Poems by Christopher Barnes, UK.
LaundromatMaria’s vocation settles on account,The innings are irksome, her set-up low-ranking,Until today that is, from the word ‘go’ she will be,The essential one in a sea of facesAs seen on CNN.She’s whiffling to the back number love song,Lets the saxes wheeze fripperies in her brain.The steamer and the tumble driers raspTo the crack of doom, forever and always.Detail:- the khaddar and duffel of a wardrobeParade in a showcase of pop-bang cellophane,Star-spangled like new.No. 46 is the Lewinsky truss,Minus the smithereens of chocolaty nibbles,Insubstantial things on the linings,Indigo snow from the beauty aid box,The dancing light of tapioca,Sugarless jump-back of tough perfume,The President’s sap.Lautrec’s Eye
The light was yeastier that dayShe pulled out the creases in her silky stockingLike a grammarian combing through a textHe watched her framed in a tenement windowA disrobing FrenchnessIn the moonlightChalked in white at the hipStreaked over plum breastsClearing the punctuationOf a pink chiffon scarfQuickly he scratchedHer humanely observed linesFlyfishing for the essentialsBelow the ripples of a page
Leading Forms Into The LightLet me throw in a single mess-mate of mine,Milady of this toast of the tour club, bachelor girl,Pitch-dark Medea with a Soho chuckle,The test case: Miss Muriel Belcher.She has an on-the-loose locution,Fumes of slop-beer and sweat, blends drinksFor a motley crew covenWho smarm into retreatsIn the hole-and-corner lay outOf the Colony Room.I’ll paint her many timesSurroundings dipped bice against jadeWith a whacking impactOf the lip and gullet as she tos and frosTo curse a mortal soul.The casts in red will be volatileAnd the commotion of her audacitySchismish against the laid-low coolness of backdrop.They’ll not be passport true-to-lifes,Though that discernable neck,Sure thing nostrils, crystal-clear hair-line,Categorical cut-off of eyebrows,Will leave an echoey tenderness.Another time. You will scrutinizeAnd see the things I see:The head is human and yetThere is something about the bracing,The soaring bend of the homing shark.(based on an extract from Francis Baconby John Russell)
Leazes ParkWan moon beating slowA cricket chirps in long grassYou too make bubbles.
LegendIn Jesmond they’d call it chichiThough parties are done now,Faded dresses apathetic in wardrobesPlucked out in the frosty moiré of afternoon –She checks for stains, wool-gatherings past.Brackish wit sliced those nights,A shimmer, chandeliers, hotel lobbies,Gold dripping from wrists, angles to glintThe sheer god-damn extravaganceOf coke.At forty passion, red carpets, menLeaving steam hot, probing other tangles.A stomach the size of Moscow. SaggingBreasts female fingers have touched,Streaked with wax, flaming lipsticks.Ten years on she’ll never be Jean Muir again –She fingers the label, sizzles up the zipScratching bobbles off the hem, folding itIn tissue for an Oxfam princess.
Leicester Square(after Miroslav Holub’s Subway Station)Here-and-thereThey elbow bored tunnels.With sundown chins,Hollow-eyed, they’re snoringly lifelike.Behind nine spurts of warm airNight light will be fully-charged with pleasure,A love-in of abdomens and feelersWill sneak out the bliss they crave.Grid reference – The Circle LineWhere day jumped off.Eastbound, eastbound, eastbound,Stuck-in-a-groove.I clack jagged-edged jaws,A menacing crushAs Mr. X shrugs at a late edition‘downcast man blows track’,ThenForty seven bring-downs step on a train.I’m static in the chinkAt the upside of a hard sellFor a shaky tickled-to-death operettaIn a pit for drones.
Christopher Barnes work has appeared in Offcourse numerous times. Search for him at http://www.albany.edu/offcourse/index_all.html
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 August 2003 I read at the Edinburgh Festival as a Per Verse poet at LGBT Centre, Broughton St.I also have a BBC webpage www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/gay.2004/05/section_28.shtml and http://www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/videonation/stories/gay_history.shtml (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. The film is going into an archive at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle and 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 before touring the country and it is expected to go abroad, 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 http://ptag.org.uk/whats_on/gulbenkian/gulbenkian.htmThe South Bank Centre in London recorded my poem "The Holiday I Never Had", I can be heard reading it on www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=18456
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