Sonnet: Though we live in different worlds…

Though we live in different worlds,
let me be the moonlight glittering
your hair while you dream

and the voice of that tenor
on the radio filling an opera house
as he sings for his new bride.

Let me be the aroma of bread
baking in your oven
on a winter’s day

and the bath water warmth
surrounding your toes, feet
and legs as you slide

into the pure poetry
of a sensuous life.


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Poet Interview – Bartholomew Barker

Susi Bocks of the I Write Her blog has posted an interview we did to promote her anthology, The Sound of Brilliance: The Short of It, which features a couple of my poems. We talk about stripclubs, Ohio, trauma and The Truth for about half an hour then I read a poem.

I Write Her

Grab a beverage of your choice and come spend some time with Bartholomew and Susi! You’ll learn more about the anthology and get to know Bartholomew a little better too.

If you are interested in getting your copy of The Sound of Brilliance anthology, click below!

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So long since I last heard our songs

Happy May the Fourth! I’ll be reading this at the Carrboro (NC) Poet’s Open Mic Night tonight via Zoom which starts at 7pm EDT (2300UTC) and usually lasts about an hour. Connect up and share your poetry too!

So long since I last heard our songs

I miss the sounds of my language
the beckoning song of a silken woman
the yips of children playing in the trees
even Malla’s nagging would be welcome

Recordings and transmissions from home
can’t convey the breadth of tone
or inflection we use everyday
from bowcaster ads to poetry

I love my friends though pale and sickly
they appear but I speak like a simpleton
so they can understand— the subtleties
of Shyriiwook are lost on fur-less ears

Take me back to Kashyyyk— I want to hear
my wife say my name— my true name— once again

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Happy May Day!

May Days are have become doubly celebratory for me in the past decade since it also marks the end of National Poetry Month and the Poem-A-Day Challenge. For the first day in over a month, I will neither write nor post a poem. However, I have neglected some opportunities for shameless self-promotion.

First, the Sound of Brilliance has been published on Amazon, featuring two of my poems. Susi Bocks of the I Write Her blog has done a wonderful job putting this together and I’m proud to be included with so many other excellent poets, writing beautiful short poetry.

Second, North of Oxford has published their Spring 2021 Pandemic issue which includes another two of my poems. Scroll down. Mine are at the bottom.

And finally I want to highlight my fellow Living Poet, JeanMarie Olivieri, who did of remix of my poems from this April, like I tried on Wednesday, and did a much better job of it. I’m honored that she stole my mediocre lines and crafted them into something brilliant.

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Farewell To Stromness

For today’s prompt from Robert Lee Brewer’s Write Better Poetry blog, write a goodbye poem. Whether leaving for a holiday or going to get groceries, many people find themselves in positions of saying goodbye to each other. So this feels like an appropriate way to close out this year’s challenge…until we meet again.

Farewell To Stromness

The wind blew into Stromness from Hoy Sound
as if urging me to stay. From the deck,
I watched a gull hover over the ferry.
She’d twitch a feather here, a muscle there,
no exertion, no panic, as if suspended
in a mobile over the cradle of a fisherman’s child.

Instead of recalling my time at Skara Brae
or the Ring of Brodgar, I was hypnotized
by this bird’s deft demonstration of unthinking.
She swam in a relentless river of air
without plan or concern, unlike me—
checking clocks and worrying timetables.

As the boat coughed out into the roiling quicksilver
of the North Sea, I looked back at the stones
of Stromness and realized some part of me remained.


Inspired by Peter Maxwell DaviesFarewell to Stromness and my trip to the Orkney Islands near the end of the 20th century. Thanks for reading my poems-a-day this year. Let’s do it again in eleven months.

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Evening Fog

For today’s prompt from Robert Lee Brewer’s Write Better Poetry blog, write an evening poem. The evening can be a quiet and contemplative time, a stressed or fearful time, or, well, party time. Evenings can be lonely or romantic, cool or humid, inspirational or numbing. And today (or tonight, depending on when you consume your poetry prompts), evening is the time for poeming–even if you’re doing it in the middle of the afternoon.

Evening Fog

The fog comes on little bat wings
after the sun retreats to the west
leaving the harbor town undefended.

Gaslight soldiers on every corner
resist the darkness sweeping the city
but little orange flames are no deterrence.

I emerge into glorious night,
inspired by a moonless sky
to hunt the lost souls I find.

Streets glisten with dew or blood.
My actions surgical— my teeth insatiable—
no screams from the brokenhearted

as the forgiving dawn comes too late
for those who I glimpsed in the fog.


(First line pretty much stolen from Carl Sandburg.)

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That Grain of Sand Irritating

For today’s prompt from Robert Lee Brewer’s Write Better Poetry blog, write a remix poem. This has become one of my favorite prompts, because it asks us to look over what we’ve written this month and pick something (or many somethings) to poem out in a new way. Maybe your free verse becomes a sonnet or your sestina transforms into haiku. Or take a line or phrase from each of your poems this month and work it into a cohesive new creation.

That Grain of Sand Irritating

I leave this poem as apology
writing as if Shakespeare were holding
a Glock to my head

I inherited my father’s voice
and sing praises to the moon
like a dog chasing a car
heart thumping like a flat tire
I drink life straight from the bowl

But some vessels are best left unopened
frustration like a pressure cooker
simmering— about to erupt
I want to see climatologists
with steam shooting from their ears

Free to smoke the morning away in my idling pickup truck
we know that death comes silent and sudden
feeling floating falling folded in a book
I hope will survive the flood
covered with emptied bottles of water

You told me dolphins were angels
whose bones are these?
might as well leave them in my coffin


(All lines stolen from my previous poems-a-day this April with very minor edits.)

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Sonnet — April 27

For this Two-for-Tuesday prompt from Robert Lee Brewer’s Write Better Poetry blog:
Write a believe poem and/or…
Write a don’t believe poem.

Sonnet — April 27

I believe the earth is flat
because shape is trivial
to me and the pines straining
towards the sun.

A sun which loops around us
every day— me, the pines
and that squirrel teasing
Moriarty from a branch.

Tomorrow the squirrel will hunt for nuts
and the pines will hope for rain.
Doesn’t matter whether we’re clinging
to a globe or pressed on a pancake,

I’ll write another poem
just because it’s April.

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Lost World

For today’s prompt from Robert Lee Brewer’s Write Better Poetry blog, take the phrase “(blank) World,” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “Theme Park World,” “Poeming World,” and/or “Brave New World.” Have fun putting the world in a poem.

Lost World

Look up! Any time of night
you’ll see blinking lights
of airplanes crossing
from horizon to horizon
and you won’t see the milky way.

Listen hard! Any time of day
you’ll hear the growl of a motor
burning oil or the hum
of some electric spinning
and you won’t hear the leaves in the breeze.

Our pollution extends beyond smog
and toxins as we contaminate perception
itself like a once pristine glacier
covered with emptied bottles of water.

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I Think Too Much

For today’s prompt from Robert Lee Brewer’s Write Better Poetry blog, write a thought poem. Of course, my first thought (maybe like yours) is, “Aren’t all poems thought poems?” Well, I guess, but I’m thinking of a poem that captures a thought or random ramblings running ’round your cranium. It doesn’t have to be a rambling poem, but that’s one thing. Another possibility is having two people share their thoughts with each other and/or NOT share them. Think about it a moment and then unleash your thought poem.

I Think Too Much

It was a good thing at school
or the office where I’m paid
to sit still and think
for eight hours a day
but it’s a problem
the rest of the time

Does she want to be more than friends?
Why hasn’t she texted me back?
Am I being too clingy?

Like a vaudeville plate spinning act
my thoughts spiral to desperation
I should learn to trust my instincts

I’m a moth and she’s the flame
I just have to accept the singed wings


Just a reminder that I’m one of the featured readers at tomorrow’s Poetry on your Plate show. It starts at 6pm EDT (2200 GMT) on Zoom.

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