2 Poems by C.M. Barnes

Hydrocodone in Seven


The jar: plastic pearl
The sill: gateway air

All morning rubbing raw,
one compressed tendon

demanding and the spit
cup seeks plummet, seeks

the jar. All morning
been fearing fissure, been

holding thoughts like
robin’s eggs—the mind

a nest, one’s hand
a warning to take only

as needed. The answer:
to hold thoughts like

a serve, to spring
a self-offensive.

The spill: lip-to-jar.
The fire: hand-to-hand.

Laid out on bath-
mat, thinking please

drip sense into me.


All morning self drifts
exeunt stage right.

Lies of a beautiful script.
Keel out the throat

like a fish. Wrap
the gills in sultry plastic.

The documentary: right-wing
The gibbon junkie: far-left.

It catches one supine
and prone, thinking

blow me up and
The vision

gone hoary as
a vision gone

flower whiskey



The tissue: body bag.
The descent: handy ghost.

Who is my little
Popearino, my little

Grand Wizard? by land or
by sea, am coming,

by air or by space. This
existence best described as

peninsular, a pursuit of
the mind’s warm water

ports. All morning
have taking as needed.

All morning have huffed
blossoms scruffy on four

cycles. Am now uni-
cycler, circular. Am

now the granular self.


Am now the tinsels
linear. Am now

a magpie projector
burning ash. Can

swallow glass like
can swallow eggs.

Birds consumed
always as needed.

Could just fly off—
hand-to-bird, a

swelled tinsel wing, a
squalled salt solution

always shooting up.
The documentary: a van.

The dusk: spring-a-ling.


Jazz stream to cup.
Spit cup/drink cup

confusion. What say
you, Mr. Phineas

Newborn Jr.? Mr.
Monk Bird Django?

Mr. Mingus Dizzy
Parker? You sound

wet in my jar, a little
too on the nose all

morning, a confiding
whip crack of plot

points: to see:
Breathless. To see:

Apocalypse Later. I will
be your art monster

if you be my dishes,
will be your baby

teeth if you prune
my gullet, will be

your contrapuntal
loves of p in the v,

of p in the a, of v
on the v, p on p,

crisscrossing flesh
acrostics will be

your fulcrum (if you
be my pendulum).


Anesthesiologist’s nectar
flowers. An archeologist’s

soiled grin. Am now
bitter sweet as ice-

come. To touch:
the skin. To taste:

tissue all happening

like a good time
disguised as bad, but

always as needed, as
the bicyclers churning

below, tonguing
spandex four stories up,

collecting robin’s eggs,
transmitting them,

blue-eyed, to jar.
Play it, Mr. Mulgrew!

Play it, Mr. Art!


Books of law.
Books of art.

Spines cracked and pages
fluttering. I am

missing your infection
nesting on my tongue,

some blue-blood canker
splitting my lips, glitzing

my throat, some Brob-
dingnagian moth

splayed open across
the incised throat.

All morning
been chanting wives.

All morning
been taking as needed.

All morning
been carrying on

in the face
of almost certain.

Five Monographs


In the first instance, I am Heraclitus
trying to linearize the accretion jazz

that is Logos into a unified whole.

I am bent over some type of proto-

globe that shouldn’t exist yet, clasping
my twisted digits in a desperate plea

for mankind to see all
things are one, unified, inter-

locked, and inter-

disciplinary in the ecumenical sense.

That this should fail to be
apparent to my fellows is troubling—

especially the everlasting fire

that melts everything down
into all things one and the same.

I call this the law-like interchange

of elements, which should be re-
assuring. Yet, I get nothing

but blank-faced expressions
conducive to only more

hectoring on my part.


In the second instance, I am Marcus
Aurelius suffering a second coming

of child death. How many more

must I lose before I am proved
invulnerable to that which doesn’t suffer

my control? This is the key

dichotomy, what keeps me

going (and so on and so forth), that pain
absent exterior forces, is only a function

of insufficient internal fortitude. The Teutons
are rebelling again. The Franks become

uproarious. I am surrounded by

fools who know not their own natures.
Cripple my leg already. I am nothing but

an emperor wrapped in rare

purple robes—just mere flesh and
bone doomed to disappear into that eternal

Logos fire. What need be there

to fear? The gods are not practical

jokers. They would not subject us to
that which we cannot bear. (Would they?)

No. They are logical.


In the third instance, I am Catherine
the Great, divine-righted ruler of

the Rus with a desire for

modernization. Thus, I have summoned

Diderot to my insular

kingdom to discuss surf usage. He

thinks they should vote, or some such

business—not that I resent

his implication that the average man is wise

enough to rule himself. It is everyone else

I’m worried about, plus

the machinations of the boyars

and my blood-thirsty palace guard

always one little water away from flinging
all the sicklier cousins off the balcony.

(They would squirm red on pikes.) Also,

everyone’s beards are growing back pubic,
and my imbecilic

husband just wanted to play with a toy

soldier until the Samovar melted down
to the size of a consumable Baltic state.

He’d dead now. Most people are, statistically
speaking. I am a German and very practical.

I have no desire to horse fuck.


In the fourth instance, I am Joseph
Stalin underlining Bible passages—

the ones that justify

my particular need for Lebensraum
not my own,

you understand. I have all the space

I need, but for that of other peoples

busily hustling the Jews around.

I find a lot of good textual

justification in Leviticus, also some
in Numbers (six million or so,

to be precise). I am anything but

precise. A hundred-thousand hectors
quality wheat land is nothing to me.

My bread basket is endless,

my soup is the soup of a god

replenishing itself endlessly under a mortal
spoon. Pass me a potato

and I will chew you a steel ingot

so heavy cities will be renamed to lift it.

While I wait, I’ll harass Dmitri

Shostakovich via Pravda

.His tongue will noose the gloss
of my Crimean leg. I am large.

I contain multitudes of dead men

all of whom are spouting confessions,
professions, men of iron constitutions

doing what must be done to redden the trees.


In the fifth instance, I am George
W. Bush vacillating in Texas

over whether or not to opt for

fuchsia in my portrayal of a veteran
raising up resplendent from a hospital

bed. It’s a loaded, topical

portrait subject. I am aware

of this, and yet
I resent how people assume I paint

because of some subconscious

sludge I am working out
as opposed to the pure satisfaction

of applying color to canvass, hue

to white (and so forth and so on).
People think I am stupid. I am not

stupid—at least not in the way

they think I am. I am only a thwarted
artist ruler in the great and bad history

of thwarted artist rulers, a type

whom should never be granted the levers
of power but whom sometimes get placed

behind the wheel going into the wrong
turn anyway. Yes, I think I’ll go with

fuchsia. Fuchsia will do fine.

C.M. Barnes holds an MFA from the University of Montana and lives in Colorado. Barnes’ work has appeared in Phoebe, Literary Laundry, Booth, and more.

Ryan De LeonComment