learn from everything
what it is to live striving
for an ideal I'll never achieve.
My monk's name
was given to me by my parents
and those who came before me.
Out of respect for their paths,
right or wrong,
I now keep the name
in reverence for their sacrifices
that put me here,
unable to walk the road
or to visit those who need me
in my advanced years.
My service is simple
without desires for fame or wealth.
What I create is free.
What I take comes freely to me.
I spent much of my previous life
failing at everything I touched.
I was greedy, egotistic, glutinous,
foolish, caddish, and more.
I am accepting now
that I've found where I belong.
I am alone;
with or without
friends and family,
sitting with my experiences.
While I listen for a priest
ringing a bell,
here it becomes birdsong,
squirrel chatter,
wind rippling the metal roof,
the frozen noises
of the siding that complains,
falling icicles, thunder, rain,
voices in a dream or on radio,
music of every student,
even the professional ones.
All sounds come from gODD
in a vast spectrum of the visible
and invisible.
Sometimes a person becomes
what they once thought they
wanted to be and never expected.
I am a monk.

Barry G. Wick



The Shadows


The Shadows

I stare at the morning from the window
to the snow. The shadows of branches
demonstrate the measures of music.

With reverence. gray fingers play slow
notes of an organ from a star to recreate
the keys caressed by Cameron Carpenter.

Barry G. Wick

For Poet Nanny Gunderson


For Poet Nanny Gunderson

Mother told me about your
pacing the house in Vermillion,
picking words out of the air
as if they were flying to you.

Then you'd speak with your mother
in Norwegian and her blindness
in a silent room with her knitting
that you'd pull apart every day.

I don't float through a dictionary.
A few useful words stream
through the ice striped window
while snowplows bank the useless.

We are all blind in our rooms
knitting some sense to our lives
with gODD pulling things apart
each night for our next day.

Barry G. Wick


Night Travels


Night Travels

I wash clothes
in a small room
that was coupled
to my childhood
I compliment the new owner
on the white cupboards
that I don't remember
from years ago
Back and forth
from the patio
to the kitchen entry
I see the two dogs
who meant the most to me
the white Great Pyrenees
and the St. Bernard
who hangs around my leg
begging for the touch
I give him in these clouds
I go no further inside
and make a call
to the Frenchman
who lived with us
after his years fighting
in Algeria
I hear his voice
saying that he can't stay
on the line for long
when an insistent woman
calls my name
in a tone that wakes me
and I'm left with the feeling
I shall be here again


Barry G. Wick

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Silence


Silence

I love communication
with silence
It says so much more than
the flicker of lips
in candlelight
It's especially useful at a distance

The planets and stars
told humanity
truth with it
Wives and angry friends
use it frequently
After one extended silence
a person knows exactly where
the switches are
since darkness surpasses
even a wordless dream
Any query brings
the dreaded
“If you don't know...”


It is not gold
because gold will purchase
all the chatter
anyone can stand
at the end of your arm
staring into the noisy abyss
A length of rope with which
to hang oneself
brings on
the kind of noiselessness
we are all applying for
at the moment
of our first wail
Return us to a heartbeat
it says
or less
much less

We only have to wait
much too long
through interminable
meetings and industry
best left for the deaf
How I envy them
some days
With deafness
all say the same nothings
the hearing can't understand
those useful hand gestures
one has to learn
in order to
get yelled at
Imagine a world
where the numbers of hearing
and deaf are reversed
There would be no mufflers
on engines
There would be contempt
for musicians with no support
for concert halls and orchestras
who performed badly


With silence
we know where we stand
at the center
of a great city
a nothing
a nobody
a zero point zero

Chopin or Led Zeppelin
will lead you away
from your own creations
Something as small
as a poem
is a noise
with which to rend
all others
with bombs in their heads

See?
I am the king of crash
the wandering boom
from whom you flee
Only the ice that
falls from the eves
into a drift
is the Aztec knife
ripping open my chest
sending me where
even friends want
me to be silent

Silence is my destination
all I ever knew
all I ever will know
will be lost in its library
Here is my ticket
to an empty shelf
no one will dust
My silent cough
attests to its reality
its gold-less beaches
filled with unknown beauty
illuminated by a cold sun
on a tumbling rock
that watches itself slow
as the light recedes
across its expanding years
which cannot count themselves

Barry G. Wick




Friday, January 25, 2019

Age


Age

I'm old enough
to have failed more times
than I succeeded
yet
I believe I'm a success
It's the little lie I tell myself
to keep me going

I made it to old age
despite narrow escapes
in car accidents
a few infections and surgeries
thoughts of suicide
the triple icebergs
of stupidity ego and asininity
using the same washed pots
dishes glasses stainless ware
everyday

The occasional runny egg
drips into my beard
or onto my shirt
A needed vacuum
of every room
is delayed just as
a change of sheets
I made it to my mess
in which I think I live
with no one but gODD
to keep me company
He she or they listen

I made it to the age
where I have a separate
briefcase for my medicine
and a small box
filled with supplies
for testing my
well you know
that stuff that runs
through my heart
I learned
that mentioning it
is a turn-off for readers
Some people wonder
if I have a heart
I'm old enough
to have a crowd behind me
that wonders that very thing
but they don't come to visit
or phone me to yell
or write letters with threats

I'm old enough to wish
I had one person
a loving person really
to look cross at me
over breakfast
because I didn't kiss
them first thing
or help with laundry
It's all just me and my years
full of memory and regret
There are no comforts

I'm old enough to have
odd habits and old clothing
knees bad enough to walk
inside a cage
that little portable prison
with bars between me
and anybody who could
love me enough
to sleep next to
a gray old man
with a beard full
of crumbs and egg
Living in a mobile home
ain't like living in sin

I've made it
I'm a success
in my loneliness
just happy to see
a spider has woven
a new web

Barry G. Wick


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

First Thoughts


First Thoughts

The ice of mornings
separate a prison of dreams
from a word
planted in my mind
The fire of my life has been
a series of mistakes
in blackened rows
leaving me a field of ash
awake to cultivate more


Barry G. Wick