Saturday, February 2, 2019


He walks down the street
this Groundhog Day afternoon --
meandering crow. - Jeff Barnes

Friday, January 25, 2019

Snow Shovel

The "golden shovel" is a fun poetic form to work with.
Here are the rules for the Golden Shovel:
Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire.
Use each word in the line (or lines) as an end word in your poem.
Keep the end words in order.
Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines).
The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.
If you pull a line with six words, your poem would be six lines long. If you pull a stanza with 24 words, your poem would be 24 lines long. And so on.
Since today is Opposite Day, I though I would share a golden shovel poem I wrote several years ago, since the poem it was taken from, "Watermelons" by Charles Simic, is a summer poem and my poem is a winter poem.
"Watermelons" by Charles Simic
Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.
And now:
"Snow Shovel" by Jeff Barnes
I don’t remember when the world was last green.
Snowmen sit in yards like fat Buddhas,
some with old hats on
their heads, looking stoic as the
wind kicks up. I miss the taste of fruit
bought fresh from the stand,
the gentle days when we
walked by the riverfront park and would eat
ice cream cones. Every Saturday afternoon the
truck would be there. The ice cream man would smile
when he saw us, knowing he would make a sale and
he greeted us as old friends. The sky continues to spit
snow and even so the cats want to go out
onto the deck and sniff the cold air and stare up at the
icicles hanging from the eaves like a predator’s teeth.

Monday, January 21, 2019


Middle of winter --
I dream of warm afternoons,
sleeping next to you. - Jeff Barnes

Thursday, January 17, 2019


Deep into winter --
snow and sky blend into gray
between day and night. - Jeff Barnes

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Cranberry Bloodlust

So, I came up with a name for a band: Cranberry Bloodlust. But since I am not about to start a band, I thought I would write a sestina about it instead.

Cranberry Bloodlust

Cranberry Bloodlust is the name of her band
She can vaporize you with her laser beam stare.
She plays a red guitar with her left hand.

Her singing voice is like coarse Martian sand.
She swirls and shakes her poppy colored hair.
Cranberry Bloodlust is the name of her band.

Her lyrics, some say, are a bit offhand,
but she sings them with magnificent flair.
She plays a red guitar with her left hand.

Some have accused her of trying to grandstand.
"Let 'em talk," she says. "I don't care."
Cranberry Bloodlust is the name of her band.

Many wonder if she is from a distant land
or maybe another planet, way out there.
She plays guitar with her left hand.

She wears red boots, red clothes and a red headband.
Red is the only color she will wear.
Cranberry Bloodlust is the name of her band.
She plays a red guitar with her left hand. - Jeff Barnes

Friday, December 28, 2018

Last Days of December: A Haiku Cluster

City bus crosses
a distant bridge in the rain --
end of the workday.

Highway is dotted
with cars like caterpillars
going north and south.

Full moon half revealed
looks as if it is wearing
a cloud as a hat.

Weakening sunlight
brightens bare trees on the hills --
two days past solstice.

Day before Christmas --
motorcycle Santa Claus
goes riding through town.

The only snowmen
are the inflatable kind
sitting on wet grass.

Delivery man
with a beard like Santa Claus
brings me my package.

Trees, as if abashed
by their nudity, now wear
necklaces of lights.

After Christmas trash.
Garbage cans line all the streets
with half-opened lids.

Clouds gray as the sky --
daylight wanes like the old year.
I am running late.