ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Christopher Barnes.

Messin' with Bessie

whips kissed the cracked bowl
of Basin Street Blues where
grinnin' beg-bugs horsed

that low down mean mistreatin' man
will be missed

fill me with moonshine
spliff me to calm
the gal on my black arm
is a deep sea diver
a real hard driver, a pearl

pig-foot my jellyroll
can't do without it
singin' and moanin'
these empty bed blues



Missing You

heart scarist
terrorist of the look

on the white-powder cheek
lost in the black-blue
I bob a green love

pretty, pretty
wound maker
etch your blistering name
own this, this me

ha! the sting of salt water
assures my purity



Mother's Day Poem

kinkier than thou
was moustached Madonna's disdain
funny-facing the chill
pill sour

silk flowers and their ilk
purr-fumed the old purse

piped music gurgled
cursing through tubes

a dead woman's shoes
were passed onto the girl

mother, when will the thorns
give way to heads?




Tired now.
Day is tired.
Clay coffins wettening
bricks, our shell
tortoise-swelling, distorting
pre-war unplanning.

Indoor chills creep
scaling stairs,
itch across backs.

untested windows
reflecting chalky block-building,
and two pin-shy heads
knit together wishing.

"The quick sparks on the gorse-bushes
           are leaping"
over hills, far away
shushing moon
d arkness.

Pony-clack uninterrupted
lop-sided echoings
singing tibias,
unshockable neigh.

Our street, morass
sludge overlapped,

We two boys clinging
will leave this place
with open eyes
farther away than Stella slacks

when we grow.


Christopher Barnes has appeared frequently in Offcourse.

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