Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Three Poems, by Christopher Barnes.


Death's Day

Now that the transcendent gad flies
Knock out
This moment will pass.

Ill, Eddie's at ease,
An unfit pupil,
Nudging desks.

But inside, oh inside
A blunt edged pulley
Smoothes down the heart.

Depression Is A Too-Near Sun


The blue shadow of a goat
Stalks below
A winging, fluttering blues

The darkest blues reveal the black
Ghost elephant-black sky
Of one's very own ugliness

Each morning's trunk, a gas mask
Blows like a note
From a smouldering Lester Young

Each evening's ears
Leather up the masochist
Blacking, blinding pain
And all because
I love You


A photograph of Marchioness Hamlet in his wallet, raw chestnut. Burnt edges, as it must have displayed in burnet days. A scarcity of stone, ruined guard-house, tufts, dry lowland, a cloudless ambient bold as loss.

The Corporal had been scrutinising Darwin. Flicking his wrist, a pinch of thumb and forefinger exposing typeface, then stippletone.

At the rendezvous white chalk sticks, rat-tatted immaculate paper, a pack of brilliantly pearl Turkish cigarettes, an ashtray, Wedgwood crisp lilypond saucer, calyptra-patterned prints.

The crock cooled, biscuit-buff tidemark, a smear beneath the brink, sticky Huandoy coffee thickening skin at the butt.

Missiled houses, reduced kitchen middens, couples in hats, wraparounds, smoke bellowing below the brim of moon, his face pushing through images, pictures of the village, script scribbled across sky, his last letter home.

The investigator took another look at dental records, watch still ticking, passport. Examined a belt hold, theatre ticket, gunshot wound, piecing a life back together.



Christopher Barnes:

in 1998 he won a Northern Arts writers award. In July 200 he read at Waterstones bookshop to promote the anthology 'Titles Are Bitches'. Christmas 2001 he debuted at Newcastle's famous Morden Tower doing a reading of his poems. Each year he reads for Proudwords lesbian and gay writing festival and partakes in workshops. 2005 saw the publication of his collection LOVEBITES published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh.

C.B. also has 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 him to be mentored by Andy Croft in conjunction with New Writing North. He is about to make a radio programme for Web FM community radio about his writing group. October-November 2005, he 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. He has 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 his poem The Old Heave-Ho. He is working on a collaborative art and literature project called How Gay Are Your Genes, facilitated by Lisa Mathews (poet) which will exhibit at The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University before touring the country and it is expected to go abroad, this will be funded by The Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Institute, Bioscience Centre at Newcastle's Centre for Life. He was recently involved in the Five Arts Cities poetry postcard event which exhibited at The Seven Stories children's literature building. In May he had 2006 a solo art/poetry exhibition at The People's Theatre. See their website

His work has also appeared in previous issues of this journal:

Offcourse #29, Winter 2007:

Offcourse #28, Fall 2006:

Offcourse #27, Summer 2006: New Poems from the U.K.

Offcourse #26, Spring 2006: New Poems from the U.K.

Offcourse #25 Dec 2005: Four Poems


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