david barnes

DavidBarnesSoon after my recent return to Australia I exchanged a few emails with Australian poet David Barnes. I’ve spoken of David many times. It was on David’s early online poetry website Poetry Down Under that many of my early works were published in the mid-90s. He’s had significant health problems over the past few years, but he battles on. I believe his poetry just keeps getting better and better. With David’s permission, here are three recent examples:








i do not sleep much anymore

unremittingly it is naps and snacks

pen in hand, inscribing words at 5 am

i have prayed for relief

there is no answer conversing with God

if thought

exceeds the velocity of light

would he hear

a single muted plea

it seems life

is a continually moving flash

an inside-outside ache

this leaves no thought

on how to spend

the days

its Easter holidays

and the only man

with the solution died

carrying his fated cross

i surmise

i will have to continue

carrying my own



between toast and coffee

the aftertaste lingers, like prayers

waiting for God


© draft 1998 : ® debarnes 2008




Picasso and time    


Picassos hang on museum walls

he had his time his time

a time of multi-coloured madness

his tormented short-lived mind so alive

paintings unrivalled over time.

scholarly academics

publish copious papers and books

as if they were Sigmund Freud

trying to dissect him –

he strolled though the countryside of his friend

stopped to paint lilies in the field.


His old Parisian world  

of stained ceilings tarnished windowpanes

lipstick smears on dead-end butts

ashtrays spilling over

blood-red wine stains and leftover

bread crumbs on tables.

A clock ticks and ticks telling time

the night’s discussions and revellers depart

the door closes for another night

another time in time.

outside they walk past the drunk

sprawled in the sidewalk gutter

paper bottle still held in his hand

water spilling round past him down the drain

is it his time-time is irrelevant

there is no time at this point in time


Picasso hangs ageless

like this World.




© debarnes April 2008





Intermingled memories

I still miss

your clothes,

the trail sprinkled

around the bedroom,

the times

we hastily undressed,

half-tripping stripping

scattered clothes mingled



kicked off shoes

resting close

to each other;

and after

all these years,

I still wonder

if I had a fetish;

for I was turned on

by the caress

of your toes,

up my thighs.

And now

only memories

of scattered

clothes remain.

© debarnes 2008

______________________    I’ve never met David face-to-face, yet I feel like I know him well. Keep up the great work, mate.

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