Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Poems by Christopher Barnes.


The Headlong Drop


“On July 10th 1873, in Brussels, Verlaine, drunk and furious that Rimbaud was threatening to leave him, shot his young lover in the wrist.  While Verlaine went to prison, Rimbaud returned to his mother’s farm in Roche.” – Henri Peyre


At twelve, throbbing tension between hand and mind, you marshalled Parnassian poets.  Reading in a neat unheated allowance, the College de Charleville, catching an uncertain path of sun, before a slow crush home.  A coop of bantam minds, abundant landscapes was how you described that acreage, it dwindled, framed in a Paris-bound sleeper’s window.

At sixteen you found me, at the table whose freehold my wife will inherit.  In an ordinary bourgeois kitchen bacchaic words spilled, thickening muscadet, grained ash.  Scandal, I kissed the damar of youth from your lips, each fandangle of your postures raising buttons on my serge.  I will only ever love you.

The mumbo-jumbo of absinthe and other intoxicants made us see.  O translucent bird above flint rocks of Abyssinia, limping mandarin clouds.  Acquiescence of blues, resplendent boughs, succulent, half-gnawed afternoons.  That old devil with the hawk in his eyes demanding a price to release his grip.

I’m paying a toll in ticked-off days.  No words to sound against nature or machine.  Record these silences, unhurried, set store by you in the disharmony of love.  Tonight I sleep on a straw-filled sack, a cell-block with twenty six windows, no light.



The Inwrought Line


We irritate cigarettes
as bug machines caption talk.

Cast away care, Mooney
Strumming minstrels are stirring matters.

I churn the vial
nibbing the bitter end squirt
of methadone
between the hollows of a contact lens tray
in the glove box.

The Infiltration Operators
have driven home
after a tide, falling in
with a gadding skeleton.

The dusky taxi is full of incident
at the cordon of Hotel Richold.

from the Spooks poems.




The Jazz Queen’s Man’s Melanoma


You snarl hats-on melodies,
downpouring tight staves
for your Mr Subglottic Blister.

The grande passion
with athletic endurance.
You snarl hats-on melodies.

A tear of trembling suites.
for your Mr Subglottic Blister.

Themed with flurrying notes
tightening strings in his heart
you snarl hats-on melodies.

Nefarious depressions of ink
dribbled from a bamboo pen
for your Mr Subglottic Blister.

Swerving into ice-cold cadence
each glance across the piano.
You snarl hats-on melodies

for your Mr Subglottic Blister.




The Life To Come Of Man-Made Saints

(repairing the frescoes of Assisi )


He has transilluminated dust on his knuckles,
rakes off the confetti of psalm-singing visionaries,
the vapourware the giddy
have hooked brittle knees for, on walls
which fray, huff and puff in blasts,
then shiver to thin air.

An eggshell resurrection,
one day a fivefold fingered palm,
next he shuffles together
a suspicion of fireglow hemline, its very dyestuff
is gingham of sand
as it tilts at glue.

He chafes halos like reputations
and wants to preserve
what the great Artists have made
with tools of tweezers, slippery fixatives,
a dustpan and brush.



Bio notes and links for Christopher Barnes


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