The artist says “I haven't drawn a stitch since;
I shake my fists at words and recall the rising din.”
The butcher says “I’ll grind it fine for you
if you stand over there and vote along this party line.”
The poet says “When the flood comes over the dam,
jam it up, catch it all and make a pond to swim in.”
Shall we medicate the consequences of
isms run to idiocy,
angry soldiers high on faith,
puppets at the helm,
and all the strings stretched thin
The optimist says “this too shall pass.”
The pessimist says “yes, in geological time.”
I Love You Roy Moore
I miss you now – light’s off
in my room just down from mom’s;
you kissed me so gentle
you kissed me so swift
you said I was fine
like wine you said
so cute was I you said
and my breathing came fast
my mind a muddle
my panties – don’t says it –
even now, after homework
and mom’s bedtime song.
I remember how you sounded –
“wriggle you for me” you whispered
and I did.
Signed You Know Who.
A Good Piss to Prevent a Spat
The animal marks its territory well
with a piss – urine so strong and pungent
unambiguous and calm –
that it creates a pasture for the spirit;
kindred spirits float above the markers.
The fences, walls, and boundaries
of human design, piss-less affairs,
are doomed to fall the way of nations,
with wayward vanishing intention.
The flowers set along the borders shrivel.
Delusional indications! No safety in the drawn line,
the walled border.
Barry Wallenstein is the author of eight collections of poetry, the most recent being At the Surprise Hotel and Other Poems [Ridgeway Press, 2016] and Drastic Dislocations: New and Selected Poems [New York Quarterly Books, 2012]. His poetry has appeared in over 100 journals, including Ploughshares, The Nation, Centennial Review, and American Poetry Review.
He has made eight recordings of his poetry with jazz, the most recent being titled What Was, Was (Audioscope, 2015) and Lucky These Days (Cadence Jazz Records 2013).
Barry is Emeritus Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the City University of New York and an editor of the journal American Book Review. Check out www.barrywallenstein.com.