Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Poems, by Christopher Barnes.



Once the summons is correctly issued, you can only stop the proceedings by paying us in full.  We must receive this payment before the date of the court hearing.  Cheques with a future date on will not stop the hearing taking place and will not prevent us adding costs to the amount you owe if they are dated after the date of the hearing.


  The suited ones
  Have the force of inertia.
  If ever notice is lawlike
  ‘No’ is not an answer
  The kitty’s our gain
  As trailbreakers to I swears and bibles.
  Signed orders in the offing dated late
  For love nor money
  Won’t put aside
  Your dock and disbursal.

You will find details about methods of payment on the back of the summons.

  To go ahead turn over, this leaf.


  Your dreams could come true...if you win the’ll receive at least a share of the bonus £2 million prize.  So don’t just dream it, do it – get your entry in today.
  The chuckleheaded torments of Tantalus
  We’ll vie with.
  If you gross out the pot-shot
  You’ll shakedown a moiety
  Of Avalon-tossed booty.
  Headswirl, no fumes of fancy
  Buy in – two six.


The information you gave on your form about your tenancy and the amount of rent you pay has been referred to the Rent Officer.  He acts on behalf of the Government and is responsible for deciding a maximum rent for your property which the Council can use for Housing Benefit purposes.  THIS DOES NOT AFFECT THE RENT AGREEMENT YOU HAVE WITH YOUR LANDLORD.  In reaching this decision he also takes other things into account including the size of your accommodation or if you are single and under 25 years of age with dependants.
  Particulars descended to
  as the penetralia of your dossing slum
  are marched to our Trust,
  number-crunched for the Government.
  We’re obliged to lay down
  a headmost pennyworth for Common Row.
  Your proprietrix winds her finger
  with you.  Us?  Not so.
  Mansional or scant?
  Are you footloose, a tickle-tease,
  bratless and young
The Authority has a limited budget for discretionary payments in exceptional circumstances.  If you feel that any rent restriction is causing you exceptional hardship, please supply us with details of your current situation.
  Our pinchfists are talked-of,
  offset we could vouchsafe a dole out
  in exorbitant incidence
  or Queer Street
 — the low-down.



  By making Fairtrade your habit, you are having a direct impact on the lives of farmers and workers in the developing world.
  Being fussily faithful to Fairtrade
  You shake hands on a square-dealing by-product
  For farmplace harrowers
  And subassemblers of the barehanded world.

Spread the word!  Order our event pack and > organise an information stand at your office, local shopping centre, supermarket, school or university > send a postcard to a friend > put up a poster in an eye-catching location > hand out leaflets to shoppers.
  Hail!  Finger our irreducible content
  Affiliate, trade fair,
  In sweater shop or street academy.
  Toss the head,
  Redress off-balanced hoardings
  Sticker the purses of browsers

 Since we last wrote to you, our partners have extended their product range in response to feedback about the type of assistance that customers would value in a plumbing or drainage emergency.
  Our count-rate meter notes
  We once lettercarded you.
  Our teammates
  Just jumped up their sidelines
  Of the multiple-feed voter-preference survey
  On what you’d requisite
  In a fittings of flowoff pitfall.

  This means you can now pick and choose a more personalised solution that suits your individual plumbing and drainage needs.
  Self-style a keynote working-out
  For tailored pipe wrenching.

If you are mostly concerned about being completely without water as a result of a leak or a burst to your water supply pipe, you can take our Water Supply Pipe Cover* just for this pipe to ensure you aren’t left stranded in an emergency.
  Are you fretting to harbour the idea
  Of drawing dry
  Answerable to a trickle
  Or a get-loose plug?
  First-option Water Supply Pipe Cover* -
  You won’t get shipwrecked on Rocking Tap Beach.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign supports the struggle for the Palestinian people for self-determination.  PSC believes Palestinians have a right – enshrined under international law – to return to their own towns, villages and land.
  Salt-sea, sand.  They rubble rumble
  For take-issue burdens
  And we
  Are not wilderness manna full stop.
  For their say-so is global, legal.
  Redeemable is Homesh, Nablus and shoresides.

Since September 2000 the situation has drastically deteriorated.  Israel has imposed draconian collective punishment measures on the Palestinian population, who exist under a state of siege with civilian areas under attack from tanks and helicopter gunships.  Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and tens of thousands injured.
  “A beauty chased by tragic laughter”,
  As Masefield called cheating death,
  Scorched earth, Caterpillar logos
  Chopper shot kids, blood and fire.



Style Factory


The sky was littered
With spectacular moon-glitter

God, not long dead, shrunk into parody
A Napoleon among Presidents

From the Style Factory
A great idea was given shape

Mods and children posed
In its cup, secure and playful

The tan weave swam like sound-waves
Creaking plastic space-stretches

Mama Cass sunned it
With her quaking daisy summer voice

The years were good, it returned to be loved
As part of each orbit

Now I have it, and feel the ripples
Through a Beau Brummel suit

It is an amazing Sputnik

Its lines are clear
Visible through prisms furnished for light

Twig-people tested their angles
Their dreams in material 3d

To some
It was only a chair



Summer 1924


Bonnard cheerios down the snailshell path
Shaking the spots off a handkerchief – business in Paris
With his wife – leaving me, Claude,
Footboy and fiddle player to the chateau on the hill,
To dot the I and cross the T on his security,
Gatekeeper to this unimposing house.

The angle of vision from the trundle-bed
Is just as he depicted it, we have the door,
Rushing to and fro, fitful sunshine buttercup,
Impressionable cut-and-come-again light,
The bang-on thuya tree duck-egg blue through pink,
Powdery, a fade of quick shadows
Changed by a single draught of updraught,
And the garden, conscious as an animal,
Cringing its fleeces around twigs and railings.
Like the door the bedspread is a real kafuffle
But the sexual touchpaper sizzles these tints.

For the seventh time I set the needle
To the gramophone – Trixie Smith’s
‘Choo Choo Blues’ in a rich spiral,
We immerse ourselves in trumpet and words,
The pleasure-giving Yves and I, we have become
Sharp-eyed lovers, drinking from Bonnard’s cellar,
Mournful for his return,
The day on which we part.





The skyscape that begot it
Is quibblingly a sunflower
Ending up in my eyes, dazzling.



Sun Dance


The click-click-click-squeak of a bird
Percussioned the autorental.
As Imogen undulated her suasions
Fake scented wood tensed under toes.
Lifting feet one at a time
Twisting waist and spine,
She mimed the song
As it revolved on the turntable
“Lazy Bones” sung in Japanese
By Midge Williams
And the Columbia Jazz Band.
The wee-atress searched
The silent pool of slow coffee
Seeping in the cloisters of the kitchen
Finding the ghost of a black dog
Lingering at dawn in a burr of express-bar décor.
The fruits on the floor
Had been splattered with cream…
Harry smiled as the sun rose
In the vase of sumptuous Arum lilies
Logical nothings in webs.


  Chris Barnes says: Some bio details...

  in 1998 I won a Northern Arts writers award.  In July 200 I read at Waterstones bookshop to promote the anthology 'Titles Are Bitches'.  Christmas 2001 I debuted at Newcastle's famous Morden Tower doing a reading of my poems.  Each year I read for Proudwords lesbian and gay writing festival and I partake in workshops.  2005 saw the publication of my collection LOVEBITES published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh.
     On Saturday 16th Aughst 2003 I read at theEdinburgh Festival as a Per Verse poet at LGBT Centre, Broughton St.

  I also have a BBC webpage and (if first site does not work click on SECTION 28 on second site.
  Christmas 2001 The Northern Cultural Skills Partnership sponsored me to be mentored by Andy Croft in conjunction with New Writing North.  I   made a radio programme for Web FM community radio about my writing group.  October-November 2005, I entered a poem/visual image into the art exhibition The Art Cafe Project, his piece Post-Mark was shown in Betty's Newcastle.  This event was sponsored by Pride On The Tyne.  I  made a digital film with artists Kate Sweeney and Julie Ballands at a film making workshop called Out Of The Picture which was shown at the festival party for Proudwords, it contains my poem The Old Heave-Ho.  I worked on a collaborative art and literature project called How Gay Are Your Genes, facilitated by Lisa Mathews (poet) which  exhibited at The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University   funded by The Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Institute, Bioscience Centre at Newcastle's Centre for Life.  I was  involved in the Five Arts Cities poetry
 postcard event which exhibited  at The Seven Stories children's literature building.  In May I had 2006 a solo art/poetry exhibition at The People's Theatre why not take a look at their website
  The South Bank Centre in London recorded my poem "The Holiday I Never Had", I can be heard reading it on
  REVIEWS: I have written poetry reviews for Poetry Scotland and Jacket Magazine and in August 2007 I made a film called 'A Blank Screen, 60 seconds, 1 shot' for Queerbeats Festival at The Star & Shadow Cinema Newcastle, reviewing a poem...see


Christopher Barnes' work has appeared numerous times in Offcourse. Find it in the complete index, All Issues Index and Search


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