Thank you to those who support me via my Paypal account: The government doesn't read my poetry. You do. Out of over 400 poems here on this blog by me, I hope you find one or more you like. Thank you for my readers. Thank you for your comments.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Tom the Cobbler

At first the odor
accosts us
It's a small mess
on the inside
of his shop
and in that instant
its reputation is sealed
in the affirmative

Tom can't retire
because he's too busy
fixing shoes
selling shoes
selling everything
needed for shoes
little colored jars
of this or that wax
cans of this or that spray
hundreds of shoes strings
of every variety

This isn't a mall
where neatness counts
Here the only attraction
is Tom himself
with his spectacular
white hair and mustache
What he does
for a new customer
he's never met
someone with a simple fix
he starts on it right away
while the world enters
through the same door
to pick up a purse
that needed a new zipper
a better one
Someone ogles
colored shoes
An old man with a walker
sits near the entrance
unable to get further in
But how does Tom repair shoes
and care for customers
at the same time

The smell is a clue
there's no mistaking it
the elves of the old shoemaker
have taken up residence
to help Tom
in Iowa City

Elves it is said
smell of gingerbread
but careful discernment
inside the nose
picks up notes
of fruitcake
and rum babas
An elf on rum babas
is pitiful
Ask it to resole a shoe
and you're likely
to get a billfold back
Fruitcake munching elves
are mean
sometimes vicious
Tom can't let them
greet customers
They refused to read
by Dale Carnegie
If elves eat gingerbread
they will slobber
all over you expressing
love of mankind
Eyes roll every time

Tom is patient and wise
always watching elves
for the potential
of such a mistake
It's why he's so friendly
with his customers
That way the elves
don't help
in the front
And nobody likes
an elf who paws
and slobbers

Barry G. Wick

Friday, December 16, 2016

Old with Animals

We all see the stories
of old women
who have cats by the bale
that rule every corner
of a uncontrolled house
or the old man
who only leaves his chair
to let the dog out
that grows gray
along with his owner

When the furry face
no longer sits in a lap
or lays its head on a leg
for a scratch on the head
a woman will busy
herself in undone projects
to forget the loss
and a man will pull
a few hairs from his beard
conveniently stuck together
with drops of yoke
to feel the pain of loss
he stifled every day
of manhood

But what of the people
who are allergic
to furry box huggers
or who can't walk
a dog in places
where the dog
must be on a leash
to be in the sun or snow

Even a goldfish
in a bowl or tank
discovered to be floating
by a homebound
elicits tears
that enter a bubbling tank
unnoticed by no one
when in other years
a parent would flush
and replace
before the end day
school bell rang

The little friends
who just breathe
in the same room
keep love alive
when working children
and world-exploring grandchildren
never call and never write

The old call it justice
for the same treatment
they lavished on their family
in days of work and growth
with the stillness of snowfall
seen through blurring eyes

a bored dog's sigh
the flick of a cat tail
the burp in a bubbling tank
reminds those forgotten
that forgetful family
will get theirs
as an evil laugh
races silently through
a graying head

Barry G. Wick

Monday, December 5, 2016


I read my parents' letters
in the light of an oil lamp
that flutters in the evening breeze.
The words cast shadows unexpectedly
over the years back to my mid-teens
when everything I spoke
hurt them as deeply
as my own child
now breaks my illusions.

When just the breath is heard
raking across the tightening walls
of my chest,
all things separate from me
and become the paper-thin seascape
of it:
only the one needed hug
or hand held in this growth
of final silences.

Perhaps the shaken sense I have
of the letters in each word
is not advancing age,
but the apprehension
in their own thoughts
wandering through a mined land
I once planted for them.

Barry G. Wick
written possibly in the late 1980s
unknown date


All clean inside this silence
without audiences creating noises.
The sweep of the landscape
changes with color.
No simple movement, this,
no eyes, no mouth,
no vibration of the threat
or repositioning of the tongue.
This will never light the way
for some young student.
It will become itself
in a drawer with dust
or ashes.

Barry G. Wick
written in May of 1991
recently found in some very old papers

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Stage (for Vice-President-Elect Pence)

Watching an actor
on the boards
for the hoards
is a challenge
to brains that are tame
More often than not
the words and the movement
send a shot of improvement
to someone who's not part
of the plot
If going to the theater
is just to sit back
for nothing to happen inside
it's a waste of space
that playwrights confide
someone in the audience
is slack
Next time the lights
fill a stage with delight
go deeper
than smiles and bone
Let actors and words
sink into your skull
to spark some thought
in a neuron

Barry G. Wick

Thursday, November 17, 2016


I am a computer simulation
written by a student
of programming
in a civilization
that sends bots
to check on our progress
They appear as UFOs
As a simulation
I have to examine
the life given to me
inside a machine
as it relates
to the student
who created me
I failed in math
and had no interest
in numbers
I failed in business
I failed as a pianist
I failed in so many
ways that I'm certain
the student who wrote me
failed the course
And yet I keep running
to keep failing
in the corners of the computer
that hasn't been cleared
of the projects
of the last class
I've even failed as a poet
In my next incarnation
I shall choose
a student who is smarter
at least enough
to get a passing grade
Will someone please
drag me to the trash

Barry G. Wick

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Doors of Nevermore

We know where she was born
We know where she died
beyond that
we're not able to write
an obituary for the newspaper
and what does it matter anyway
that we don't know what she did
what flowers she liked
her favorite walks
with whom she loved
She had no children
No one came to visit
when she went to the nursing home
Her life is a blank
since all her papers were burned
by those who cleaned
the room where she lived
Does anyone remember
Does anyone care
So now a simple grave
on the South Dakota prairie
in a simple wooden box
in the flowered dress she wore
rolling in the wheel chair
through the doors
of nevermore.

Barry G. Wick

Sunday, October 16, 2016

(Less than)140

I try the bed
in gray sheets
hucksters swimming
with what will ease
my life
anyone have sleep
for $19.95 plus shipping

Barry G. Wick

A short break.

I shall not be writing for a while.  This will be a short break.  The next phase will be a new blog.  I think of this blog with it's over 245 poems to be a single book...the audience having made selections of the poems by their approval or never, a disapproval.  Some of these poems have as many as 5 pluses.  It suggests that the people are editors of my work.  Some things they like--some they don't.
The next phase...a country not yet visited.

Friday, September 23, 2016

All Powerful

Sitting on the edge of the bed
looking murder through dark curtains
into the yawn-gaped day
that refuses to burn away
with fire-ray vision
the optometrist informs is real
This is no mere super villain
that limps from bed
through the kitchen to desk
now carrying
the instrument of salvation
It's black handle and toothy blade
ready to dispatch
the globe from Florida
in four strokes to the plate
Five neat pieces
reveal it's delicately strung beads
filled with acidic tears
that burst as jaws begin
their evil ripping
all the way to the rind
This orange begins
to raise the brain through the smoke
of dream-filled cataclysms
The earth is finally safe

Barry G. Wick

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Phlebotomist, Poet, Students, and Teacher

Her smile
her thick-framed glasses
her short black hair
over her dark skin
She's from Sudan
drawing the blood
in an Iowa clinic
telling a poet
he should make money
from his poems

The answer for most
would be yes
hell yes
yes dammit

Poets aren't remembered
for their bank accounts
in a chain of banks
or how much they leave
their families après croak

Just one poem survives
for most who write
It might not be
their best poem

All any poet should want
is to have a junior high kid
ask the teacher in 500 years
they should have to read
this stupid old poem anyway

One day a student will ask
this as the teacher points
to a poem on the glowing screen
It's old English,” she'll say.
Then the teacher will be
beaten and robbed
just minutes before
the third nuclear war

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Montana Love

Believe this is Butte
with a strange poison in the air
Is this going to or coming from
It doesn't matter
there is a YMCA in town
with a pool and shower
The check in is nominal
with a change from streets
to a comfortable suit to swim
A mile down the lane
and its out to sit
There is no one here
but a young man
who watches
who follows this exploration
of empty rooms
to the shower
he stares at places
where things reveal themselves
Simple conversation becomes
the invitation turned away
with wet silence
despite where his eyes
have been
as he hurries away
down the hall
and out the door
A towel drys a questioning head
At the door he is seen
farther down the street

Where is his life now
married or alone
dreaming of a traveling man
in a flowered Speedo
where love in Butte
is always furtive and fearful
This miners' town
of years ago
that turned to energy
when there was energy
to spend a night
embracing him
before that energy
turned into the aches
of older years
farther down western highways
the scenery of orange sundowns
and needy men unrelieved
having never held each other

Barry G. Wick

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Length of the Path

Laying in bed before troubled sleep
returns to surprise in colored dreams
with an impossible story
comes the memories of children's feet
on a hilly forest path to school
surrounded by the brown grass
of a snow-less winter or dry summer
among old pines flagged from wind
at the top of Hangman's Hill
with its beige and pink sandstone

The path returns in the morning
from the house sided in dull red
to the area behind the rock that marks
the top of the hill down the other side
to the road around the corner
or crossing the old witch's land
who yells trespass warnings
before you pass the mayor's house
seeing friends on the playground
playing tag or chasing games

Thousands of hikes to and from the school
where the first polio vaccines
on sugar cubes gave a mother confidence
that what happened to her brother
in an iron lung won't happen to her child
the school where friends would play
and old people voted in the gym
We played war games there of an old world
where real wounds happen bloodless
with loaded sticks or pine cone grenades

The first days of school began at a bowl
of limp cereal in changing seasons
when there were no problems dry or wet
challenging kids more than arithmetic
in a red brick building with gravel playground
Inside dark halls were forgotten brass
plaques to remind forgotten students
of the people who approved money
for the building of this school
and their commitment to learning

All students waited for Saturday mornings
with Mighty Mouse if the family was lucky
to have invisible television radiation
close enough to the towers of two stations
no more silence in the night to read
sitting on the carpet close waiting
for Ed Sullivan to show us Buddy Holly
being told to back up because being close
will ruin the eyes with which we need to read
the books in later times would become irrelevant

All the memories of the path are different
resting quietly inside those kids
who pull them up to wonder about them
or laugh at what was serious to teachers
as some of them came to school
hungry or in torn clothing from shacks
after a night where drunken dad beat mom
or arguments disturbed a darkened bedroom
when children would cry pulling covers
knowing parents could not love

Most of the whispers would disappear
learning the words for tests of memory
with spelling the days when corrections
weren't underlined on a glowing screen
but checked in red by unmarried teachers
who were smart to be single and free
The more we knew from the news
it was mostly that we learned Crest
was tested against other toothpaste
making us 34 per cent better with Fluoristan

Now the commercials are more believable
than the repeated news on some channels
The informative presenters have nothing
and never give us tests they check in red
These news stars of fact also know
what ad agencies say about repetition
So true or not we all live over-informed
near Hangman's Hill's blue pasque flowers
that grow in bunches along the path
enough for teacher enough for mother

Some days we played in school
because the radioactive fallout
was so bad from who knows where
from over the hills from over the seas
There was no understanding this
because it looked the same outside
just as any other day in our town
just as any other week in other seasons
So over the years our parents died
our friends died too of cancer this or that

How many inches of memory
are used to make this message
how much of it lost to chemicals
that we were told was part of better living
As we watch our planet die
with plastic piling up in the oceans
in the guts of birds fish and mammals
oil and gas still rule the lands of earth
only the lies have changed from tigers
in the tank to tanks at the doorsteps

Children and grandchildren show up
in invisible bytes of ones and zeroes
who have murmurs in the heart
disabilities too hard to explain
a need for chemicals to concentrate
all the while teachers no longer
believe it important to check wrongs
on papers turned in to show progress
only that all students should be encouraged
to be there the day of the national test

We wonder now if what we made
was not the world we wanted
just something we tumbled through
in which grandparents rolled before us
in their old clothes the future down-loaders
will laugh at and never really know
what the pictures reveal to be true
that we are just as ignorant of our age
as they were of their making-something-better
that takes the challenges away from some

No one returns to the path on the side of the hill
going back and forth to the red-brick school
to and from the redwood sided house
in a small meadow below the crest
of Hangman's Hill where three horse thieves
ended their lives at the behest of locals
who thought stealing a horse equaled death
just as today when we think just being a child
in a land faraway is worthy of death from the sky
when our path now conflicts with the kings of oil

This path is steep or rocky in places near and far
It's the same path going to and coming from
that has been beneath feet in many shoes
The first paths are always the one that stay
locked into the mind like anchored rocks
This could be anyplace with its varied flora
being picked to take or picked on the way home
It is always the same feet one after the other
So up the steps into the house paths take us
where land is flat or hilly the result is the same

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Old people in their homes
who are unable to leave
are adventuresome rocks
who hope for a great flood
to take them downstream
while they feel like fish
who just escaped a hook

Barry G. Wick


There are names on books
of who edited poems together
by this or that author
the editor sharing a life
that could not possibly
be understood in its entirety
not understood by the readers
who do not breathe
the same air
as the poet walks
in sandals or barefoot
in loafers or heels
The collected dust
on a poet's skin
would show where
the poet walked
but they do not sell
small vials of it
in bookstores
Collected hair
left by balding poets
isn't traded
at the supermarket
Old bills paid
by checks signed
might still exist
but few might collect
Empty bottles or bindles
don't seem to make it
to the auction
The last rays of light
that touched the poet's skin
have been reflected
in light seen or unseen
Exhaled breath
with droplets of moisture
traded to the air
from coursing veins
dissipate among the vegetable stands
on a distant street
in a town unnamed
in every line of poetry
or letter written to a friend
All we have are remnants
of inspiration
that deleted a moment
of awareness of everything
around the poet
long enough
for pen pencil
tapped keys or tapped keyboard
chalk or tip of burnt kindling
to set limited words
spelled in designed letters
of a thousand alphabets
onto something another
might try to comprehend
only to fail
this challenge
of crawling beneath the skin
to live one second
in awe or disgust
of a life for which
we are desperate

Barry G. Wick

Friday, September 2, 2016

Strange Morning

Up earlier than expected
the want to sleep more
the want to make coffee
hot water run for dishes
then the business of health
then the business of bills
as hunger creeps over a tongue

The numbers have been logged
with a late mother's silver pen
or on an aging computer
that was once fast
and now begins to show
how there is a need
for something newer and slick

The body ages quicker
one pill makes this ache go
another makes movement easy
here are these two
that silence the electric feet
another raises some number
that makes a doctor happy

One friend gave a small statue
of the Hindu god Ganesha
the elephant sitting here
all powerful unable to fix
that friend who now lives
his last days confused
with a tumor that eats his brain

The bills create another ache
Morning sun does not bring joy
Its reminder is the passage
of time that cannot be stopped
of failed love and loss
the want to return to night's dreams
where sleepers play unashamed

Barry G. Wick

Friday, August 19, 2016

Summer Haiku

muscled youth labors
on lawns of summer's beauty
as the father snores

Barry G. Wick

Eagles Haiku 2

Eagles rarely laugh
in deference to pine trees'
stoic hysterics

Barry G. Wick

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Life from Memory

it isn't sadness that brings
the past boiling
into the present
because we must
be here now
it is a requirement
of misspent years
to retrain the old head
despite losing memory
in the midst
of forgetting that word
what was that word
oh yeah it doesn't matter
it will come to us
in a minute
do we have a minute
does anybody
the ownership of time
not one second passes
that we do not own
yet they get away
flashing by us
splashing bias
into the waters of time
our commitment
to one thing over another
when we suddenly know
incredible distance
from that now
that something else
was possible
it all could have been
different from what
we think it was
not that it matters
somehow it does
sticking a quick thought
of the past
gluing it to this moment
when all its possibilities
give a second choice
or a third choice
then comes the moment
of its lesson
when we begin to think
about what we choose
in the now
how important it is
how the silver pen
can be cleaned
with aluminum foil
hot water
and baking soda
or the tarnish of time
can be left on it
just like the black
will find us eventually
when there is no
dipping the old
into a new bath
of life

Barry G. Wick

Eagle Haiku

naked on a rock
one eagle soaring above
he started laughing

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Feather Haiku

right or left wing turn
fletching spinner of arrows
wasted glue on birds

Barry G. Wick

The Day in Letters of the Alphabet

how much should be written today
would all of the letters fit here
like bits of rat on the tongue
beans in the pot not a day old
with onion sauce rice tomato seasonings
washed down with cheap tea
spots of day old syrup on a shirt
and a poorly executed sip of tea
leaving it's trail to the floor

some hellish horns blasting old music
that should be recognized
as violins fall to the ground
in a long scale to conclusion
these words could be ziptied
so only those with a clippers
could use them again on their pages
being bogged down for the next hour
waiting for the state to say this house ok

ask for the identification he says
deep inside the gray skull from Dakota
where stacks of buffalo supped grass
a window stuffed with air conditioner
plastic sacks filling the cracks
retard the voice in an idiot's glance
when words molded with rubber bands
squeeze outside their undyed cloth
oh brother save some in your pocket

that ache just lept from the hip
to roll around in the swirling a/c
listening to the bubbling air
in an orange fish tank with goldfish
too soon for another reduction
of opioid goo from the Afghan plains
where ink stains feather into cloth
the one dark spot with several others
from last night's invigorations

sunny skies for a festooned announcer
with aromas strung around the neck
boiled in that pot of beans and rice
to get the words to the page
through the end of the month
otherwise an empty Frigidaire
with Chinese fingerprints of mindlessness
where toothpicks sit atop pill bottles
ready to fall from grace upon the carpet

Barry G. Wick

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Reclining Magician

Behold! The Reclining Magician!
who lays upon his divan
involved this very hour
in a prestidigitation befitting
the greatest of the wizards
sans smoke sans audience
full of gasps and amazements
yelled or spoken under the breath
in a shock so as to make
their jaws drop suddenly
their breathing stops
with one great inhale of regard
knowing full well or even half well
what has just been seen
that exceeds
tops anything
seen before this day
including births and deaths
the topplings of great buildings
the shaking of the universe
the galaxies stunned
their starry pates exploded
clustered brains of primordial goo
having plopped
upon a heavenly ground
waiting for the exhale
that fails to explode for endless time
the invisible audience tumbles
from their floor-bolted seats
upon the sugared floor
gum-stuck fingers
dragging the seats with them
row upon row falling
toward the mystical stage
in bone-crunching silence

The Reclining Magician
puts down his book of spells
tosses his finger-worn implement
an ink-filled wand
of universe-founding creations
as sweat-beaded hands
reach for a damp
wilted towel




blows his nose

Barry G. Wick

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Morning Haiku

three drops of syrup
trees on an open prairie
sweet shade full of birds

Barry G. Wick

(((published as a part of the Johnson County Iowa Poetry in Public Series 2017)))

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

As Night Recedes

The last time dark was seen
rolling over was a dream
then waking as if in the night
life was climbing mountains
while actually living
on the surface of Planet Iowa
in a bed whose peaks
seemed twisted mountains
completely wrung of their trees
by a motherly hand
whose droplets of pine and rock
were felt splashing
into a baby's tub

When eyes opened
there were the covers
roiled into a cotton massif
drenched in frozen sweat
as this bear snored
through his search
for the next patch
of blueberries and moths
in summer hibernation
with windows open
to the sounds of elegant trucks
like steel beads strung
around the wrinkled neck
of earth in upheaval

Barry G. Wick

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Evidence of Simplicity

My awakening this morning
more cloudy than usual
Little habits move quickly
though the day's beginnings
This pill with that water
That button on this screen

I learn this day's anniversaries
the tiny celebrations
that make some people
smile or cry
then the first food
with the second pills

Reaching for a pen
logging this day's first news
putting a brace on the left wrist
as surveys of a work area
look for changes
mice spiders or ghosts made

Plans for simple tasks
where to go and how
when to move the now
The mail will be there
it's not going away
like my going to get it

This push through air
the unseen clouds of Iowa
move out of my way
only to discover
I am just a branch
moved sideways in a breeze

Barry G. Wick

Saturday, July 23, 2016


for Kent Stevens by request

There were things called records I do believe,
they stayed all day in a cardboard sleeve.
We pulled them out to make them play,
so music could make the room full sway.
Then video recorders came to stay,
years went by they went away.
I don't know what comes out next,
its going away will have me vext.
Better to save your dollars dear,
than lose them to a fad this year.
Flowers and trees are next, I'm told,
people now think they're just too old.
Losing their bid are air and water
to stay with us, I think they ought'r.
Earth is tired of humans we know
since heat is rising with a very hot blow.
Though never you fear of sun and heat
for everything some day becomes obsolete.

Barry G. Wick

((one of my rare rhyming poems, usually on light themes.))

Friday, July 22, 2016


Perhaps they kept crayon in the lines
their cartoon hero Mighty Mouse 
with his red cape and speedo
with yellow tights
right fist in the air
as they dream about the streets
where they save the birds from cats
Then there are the colored lights
racing through a dark city
attracting moths that fly
around the driveways
on top of their black and whites
Later in the bar with their loud spouts
taunting their fellows with jokes
or experience of the people
they've collared but not collars
steel bands and chains
that their victims see as
remnants of the days of slavery
only it's a new master
that keeps them in their neighborhood
with rifled barrel and clubs
It's still “nigger” town to some
in whatever city they prowl
who never experienced
the music of the Duke Count or Marsalis
the words of Hughes or Baldwin Giovanni
or the art of Basqiat
and photos of Parks
who never heard of this or that massacre
Rosewood or Tulsa
less than a hundred years ago
when Jim Crow was the law
Jim Beam is a policeman's blood
and kids didn't mix in schools
much to the loss of the entire population
where respect never crosses into empty hearts
when the boiling streets beg the question
from a black therapist helping an autistic patient
away from the safety of the building
who follows every command yet wonders
“Sir, why did you shoot me?”
and the answer is only
“I don't know.”

Welcome to the town near a reservation
a word that sounds like your suite
at a tall brick hotel in the hill-lined city
filled with beautiful furniture and high tea at four
where the school system rids itself
of the “injun” counselor
who managed to keep the Lakota boys in school
or the girls from hanging themselves
in their well-appointed suites
provided by their reservations
somehow eight people manage
to drown in the small creek
ruled accidents and suicides
where one witness says
she saw someone roll a body
into that creek
the witness ignored
or shootings are justified as
suicide by cop
he lunged
with a kitchen knife
The officer who just happen
to forget his less than lethal tools
where the white officers
stay away from the wacipi
at the civic center
because they know they're
not welcome
because they don't understand
the questions raised
by people whose great-grandparents
were shot down at the Knee
loved ones buried in a trench
by soldiers awarded
Congressional Medals of Honor
Is there honor in slaughter
again the question
“Why did you shoot me?”
and the answer is only
“I don't know.”

A uniform can be worn to infect
or it can be traded away
for membership
in a community to protect

Barry G. Wick

Monday, July 18, 2016

Mother at the End of the Line

Her afternoon begins
with a long shower
she's still able to accomplish
The towels have been warmed
above a heated register
Their first touch to skin
reminds her of another touch
someone who once loved her
The next hour is for her hair
brushing and combing
getting it just right
creating the bun in the back
she always wore
but today seems important
that she spend some extra time
to get every hair in its place
Her glasses help her eyes
stare into a magnifying mirror
on a stand by the sink
as she applies her makeup
Her eyebrow pencil
needs to be sharpened
and she calls for it to be
just so
Foundation lipstick eyeliner
all placed with extra care
Then one final look
though her thick glasses
as she puts on her rings
that sat in the cloisonné dish
on the right of the sink
Next her finest black pants suit
with the fringe on the sleeves
the zipper on the back
of the shirt
Again she calls for help
Sitting on the edge
of her large king size bed
where she sleeps on the side
she's slept on for years
one leg at a time
her wrinkled legs
enter each column of crepe
much as an actress
gets ready for her close-up
She directs the helping hands
to reach into the top drawer
of a walnut Karges dresser
to find the gold bangles
for her arms
the green silk scarf
for her neck
then to reach
into the bottom drawer
for the thick round green
bangles for her ankles

“My black heels, please.”

The first thought begins
to form that something
is not right

“Are they arriving yet?”
she asks.
“Who, Mother?” you reply
“Why, my guests, of course.”
“What guests?”
“For the party.”

There is no party
and hasn't been for years
It's just another night
after long nights
when you sit with her
eating dinner in front
of the television
changing channels
to her favorite shows

There is no party for Mother
“There is no party,” you say
Her face betrays a micro-shock

Her mouth opens
as her face turns sad
from the excited anticipation
of the entire day
as tears well in her eyes
“Then bring me my slippers.”

The “stars” dance
on a glowing screen
just for Mother
at her party

at her party
at the end of the line

Barry G. Wick

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Halloween 1973

The knock on the door
It's Harold Simon
Harold gives me some acid
He invites me to his party
just blocks over
from where I lived
take this
come to my party later
as I put the small piece of paper
on my tongue
Harold leaves
I shut the door

I sit down to wait
but in a little while
I look at the sunset
as a Roman Trireme rows
across the orange sunset
west of Pullman

It's time for Harold's party
a swift walk across the hill
to a shabby house
Harold lives upstairs
I knock
A beautiful gypsy woman
answers the door
Harold wears a magician's robe
and pointed hat covered
in tin foil
his head is covered in tiny mirrors

Sharat Chandra holds the crowd
from his comfy corner chair
as I sit on the floor listening
and for the first time
I understand poetry

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Stars

In the dark away from cities
be drawn to the stars
like grandparents before
who stared from grassy knolls
their back caressed by earth
All dreams begin with stars
winding their lives like clocks
until the key to time is lost

Dreams that begin with stars
shave with diamond shards
so no hair of thought
extends beyond the face of it
Each dream is smooth
for itself and another
just as a lover's pinch
is drawn to smooth skin

The dream for peace
does not reach beyond itself
but remains pure of heart
The dream for love
has no further shore to settle
The dream for knowledge
travels through the universe
with an invisible ship and sail

Hold these dreams close
for they appear bright ghosts
as sunlight fades from day
These molten shadows of hope
retain all that came before
enclosed in their wispy shells
true for all the ages
as they fly through the dark

Barry G. Wick

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Roller Coaster

It became my Mother's home
on Rapid Creek up the hill
on nine miles of two lane
from where her condo
had been destroyed
by the great flood
down canyons
It had been
lightly flooded
but the old couple
who had lived there
decided to move away
rather than risk another
Mother was brave that way

The house came to me
at the end of her life
as she lay in a bed
at a town home
where nurses
could do little
with her swallow
all wrong and gagging
food and water impossible
to take in at her advanced age

It all was sold to pay the bills
furniture and everything
gone in an auction
and I slept
on the floor
of that house
until two weeks
before it quickly sold

An empty house yields
its darkest secrets
wall cracks
all you movers
there is no one to move

Barry G. Wick

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Last Embrace

(for Juan Ramon Guerrero and Christopher “Drew” Leinonen)

It wasn't planned this way.
Families were to be invited.
Flowers, cake, and all
chosen to make the day
so special for them
and for everyone they knew.

No one can predict rain.
Clouds sneak in to skies
to play dark games.
It is the same with people.
Some people are so dark
they cannot share in love.

While sharing their love
with friends, the clouds came
when light changed to dark
for one and then the other.
The last embrace unplanned
kissing their crimson altar.

Barry G. Wick

Friday, June 10, 2016

Sounds: Part II

Within a thousand yards
of Interstate 80
the mechanized music
of mankind and money

Late at night
when local noise is gone
motors and tires
sing to each other
as lovers might
sweetly squeal
arching in ecstasy

The thump of a gap
between a bridge
and the highway creates
an irregular drum beat
as a concrete hand
strums the belted radials

Diving in and out
the bass notes
from truck engines
delivering the reefers
along side flat beds
their steel passengers
lulled to sleep until
the announced destination

Empty aluminum boxes
full of internal echoes
appear and disappear
full of Doppler poetry
spoken as if
their poets are born and die
within universal seconds
They are victims
of the cruel dictators
from time and space

These blended notes
form symphonic manuscripts
inside the tired mind
as the open window
allows its conductor
to gently fall asleep
dreaming of the sounds
of love and loss
pain and pleasure
joy and jealousy

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Surrounded by
sounds of a Tuesday.

a mower rattles
across a corner of concrete
bringing control
to the ever disturbing grass
that threatens civility.

the air conditioning
keeps the Iowa heat and humidity
at bay,
and we mustn't have anything
out of the bay.

A pleasant Bach Sarabande
tries so desperately to compete
with all this machinery,
as a squeak
from a challenged office chair
complains the words aren't flowing
fast enough to satisfy it.

Perhaps these sounds
are all critics:

“You'll never be loud
enough to quell a mower!”

“Your mind won't be cool
if you argue
with your air conditioner!”

“Dichter sind die lauteste Publikum!”
screams Herr Bach
from his peaceful tomb.

And finally from my office chair,
“You're fat!”

Barry G. Wick

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Poet's Photo

That gasbag
Dumbforbrains Thunderjaws
runs for office

If IT wins
all the poets who wrote
unkind "nerd mcwords"
about IT
will be rounded up
for their police photos
much like
the NKVD photo
(Народный комиссариат внутренних дел)
of Osip Mandelstam
who displeased
Uncle Joe in Russia
Two different sets
of smug
and resistance laden images
attaboy Osip

I hope I'll be arrested
for my poetry
because I can think
of nothing more lasting
than the photo of a poet
charged with poetry
just before he or she
went into the mashamatic
or perished in the gulag

Such a cover
for the collected poems
there never was
that should sell
for years beyond years

It's very hard to get arrested
for writing anything
in the United States
One must threaten
great bodily harm
Since I'm non-violent
in a physical sense
I shall poetically do
the only action possible

I intend to commit poetry
on Dumbforbrains Thunderjaws

I shall
eviscerate verbiage
reposition prepositions
adjudicate adjectives
assault adverbs
confront conjunctions
neutralize nouns
plunder pronouns
injure interjections
detonate determiners

I shall sabotage any badinage
I shall devastate the dictates
I shall disarm discussion
I shall detonate debate

I am prepared to suffer
every poetic act
for the want
of a police photo
with my name and numbers

The headline shall read

I shall serve my time with dignity

Barry G. Wick

(To support and defend writers in prison
please visit the website of
Pen International
who does exceptional work
to alert the world when
writers of conscience
are attacked and in trouble

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Loneliness: a primer for training

There are trainers
who teach being alone
It starts at an early age
with something
as simple as piano lessons
age four comes to mind
which is much too early

Then the house has to be
far enough away from others
few children in the neighborhood
a long walk to school alone
through a forest
filled with dark imaginings
and an older sibling
who races ahead
so as not to be seen
with the intended loner

The parents must be aloof
from each other
only talk of business
no kisses or hugging allowed
of each other or the children
These are must-obey rules

Be sure to find fault
with the child
when it can barely understand
the language of fault
A spanking will set
invisible marks
Instead of laughing off
the childhood foibles
everything must be serious
This also makes the child dependent
when praise is given
usually in excess

Be sure to overfeed
The child will learn
that food is reward
instead of project accomplishment
Eating will occur
in the dark hours
when everyone else is in bed
Eventually all meals
will seem normal
when eaten alone

Be certain the mother
drags the child to her
social events or shopping
so the child just stands around
waiting on the next place
to stand alone
The backseat
is a loner's kingdom

As the child grows
make it do things it doesn't
want to do
and be certain
to deny it all the things
it wants to do
Make excuses
The hands will be hurt”

Shop for and buy
clothes and shoes
almost every day of the year
The child
gets nothing it wants
except for
one day of the year
before school starts
This will establish
the child's unimportance
and the parent's totality

Be sure to establish
a sibling rivalry
so that one child
gets more than the other
The choice of what
does not belong to the child
but to the parent

As the years go by
the child will remain a child
and won't know
how to be tender
how to be loving
all relationships will fail
all friendships will have distance
all beginnings will end
All endings will be painful
since the child has been
trained not to understand
the normal course of relationships
As the child grows older
there will no longer be attempts
to start or rekindle relationships
Deaths will be unimportant
Tears will never flow
The trainer won't be mourned
except in darkness
when the child is alone
always alone

The loner's children
if there are any
will figure out what happened
late in life
as loneliness training
is quite possibly genetic

This is the success
all loneliness trainers
expect to achieve

Barry G. Wick