Five Poems by David-Matthew Barnes


Do you want to touch me?
Drape your hand over mine
Skate figures in my skin
With blades of insurrection
Burn and pore - initials traced
Of words we dare not say
You can feel it
When I reflect the neglect
Into your touch that trembles
With our youthful trepidation
We will learn to crawl
But never let go of our edge

Do you want to kiss me?
Have you laid awake at night
With visions of this moment
Curling smiles in your mind
And wonder
Why the wonder is more sacred
I will never tell
I will only blush
From this infectious blaze
Passed on through your lips
My crimson face
The taste of cloves
I do not want to breathe








Do you want to hold me?
Experience the cradle
Of a firecracker
Against your skin and salvation
Watch how it sparkles - and beckons
With the purity of a light
You crawled through tunnels
To feel a surge
You beg to be overwhelmed
A bestowed gift from others
We are vibrant, raw and full
Of good intentions

Do you want to love me?
Crawl inside my heart
Where you find the words
To this incomparable lullaby
Not possession or obsession
Just to run
Down the path, so lovely
Paved with nights of passion
Moons that make you drunk
Days of laughter and yellow
Sun that tickles your neck
Do you want this?

Answer me.


Take One

For A Baseball Star:

The feeble taper
Burns slow on the hope
Chest, charity, chastity
Beside my bed
Leak this light
It takes me by surprise
That we barely speak
Until we’re done
Here is the scenario:
You have a soap opera name
Intrigue and confession
That mixes mildly with
My youthful admiration
For those more glamorous than
The arch of a lonely dawn
The middle of the night
We partake
And then comes Texas
I am told about those
Baseball glory days
The pitchers of beer
The dorm life
The knee injury
And that’s why you’re home
But you never really came back
I wish I could tell you why
But I don’t know you well enough
Instead, we embrace
And I am disillusioned
Just like the scene before
The commercial break
When the secret is revealed
And the characters have
These stupid looks on their faces
The lights dim, the stars fade
And we do it again in silence
I whisper your name - remembering that
In my mind
I am the star
Of The Young and The Restless


Dear Mr. Sanchez

I am sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you.
I got your letter and I have been reading it for seven years.
You will never know all that has been lost.
More than time - the chance - of what we could have been.
My teenage dreams could not compete with 
   Your marriage
   Your fear
   My commonplace life amongst
   Civil engineers
I did mean every word that I said to you.
I hope you believe me.
I hope you remember me.
I'm still here -
Taking the world in, 
   Spitting it back out
   I am reminded by heroes and hickeys
   That I too, am human
   Satisfied by all that is sacred, however submerged
You found the will to love again
Not me - but someone close, safer
Someone who will not challenge your duality
Or request that you take off your
Wedding ring before you touch them 
   I myself, wear scars like scarves
   When I am constantly weakened
   By the danger that lies within
   The lonely, lonely side of love


My Hurricane

I’ve got a hurricane in my brain
And it’s begging to get out
Rage awhile
And cast something dark and dirty and delicious
Over your little burst of sunshine
Sweet potato life
Clouds - they are coming to crush
The field of soul
And crop of shit in which
You live. Unable
To make a single choice
Except to run
From anything that beckons
Or blossoms
I am so tired
Worn down
By rites and wrongs
The calm ticking of contemplation
The sorrowful whimper
Of the wind that
Breathes and beats
He breathes and beats
He beats me
Keeps me going, alive and aligned

Send angels.

It was raining
Just lightly and ever-so-slightly
Fingers on my pane
When I met you
A spring ago
When you had that girl
And she looked like Bridget Fonda
I tried to hate her
As much as I loved you

It wasn’t
Until winter
Working jobs
School, hope, fear
December remembers the
Bells, books
I think it’s coming
I think I love you
I think, I think
I think you murdered the frost
Did away with my moon
While you were at it

Summer shimmies in
My sentences are through
I took back and look back
To see the year that I killed myself
Waiting for you
But now - oh now
Are you ready?
Something gathers
Howls and creeps
I know it’s here
Like your growing near
My contagious awe
Your just and june
It will be soon
And still you can’t decide
It collects, it stirs
It emerges from a place
That you have never seen
Shuddered and shunned
It is dark and dead
Here. In my head
You will be gone
Blown away by all
That I am to become
I cannot wait
For this to end
My hurricane
My heartbreak
Your infinite loss

David-Matthew Barnes
Barnes recently wrote and directed his first feature film, Frozen Stars (adapted from his stage play), which will be released nationally this fall and stars Lana Parrilla (of ABC's "Spin City"). In addition, excerpts for Barnes' critically acclaimed stage plays Are You All Right In There? and Threnody are featured in both The Best Women's Stage Monologues of 1999 and The Best Stage Scenes of 1999 (Smith & Kraus Publishers, Edited By Jocelyn Beard). Barnes is the recipient of the 1997 Eleanor McClatchy Award For Theatrical Excellence (The "Elly" Award) for Best Original Script for his dramatic teen play, Somebody’s Baby and he was recently recognized in the National 2000 CNW/FFWA Writing Competition, receiving Third Place for his poem "Volatile".

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