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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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Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Plague at the Sink

A Plague at the Sink

Humans are not
without their diseases
Some physical maladies
have their inoculations
for prevention
some have other medical cures
or none at all
The disease of old age
has no cure
There is no hindrance
to the advance of time
Its toxicity is memory
of ingratitudes
and wrongs against others
The symptoms rage
in the lonely darkness
with no physical pains
It is the soul set afire
No matter how deep
our head sinks in prayer
for forgiveness
the flames lick at us
with their raspy tongues
raking each moment
as if we'd been fed
through a grater
Creation is a temporary salve
music
art
poetry
nature
a change in how
we treat others
making amends
where possible
These reduce
the terrors
as dishes are washed in the sink

Barry G. Wick

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Death of Poetry


The Death of Poetry

Oh yes poetry is dying
and you will say to me
that new poets are arising
from many directions
Rappers and song writers
children writing in schools
and the always lonely and lovesick
teenagers who ache for love
old men and women
who have seen too much
and know things that will
be forgotten or must be written

Again the age conspires
to turn itself gray
a dead body unwashed
and prepared for final burial
Yes there are many who oppose
this change of colors to one
Poetry is violent
a product of injustice
a creation for those
with starved thought
Poetry is an empty mouth
a cell with bars opened wide
that chews the tough to soft
The swallow becomes
an upset stomach
that vomits a need for change
Once poetry charged the soul
to give generations
a reason to live and create
Now the unseen fills
batteries in phones
with clues to neutral colors
no one can unravel

For the reader poetry may live
but think of all the poets
who will never be read again
the ones who write in desperation
burying their scribbles
in the electronic graveyards
forgotten in unmarked
digital graves
Oh yes poetry is dying
as it always has
day by day
hour by hour
resurrected only by the needy
who discover shadows
in the corners of their lives
where the flash of words
may bring the moment
into focus like a famous photo
Keep searching
through the unfinished headstones
for poetry that has died
Some is being buried today
Mourn with others at the open hole
that is deeper by the second

Barry G. Wick




Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Raisins with a Spoon (for Tyler Luetkenhans)

Raisins with a Spoon  (for Tyler Luetkenhans)

Cold from the fridge
with a tepid spoon
Raisins stick to my teeth
I fill my mouth
with this sticky fruit
some deep in my cheeks
All this sweetness
like being among the creative
at a evening for image and sound
I taste that night still
sounds sneaking from my ears
to my mouth
image draining from my eyes
down my face to my beard
where my tongue licks
the visions that close my lids
to widen my smile that drools
color line and word across my lips
This sweetness of my dessert tonight
recalls so much of those five hours
that seem as if I were transported
This spiritual boost
brings tears to my eyes
the kindness of young friend
my amazement at his pallet
which explodes deep in memory
as if fuses were lit on raisins
sending rainbows in every direction

Barry G. Wick

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Foreign Elations


Foreign Elations

In Russia's arms doth Donald lay,
Putin's hands clutching clay.
All thoughts from Vlad come this day,
His forming hands this world doth prey.
When day is done his breath is still,
Having sculpture be his will.
Now troops in Caracas bold,
Traded for that country's gold.
Donald says zero to this play,
For he can't lead this nation's way.
Korea, too, is mocking high,
“Insipid Donald!” our nation's cry.

Barry G. Wick

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Under the Home Sky


Under the Home Sky

Years of distance
miles of time
My eyes cloud
thinking of the stars
that send photonic dreams
though my memories
of the hills and prairies
in the dark
where variable lights
blink my next lives
among them
I have not achieved
Buddha's goal
so expectations
of future lives protect
me with hope
the next arm's reach
will send me to them

Barry G. Wick

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Little Boy


Little Boy

I want to be the little boy
clopping along in yellow
rubber soled shoes
that will never wear out
following his mother and brother
into the library
with eyes of wonder
shy of three foot tall
His neat blond hair
combed with a part
in a gray hoodie
He's ready for the rest
of his life
if they'll let him
in the world to which
he was born

Leaders don't want him to live
to be his own man
They want him a slave
to their corporate greed
their pollution
that poisons his milk
that diddles with his DNA

I want to see him grow
for himself and not
for the world's owners
who don't know he exists
other than to use him
He won't see
the forests and meadows
I have seen
because these will be
just rock and sand

March on boy
go into the future
where hate will consume
the entire world
Fear will run through streets
carrying torches and guns
Bombs will explode
The books mother will read
to you
will be burned
Little boys in rubber-soled shoes
will turn to mush
to feed rats and worms
I'm lost in this vision
of your future
I'll never see
My grandchildren will
save you and others
It's their job now


Barry G. Wick


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

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Omnivore


Omnivore

Ich habe angst
for an Angus
who provided
the rib-eye steak
I cooked
along with baked potatoes
petits pois
(that's little peas
in that Frenchy lingo)
with everything swimming
in butter
which means I likely
violated some Old Testament law
Ah, but I'm not Jewish
in fact, I'm as religious
as a post...post something
post this or post that
Vegans and vegetarians
will hate me
Cattle will fart at me
and make global warming
worse for my fellow humans
Peas scream when I pass their field
Shove my pod up your ass” they say
Potatoes are just plain stupid
which makes their caring impossible
still
I thought I heard a faint scream
when I mashed them with my fork
and salted
everything on my plate

With blood pressure rising
by the minute
I chew slowly and deliberately
since this is the first steak
I've eaten in Iowa
in five years
I'm sorry Iowa Beef Producers
I'm really poor
and some Senator or Representative
in Washington
will scream that I used
my S.N.A.P. Benefits
for expensive things
Nope
A surprise check
from a Rural Electric Association
ownership retirement
came
bringing tidings
of great joy
Angus beef
and the depth
of understanding
of my habits as an omnivore
Praise beef from whom all
blessings and juices
topped with butter ad nauseum
flow
on the plate
down my chin
on my shirt
whereupon my shirt
even tasted beefy
enough to make me think
I could eat the shirt off my back
which I won't wash
so that I could drool
first thing in the morning

Praise be to Drool
in whose image
we are all created

Barry G. Wick


Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Visit with My Father

A Visit with My Father

The legs are slower
covered in support socks
that turn his white legs beige.
His hands are a varied mass
of liver spots and wrinkled skin.
On this face a bump or two
looks to be new from the last time
we talked four years ago.
His obvious pride for the brother
who stepped into his professional shoes
no longer strips me of myself.

Father, the song still plays
even though you're tone def,
never could sing all that well,
we'll manage not to follow you.
There's nothing we can do
from day to day to stop the fate
we felt at the grave of your parents.
You said you didn't like graveyards
We didn't linger long to say goodbye
it was our private moment
for me to say I'll watch over them.

Did we talk of my children?
Not one word.  There's no reason to open
that kettle long since boiled away
And did we talk of my mother
in whom part of you is still in love
and long since departed from the scene
enough to say she was fine,
though age begins to tell on her
and every pill doesn't do her well.
Here I am the walking love
you had one early spring evening
in a Dakota blizzard run wild in '51
So did you not expect a howl from me?
I'm full of them and more to come.


Barry G. Wick  (written in July of 1995