Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Three Poems by Christopher Barnes.



There is a Tiger shark in the port.
Below the flattening comma
And tail of a comet's
Pinking sky.

Fog will rubberize,
Into a crease-resistant whole.
This is the deck
On which he'll dull and croak.


Fish Aren't Much Company

Air was hot
With expectation,
A catch.

Their last journey,
Only one in fact
To draw a crowd.

Thronged in harbours
They gybed looks,
Signals into night.

Five months
Since anyone had seen a fish.

That lonely skate
Raised seventy five thousand
Spondulix under the hammer.

On the boat
An old man
Who trawled
The shallow bellied
Atlantic Ocean
Spread fine nets
Rocking weights
Into slurry.

Even if he failed
And the puddle went dry
He asked
To be buried
Where sea used to be.

Fish Nor Flesh

The bald wheelchaired mermaid
Reefs in bed-sit 12
Ungusseting sequins to a tail,
Baying like a croakerfish
To The Andrew Sisters'
"You Want Some Seafood Mama?"

She thirsts
For the draught fleet to loom
With a wig of badderlocks*
A sculling flirt.

For two seamless weeks.

Her pet octupussy
(a drag-show marionette)
Stole her green-goldie coiffure
With crooked tentacles
Head-bobbing skew-whiff,
Gadding a baleful eye.
A pirate
At the storm-door.

Her sandy bouffant's
Sea-treasured out
Gone searching over-dressed music,
A stage of lighthouse lights.

And four twins of never-so-worn slip-on mules
Squirming on soft-sex suckers.

*an algae


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 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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