Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Poems by Christopher Barnes, UK.

Maria’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 faces
As 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 rasp
To the crack of doom, forever and always.
Detail:- the khaddar and duffel of a wardrobe
Parade 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 day
She pulled out the creases in her silky stocking
Like a grammarian combing through a text
He watched her framed in a tenement window
           A disrobing Frenchness
           In the moonlight
           Chalked in white at the hip
           Streaked over plum breasts
           Clearing the punctuation
           Of a pink chiffon scarf
           Quickly he scratched
           Her humanely observed lines
           Flyfishing for the essentials
           Below the ripples of a page
Leading Forms Into The Light
Let 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 drinks
For a motley crew coven
Who smarm into retreats
In the hole-and-corner lay out
Of the Colony Room.
I’ll paint her many times
Surroundings dipped bice against jade
With a whacking impact
Of the lip and gullet as she tos and fros
To curse a mortal soul.
The casts in red will be volatile
And the commotion of her audacity
Schismish 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 scrutinize
And see the things I see:
The head is human and yet
There is something about the bracing,
The soaring bend of the homing shark.
(based on an extract from Francis Bacon
by John Russell)
Leazes Park
Wan moon beating slow
A cricket chirps in long grass
You too make bubbles.
In Jesmond they’d call it chichi
Though parties are done now,
Faded dresses apathetic in wardrobes
Plucked 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 glint
The sheer god-damn extravagance
Of coke.
At forty passion, red carpets, men
Leaving steam hot, probing other tangles.
A stomach the size of Moscow.  Sagging
Breasts 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 zip
Scratching bobbles off the hem, folding it
In tissue for an Oxfam princess.
Leicester Square
(after Miroslav Holub’s Subway Station)
They elbow bored tunnels.
With sundown chins,
Hollow-eyed, they’re snoringly lifelike.
Behind nine spurts of warm air
Night light will be fully-charged with pleasure,
A love-in of abdomens and feelers
Will sneak out the bliss they crave.
Grid reference – The Circle Line
Where day jumped off.
Eastbound, eastbound, eastbound,
I clack jagged-edged jaws,
A menacing crush
As Mr. X shrugs at a late edition
‘downcast man blows track’,
Forty seven bring-downs step on a train.
I’m static in the chink
At the upside of a hard sell
For a shaky tickled-to-death operetta
In a pit for drones.

Christopher Barnes work has appeared in Offcourse numerous times. Search for him at

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 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.  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
The South Bank Centre in London recorded my poem "The Holiday I Never Had", I can be heard reading it on


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