Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

New Poems, by Christopher Barnes.


(after Miroslav Holub's 'Subway Station')

Here— and— there
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.

(after Gerard Manley Hopkins' 'Hurrahing In Harvest')

The leaf-down season's a suffix. This moment has
a dummy's charm. Serviceberries grease over.
Top-heavy, split level, blue sky's Plexiglas.
Wait for unsprung embankments,
silver-grey scud clouds,
a celestial sphere of junk,
acid dyes, volatile chlorine clusters
stinging the tips
of a GM harvest.

(after Robert Browning's 'Parting At Morning')

By the subservient sand-scoop
rough water pounces.
A long-focus lens claims the dune's VIP
— wow.
Perpendicular celestial poles for him,
upchuck of a glitter of stars for me.

(after Janet Frame's 'Sunday')

Advertorials, fast colours in your proposals.
A heptagon of days have replayed you here.
Microsoft debugging
accelerates funds in the red,
plastic-swiped goods-on-approval
bagged in the Hyundai boot.

Aromatherapy, pseudology, mocha at the Mall.
You strain a hereabouts of rejects.
Well-being, makeshift complete
though you tighten on barrier island deck chairs
sunning, collapsed,
in conquering synthetic light.

(after T. S. Elliot's 'Morning At The Window')

Rub sleep from eyes
as night tumbles.

The "Crusty Corner's" Otto
plops six doughs.
Bulb squinting blinders
from glass lattice.

Milk tinkles
up Errington Rise, a redheaded man
is blue.

Astral light, petrol tanks.

Shadows, silhouettes are barbs
that hinge on hidden secrets
pouring into dawn.

(after John Keats' 'Ode To Autumn')

Papaver poppies, yes, the corkwood's
Honey fungus, malodorous
in soft-dying glisters
at her fog-dripped toes.

She thickens moss,
cools-off on a bank.
The dust-of-ages mausoleum is flesh,
a blister beetle tickles up the column.

Frittered feathers,
only choughs seem residual.

October, an amber headlamp
splitting tinges on Fair Isle.

When she lurches off
I've a sense of inhaling
a spore go-smoothly breeze.




Liberty's on a plinth,
a wink-bandaged doll.
Swallow hard.

In a tear-to-tatters slowness
she braves a thousand years.

Join in the chorus,
only lip homage.



Polarities flux,
there's a palpable distribution of shade
when you're packing a gallery
— like braiding the wind
around a stranded hair.


An out of line
cloud-dripped delta
is zigzaggery.

We spark - delivered
to a secret less sphinx.


Didn't we?

Did we rocket through see double doors
on the Paris Metro? Imaginable.
At strong-taste docks
where slosh waters fidget
we read Genet.

Bonesetters heedfully shog my skull
repositioning memories — stewed towels,
haute cuisine,
the town-taled Piaf.


Mr. Chuckluck's penned a play.
"Gee-Gees & Jeers" is in its third act.
Bloodlines harness turf-dash brains
when a bookie overruns his tongue.
And from the stalls
a RADA-trained saddle-prancer
flutters an eye at a stable boy.


A clink to preen
on a necklace.

There's a blind gloss
in me.
The anxioused up clack of my shell
is scarce as iced water.

Christopher Barnes says:

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.

I also have a BBC webpage

Christmas 2001: The Northern Cultural Skills Partnership sponsored me to be mentored by Andy Croft in conjunction with New Writing North. I am about to make 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, my 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 am 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 (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.


Christopher Barnes' work has appeared in Offcourse Issue #25, December 2005.



Comments? Tell us!

Back to Offcourse home page