My Poems

Flaking the Rope

Mother

there is a frozen silence

both sides of our window.

Outside, a white sheet steals

the joy of herbs and plants,

decorates the half-worked

green climbing our un-finished fence.

Three electric poles are alive.

Daffodils are popping through

disliked moss greens,

calves entertain electric fences

and woken tractors are feeding fields.

Inside, a voice is echoing your

granddaughter’s telephoned message,

stilling thoughts, and delivering

the cold news that you have passed.

©Gene Barry

On the Homestead

I dream myself into an Irish pallbearer

Sniffing one pink Cypripedium,

Two Heliotropes,

A little bunch of violets.

Engraving before departure.

Out of that peripheral sky

Drifting across her kitchen table,

Mother will waltz with

Clicking needles while father

In his workshop builds concepts.

He will visa-clear her undiscovered continent,

Syntax her morning noon and nights,

Say nice-father sayings,

Perhaps hug and donate.

Mother, she will iron the dyings

Out of Emily’s sheets,

Defuse the Mother Wound,

Horse in a few mechanisms.

Later, she will exorcise hangings shootings stabbings,

A suffocation a crucifixion a drowning.

Steal the earth from premature burials

And blunt-make her guillotine.

So many heart deaths she’s had

And hidden in complex notions,

In outdated prayers and diatribes

And unvaluable family values.

She coughed up volumes of blackness,

Diluted to taste the unsociably awkward

Who lived beyond her home.

How kind of death

To call her back to safety.

To where flies buzz

And kings spoon in sleep.

She would have liked that.

How comforting to know

She died of Bright’s Disease.

©Gene Barry

Sanctity

for Charlie Vella

When I am older my love

and Zurrieq is sleeping

hoarsely, I will go to her

and ease her tiring larynx.

My stang of love

I will take and plant

each hank in a house

Barocci failed to influence.

A set of arms from each one

I will invite and let it hold me

and seduce a pair of loving

lips to steal a moment, or two.

I will waltz her medieval

streets with Ptolemy and at

the temple I will listen

to his Sunday Miscellany.

I will be a Vella for a day,

drink with Victoria and

sway my youthful arms at

A La Veneziana,

and when the pick is

whispering to be harvested

I will bend all day and sleep

in the safety of their Għorfa.

©Gene Barry

An Għorfa is a small room or shelter or, more accurately, a room on the roof of a house.

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Unfinished Business

Michael

After polio had visited

the boy it chose

was never the same.

It paralysed his mother.

Young men lit their laughter,

pubescent girls wondered

and dogs slowed near him;

the years after his father

could take no more.

He paddled upstream

to a school and a room

for special people and

at a bench he called his own

he cut leather, punched it,

put coins in between the strips

he managed to sow together

for the brothers who flogged him.

He tied four longer strips

around his neck before

he pushed the stool away.

©Gene Barry

Redundant

These nights his right hand rests

behind him pining for its spooning perch.

She no longer jadedly whispers

‘nite, love you too’,

concentrates on the tears

filling the pillow’s pool,

makes another note to change it

while he’s away at work

where he will cry a half dozen

times in the deaf toilet.

In her dreams she will be

younger than 13 again,

in her wedding dress,

hugging her adult children,

climbing the Sydney Bridge,

picking up rainbows of toys,

swimming with the mother’s group,

losing herself to the anaesthetic.

She is awkwardly lighter there now,

the new weight resting on her shoulders

toppling her into an unfamiliar world.

When the consultant spoke of rebuilding

she ran into bricks and mortar;

their shed flattened in that storm she’d forgotten about

without laughing her father’s unfinished coal bunker

without pride the pouring of their first foundation

without joy their villa in Sardinia.

Built a wall around her unexplainable pain.

©Gene Barry

A Kennedy Moment

for John Liddy

Mary, my lips hadn’t dressed

Your name in a multiple

Of decades, not until you

Perched between us tonight,

Landing yourself on a

Republican lap.

It was a Kennedy Moment.

Etching wasn’t deep enough

To hold you. The memories

Danced to polkas, reels

And jigs and were held

In volumes of uninterrupted

Slow airs.

When I looked again I

Noticed that the tide had

Ebbed and a feed-bag

Of torments had discharged

Itself. You wore that same smile

That introduced you to

Us in the Phoenix bar in

1977, when your lips seduced

The plastic tip and drove a

Decade of fingers to entertain us.

Jesus you were great!

My memory fumbled and

Fumbled in its recall, till

You excavated a hunk of

Deep-bored and unmarried

Memories and exorcised an

Unwelcome landscape that

Had found an inappropriate

Home. I left my hosts and

Danced my way through Limerick

Streets that once held your

Stride and winked at the

Variety of unwritten plaques

That hold you now.

Unwittingly ordering a confluence

Of memories to entertain

Themselves. Later today

I’ll drive to Cork and on

My way I’ll erect a cortège

Of finger posts, to you, and

Bless them with a lifetime

Of acceptance.

©Gene Barry

Published in The Stoney Thursday Book Ireland

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Stones in their Shoes

Closed Line

For separated fathers

I would walk to my gallows

once weekly and feed the rope

with single men. And witness

the gawking families

unilaterally waving the many

colours of unity’s insults.

They would do it without

moving or speaking. Without

even knowing the pain they

had infused. Marrow bound.

A line of useless drones out

of sink with family matters.

“Us” was parked in every garden

that wasn’t ours, dancing all

day in wind that ceased to live

in what seemed to be the only

lifeless garden. Rainbows of

stories sticking out their tongues.

“We” never did the feeding of

the nylon, nor the retrieving

of the cleansed. Eyes set down

from conversations at both

boundaries that were lent to

what we now knew as a family.

Everybody beyond our ditches

seemed to gel with the laughter

of coal bunkers and barbeques,

to continue the unfinished over

the flapping icons that waved

them inside their castles.

©Gene Barry

Published in The Irish Examiner USA

Closed Line translated into Irish

Líne Iata

do na fir scartha

Shiúlainn go dtí crann mo chrochta

uair sa tseachtain agus chothaínn an téad

le súgán fear singil. Agus romham amach

teaghlaigh ag gliúcaíocht le drochmheas,

ceirteacha a gcuid maslaí á gcroitheadh

acu orm le gach dath faoin spéir.

Gan ghíocs gan ghuth dheintí é,

gan chor, gan chaint.

i ngan fhios don arraing péine a

chuir siad tríom. Go smior na smúsach.

Gamail gan rath amuigh leo féin

gan beann ar chúram clainne.

“Sinne” ina staic i ngach gairdín

nár linn, ag rince go fiata

i rith an lae sa ghaoith sin a

múchadh ina lios gan síóg.

Bogha ceatha a gcuid scéalta

ar ghob geabach a dteanga.

Níor dheineamarna na héadaí

a bheathú, ná an glantachán a

theasargan ón bpoll. Súile a

d’fhoghlaim teorainneacha na

cainte ón dtuiscint chúng a bhí acu

don teach, don teaghlach, don mhuintir.

Dhlúthaigh gach aon duine eile le chéile

lena ngáirí barbíciú, lena gcabaireacht

theolaí cois tine. Lasmuigh dár gcuid

clathacha lean siad orthu ag sméideadh

lena gcuid meirgí gan chrích

laistigh d’fhallaí a ndúnphort féin.

©Eoghan de Barra

The Burial

In Memory of Clare O’Connor

 

Time’s dose of uninvited turmoil,

engulfed their pre-planned world,

a silent unforgiving hew

within each triggered beat

struck harder as they walked

with their box of future memories.

Cheated,

no beat within.

A broadcast of childish laughter

moored closely,

uncaptained.

No stolen spoon of jam.

Their anagram of wounds

quarried into their old-age and

brushing them helplessly adrift

through seas of detached empathy.

A cleft of unseen sorrow

kneading ceaselessly

and successfully.

Hurting.

No chiromantic map,

no dialect, no tell-tales,

the subterranean pedestal

dutifully beckoning.

As the feral child would

we stood and gawked

with unswallowing

lumped throats,

to see her walk

before she stood,

out of the world

she never entered

and like the familiar face

through introductions

I tell myself I know,

I know you Claire.

©Gene Barry

Tactile Memories

for my father Micheál

How do I know your

drive to run these teeth

over the inviting dead

what torque to chose

when indicating

and yet I rub the

chiromantic map with

unromantic oils and

smooth each surface

without life

dress the contrasting

donors with shavings

toiled and blindly

undressed in lonely

unhugged trances

why do I hold this

whistle in your

clasped hand

Spear’s index

at the ready

with the open snuff box

in distracted thought

see to your nails

massage your waiting

mound of Venus

ungloved you gave

to give me life

beyond our clasped

audience of DNA

I applaud you.

©Gene Barry

First published by the University of Chicago

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Working Days

Apollinaireing

Nine years later you ask

Is this alright, honestly

as if I was your personal designer,

best female friend.

I want to wolf whistle, to

up my magician’s sleeve

and present you with a

bouquet of your favourites.

I’m pulled instantly to our

wedding day, to those cardiac

moments before I hear the

Oh and turn, eyes leaking,

larynx locked and accept

the fact that my world is

about to accept me.

©Gene Barry

No Gates,  Just Bridges

‘Let us remain human’

Vittorio Arrigoni

There is a shadow now

beneath sun and moon;

no scars or handcuffs.

Echoes of a peaceful pulse.

No head for the punisher’s

fist and boot, but choruses of

“O Bella ciao, ciao….”

Suppression sups life from

your history Vik, tongues lilt

your pacifistic laments and

Sisyphus, he lives amongst the

unjust platoons of Münchausen

wounded who one day will

have to cease their torture.

©Gene Barry

No Gates, Just Bridges translated into Italian

Nessun Cancelli, Solo Ponte

‘Let us remain human’

Vittorio Arrigoni

Ora c’è un ombra

sotto il sole e la luna;

senza cicatrici o manette.

Pulsano echi di pace.

Per i punitori senza testa.

No pugnie calci, ma cori di

“O bella ciao, ciao…..”

Soppressa la storia della

tua vita Vik, cadenza

dei tuoi lamenti pacifisti e

Sisyphus, lui vive tra

plotoni ingiusti di Munchausen

feritiun giorno

cesserà la loro tortura.

©Gene Barry

Letter to Hashim

For Huda Ghaliya

I am Huda and I scream

to you in the skies above

me, please do not leave

me alone to mourn for I

have dipped my tiny limbs

beneath the hem of death’s

door and trawled for those

same arms that hugged me,

for the sets of lips that were

mine to kiss, for that parental

safety net woven by my future

and my arms are empty.

I am the only day of our

week that lives on this beach

of trading on the edge of

another bloody empire.

I would trade all spices here

today a world of olibanum

and ostrich feathers, I would

add my name to the menu

of slaves, I would tame a

thousand Buraqs and trek to

our future. But I cannot. For

Israel’s summer rain has lashed

death to my childish frame,

a burden your great grandson

will unleash, a memory I will

undress each day. But my

Boswellian roots I will anchor to

this blood-stained land that

Alexander failed to arid turn,

my tears I will trade for peace.

©Gene Barry

Letter to Hashim translated into Italian

Lettera ad Hashim
per Huda Ghaliya

Sono Huda e grido a te
nei cieli lassù
… no, per favore, non lasciarmi
sola a piangere perché
ho immerso le mie piccole membra
sotto l’orlo della porta
della morte e ho gettato le reti
per pescare le braccia che mi stringevano
le labbra che erano
per me, da baciare, la rete
di sicurezza genitoriale intessuta
dal mio futuro
e le mie braccia sono vuote.
Sono l’unico giorno della nostra
settimana che vive su questa spiaggia
di commercio sull’orlo di
un altro impero sanguinoso.
Venderei tutte le spezie qui
oggi un mondo di incenso
e di piume d’ostrica, aggiungerei
il mio nome al menu
degli schiavi. Addomesticherei
mille Buraq e viaggerei verso
il nostro futuro. Ma non posso. Perché
la loro pioggia estiva ha frustato
morte nel mio corpo di bambina,
un fardello che il vostro pronipote
scioglierà, un ricordo
che svesitrò ogni giorno. Ma le mie
radici boswelliane getterò come ancore
in questa terra macchiata di sangue che
Alessandro non riuscì a rendere arida,
scambierò le mie lacrime con la pace.

©Gene Barry

Letter to Hashim translated into Arabic

رسالة من هاشم
لهدى غالية
أنا هدى ، و إنني أصرخ
صرخاتي تتجه نحوك ، في السماوات العالية فوقي
أرجوك لا تتركني
لا تتركني وحيدة لأفجع
فأنا غمست اطرافي
تحت حافة باب الموت
محاولا ان أصطاد نفس الأذرع التي احتضنتني
و تلك الشفتين التين كانتا ملكي كي أقبلهما
لتلك الشبكة من الحنان الأبوي ، والتي حبكها مستقبلي
ذراعاي الآن فارغتان
أنا اليوم الوحيد المتبقي من أسبوعنا و الذي يعيش على هذا الشاطئ
شاطئ المقايضة على شفير امبراطورية دموية أخرى
كنت لأقايض كل الكائنات الحية هنا
هذا اليوم
مقابل عالم من اللبان و ريش النعام
كنت لأضيف اسمي على لائحة العبيد
كنت لأروض الف براق و رحلة مضنية في سبيل مستقبلنا
و لكنني لا استطيع
فمطرهم الصيفي قد ضرب الموت بغزارة على هيكلي الطفولي
عبئ ثقيل سيطلق حفيدك له العنان
ذكرى سأتعرى منها كل يوم
لكن تبقى جذوري البوسويلية التي سأرسخها في هذه الارض الملطخة بالدماء
و التي فشل الكسندر في تجفيفها
دموعي ، سوف أبادلها مقابل السلام
جيني باري
©Gene Barry

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Published poems

January Dew

When grief unbuckled itself

it fell like January dew

seeping right into her very marrow,

the big Clare smile was gone.

I saw her pass the first riser

head hanging like a wet bulrush

dancing to an air of no confidence.

Lonely looking, as if she was already

laden with his corpse and marching

on the cold terrazzo floor.

His stipulate in the year

of Our Lord was punctual;

Christ hold him as you would

a slow air at a fleadh ceoil,

cast a safety net over his hill

and let it kiss his family.

She hears him now as the

sleeping Fisherman

listens to his lapping,

love’s Spectral Density.

When he informed us that she was

gone, I wished I’d ridden tandem.

Return to us woman

like a welcome season.

©Gene Barry

Fleadh Cheoil is an Irish music festival.

Published in Ciphers Ireland

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Galvanised

i.m. Patrick Galvin

I anticipated a gaggle

Of local poets,

And there he was,

Notably perched in the

Wheeled chair

Adjacent to a

Blotter soaked

With love.

Did I see him

Stroke the underbelly

Of his unborn poems

Using his frozen uxter,

A chamfer

Of his observations

Nursing its way

To blank vellum?

Did I hear his

Midas tongue

Clatter away

Sending memos to

His waiting Ayurveda tip?

Did I see Sully

Whisper verses

Of encouragement

In his good ear?

Did I reach out and

Touch the stole

That enveloped

You both

In unisexual applause?

Did I see you search

For another half crown?

I bet I did.

©Gene Barry

Published in the Stoney Thursday

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A Bawl of Malt

Nights when he’d feed from the

top shelf he was to be avoided.

He could introduce you to anyone.

One night I met the OC, same

name as himself of course who

shot Three Black and Tans and I

received a lesson on how to hate

dead men and out of date systems.

That night he stared into it for a

few lifetimes, the drop with the

extra ‘e’ that is; the older barmaid

called it the Devil’s Spit and him the

Red Rager; he didn’t bother with his

alcoholic mantras and lessons, his

verbal dribbling and the shouts.

He saved them for the walk home.

Lifting the coffin in through his

narrow low-ceiling hallway was a

first for me; ‘Berthold Brecht Poems

1913-1956’ sat unfinished on a table.

At the funeral the Red Rager wasn’t

mentioned by anyone and late in the

evening with seasoned elbows we

climbed and danced with cloven feet.

©Gene Barry

Published in The  North American Quarterly

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Circumnavigating

Kazumi familiarises herself with words

with new meanings too big for her to reason,
– nano-sieverts – caesium – irreversible –
asks honest questions about unfamiliar shaped

vegetables and queer fish with familiar names.

Since Fumio lost himself to suicide her

sickening mother dresses Inari with

luck-bringers, frequently pulls her family back

the 102 years to his birth year;
hides the emotions they daily discuss,
leaks tears for his wasteland.

Her grandfather visits upturned boats
in dreams where he trawls though
memories of catches and colleagues lost,
loses himself to small-boy memories
played in child-friendly fields.
On Monday he will lose himself
to another unwelcomed anaesthetic.

Meanwhile the masters strategically
seat themselves in the furniture of denial,
where decency is an unused noun
begging to be honestly served.
They sing press-conference tautologies
and blanket each other in minimize,
their verbal guns loaded with excuses.

©Gene Barry

Published in Fukishima Japan

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The Splinter

There is always

a splinter

that oozes

its way in

and delivers

itself at ease

without notice

to the point of

non-retrieval.

The pain

is constant

and has breakfast

lunch and dinner

with pills

pleads and pangs.

Small-girl

inabilities

book in

naturally

and disabilities

bend and sway

nurse in fear

set life

to the temperature

of self-rejection.

There is always

a wedding

where unknowns

invade

with Oscar attitudes

and there is always

a girl

getting married

who naturally

wishes her frame

and memories

were younger

than a time

that hurts

so through

the turmoil

she finally

wife speaks

to a husband,

refers to that

nondescripted Uncle

as a paedophile

and no longer

to herself

as The Splinter.

©Gene Barry

Published in The Toronto Quarterly Canada

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Stuffing Hanks

One day I will cry forever.
Not like a terrace loser,
or a baby-faced softy,
you know, a terminal cry.
I will stoke my engine with
nights-without-sleep and invasions,
childhood floggings and hidden wounds,
attacks and black-suited fiends.
I won’t forget to douse the unexpected
with rivers of anal blood and
floods of small-boy tears.
I will hold up all of those walls
I’ve fallen off and hidden behind
with screaming wrongs
and decorate my sky
with pointing children’s fingers.
A cortege of forbidden questions
will at last assemble
and trod with notice
to a brand new place of old
where every squeezed-open
pair of perfect ears
will finally embrace
my slowest form of death.
And they will no longer speak of the
odd-little-boy who grew to be
that strange-kind-of-fella,
always the loner decorating corners,
the weirdo and the dark horse
and I will meet the dark father
dressed in dresses from the dark box,
the groomer of my un-lived life.
I will wear my coat of fury and
beat and stomp and slap and bite down hard,
return the pent-up painful years of screams,
accuse and insult and verbally stab deep.
I will hand back shame,
stuff hanks of guilt deep into his larynx;
I will pleasure for my first time.
That same day a man will
fall into the carefully-planned
death of a family and each season
his only friend who understood him
will refuse to yield the buried
pictures of childhood he’d sown.

©Gene Barry

Published in the The Poetry Salzurg Review Switzerland

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A Different Heroin

Rotterdam 1990

One morning she saw no roads.
Street-fatigued,
she stepped off the tram
on Nieuwe Binnenweg,
a yellow cirrhosis painted canvas
at last giving that notice
she had always craved.

There was a gnawing at the

heels of her trodden wish list,

that same torment from her
equally torturing childhood.

So, she stroked
the underbelly of her ego
and stepped through
I.V. lines, blow jobs,
fibrillation and innocence
that had been climbing for
14 tormenting years
and whispered to herself;

bury me up to my conscience
in a wood with no name,
leave the headstone unetched
.

©Gene Barry

Published in Visions International USA

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Dear Heart,

Come down from that loft,

you’ll hurt yourself.

Green trains and old radios don’t walk away.

They lie beside posted forgottens, in movies

tailor’s mannequins and framed paintings.

You’ll not find a squeaking pair of gates,

or a heavy-footed roaring engine clutch there

screaming hide quickly, don’t be a crybaby.

That pool behind your tank has dried you fool,

and the worn beam that took four of your finger nails

is now evidence-free. I know, I’ve checked.

Every known surprise you’re opening contains

father’s deafness that kicked in when you

wore short pants and skin patches that

matched the purple jumper mother knitted.

The very same year his number 12s began

to kick little bodies and murder pets.

There are no replays correcting themselves

into heartbeats and happy mindsets,

just history planning a future.

Come down fool.

©Gene Barry

Published in Episteme India.

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In the Black

My mother’s breasts fed a nation.
Winning-bound greyhounds
fed from them on Saturday evenings,
Sunday mornings a parish of incapable

men with hangovers dangled from both nipples,
sipping and dreaming excuses.
They could finish difficult crosswords,
paint awkward skirting boards and
tell when lies were being delivered.
Cars found parking there.
There was no post code and yet
messages of needs arrived and were read

and ciphered unopened. One uneventful evening

I pierced a redundant corner, hand shaking
and lip quivering I tasted new fresh fruits
and expensive meat cooked perfectly.
Their built-in wardrobes oozed out fashion

pleasing little numbers to perfectly fit and suit

schoolfulls of the ragged owned by sad mothers.
The day a few musical instruments
came in tow, I became a millionaire.
So I strummed till bed time came,
when she read to me the perfect children’s
books they had earlier written and printed;
somehow, I always wished for a bicycle.

©Gene Barry

Published in FEKT Kosovo

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One ordinary day

an affronted stalker

flirted with possibilities

like a blown bulb

he was replaced

on an ordinary evening

on our new flat screen TV

a female psychologist introduced

the others to Acquired Uselessness

I revisit notebook days

while a trail of school children

with beards and breasts strolled by

all unpromoted and unprotected

-mad meek mean men and women-

all of them humming of uncared-for

brainwashed pressure ulcers

-the smell of acquired uselessness-

and I at their feet

like a cardboard wedge

balancing

©Gene Barry

Published in The Paradox Review Germany

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Dousing our Genoa

I.M. of Mary O’Dwyer

Tumble into my memory Mother

and let us walk that umbilical road,

where we will cast parental nets

and trawl through seas of love,

sail through oceans of understanding.

Come tune these heartstrings Mother

and sing my favourite childhood song.

Minuet me with little feet so light,

swing me into your loving arms,

dress me in the colours of happiness.

Douse our family genoa Mother

and ease the tiller from Father’s hand,

become that night watchman

who will track a peaceful childhood course

we drifted from in times of parental fog.

Do not leave me now Mother,

but bed yourself into my heart,

for I have a room there for you

to furnish with love,

memories for you to write.

I love you Mother.

©Gene Barry

Published in Nixes Mate USA

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After the Ambush

For Sienna and Mac

Dad will summon intrinsic acrobats

without ropes and nets and poles

to cross lifetimes through timelines

that await his blessings.

They will fish in the unsaid

and trawl catches of unborn needs

that he will nurture and feed until

those moments when retrieval

will nod requests of birth.

And like tailored suits

they will adjust themselves

to fit every timely moment,

the pockets packed with

messages wrapped in a voice

still alive as it ever was and

lovingly transmitting the necessary.

Meanwhile Sigmund no longer waltzes alone,

and who will teach those steps I ask

while Sienna and Mac as mummers

will hope through a Chaplin gaze

of stolen not-dressed futures.

Meanwhile Ted has paved over

Byron’s path of perplexing ways

and built a podium where he nightly whispers

I did not live to experience death,

it was but a mirror that sucked me in.

©Gene Barry

Published in Calliope India

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Misconnections

That knocker-less door set into

the façade of the wrinkled dead woman’s

imagination begged knocking,

sent out messages to those unaccustomed

to finding bodies and body parts.

She had left that notion ferment,

the recurring eldest one,

baked it into a loaf of torments

kneaded from a lineage of inabilities

and she no longer capable of slicing and spreading.

Outside, hand-less queue-standing men

from those earthly wrinkled generations,

where laughter was a lineage of bushels

bursting to explode into reality,

stood triumphed.

Inside, the history parked to ferment

was a sheer minuscule of itself,

a perennial conveyor of aftermath

strutting top of the family parade,

where pain blew an invisible trumpet.

©Gene Barry

Published in The Honest Ulsterman

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My Tyro

Come away with me mother,
out of your tongue’s range
and help me build a spine to hold
your indifferent broadcasts.
Lift the veil that is transference
and witness me one man,
a nomad with ringing ankles
randomly drifting
in a famine of openness.
Open your senses my tyro
and see me, one father
one son, one target.
Is there not an unarmed Jesus
lurking in your emotional doorway
waltzing with seasoned boredom,
basking beneath degrees
without parchments?
Nike’s un-shuffled deck
sadly sits with prickly wings;
you’ve picked a bitter pedagogue
to recite to the flock.

©Gene Barry

Published in Abridged Ireland

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My New Boy

Today he plays games that fell

out of his head many years back.

Bath ones he once taught me

before lifting me for drying

and all of the time talking.

Sanity is partially kept clean

by reading the plethora of

laminated signs;

Hot tap

Cold tap

Shampoo

Shower gel…

I repeatedly tell him

my hand clock is waterproof,

agree that uncle Jim

is in his mother’s kitchen,

only a fool would pay1s 3d for a pint

the horses are fed and that

aunt Margaret would be better off

here on the farm and not in America;

she’d be seasick all the way over

finishes every sentence.

These days he can be heavy

and neither can I lift his spirit,

cuddle and kiss him as I dry.

Emotions trot out in abundance

and announce themselves without

warning; gifts you could call them.

We failed to see the obvious

Alzheimer delivered before he came

to lodge with my father.

©Gene Barry

Published in Remembering the Present Ireland

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