Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Things You Do Not Say

If you took your heart out
of that brown paper bag
you keep under your coat
If you cracked it open
like the book beside your bed
that you read every night
Would it scream?
Would it shriek?
Would it sing?
What story would it tell?
What images would it project upon the walls
within you hide
and would you wish to hide them, too?
Would you quickly clap your hands down on its pages
on its song
lest someone hear?
Or would you hear?
Would you bow your head and offer
all the tears you've never cried?
For whom would they be shed?

What if you caught your mind
impaled it on a pin
Watched it lash and wiggle, creep and crawl
blindly bare its mandibles and lightly dripping fangs
What would it evoke?
What would it awake in you?
What response would it call forth?
What desperate and defiant acts would
play there in the dark?
Would you scoop it back inside your head?
Place it under glass?
Watch in fascination when you dared to let it roam?

But your heart is an unopened book
in a bag
in a coat
long hung in the closet and forgotten.
Perhaps you gave it to Good Will.
And your mind, it is a monster
you've been feeding every night.
You never meant for it to leave its cage
as you took the creature out
and watched it kill the girl next door.

What if you said the things you do not say?
The words that rest beneath your tongue
inside your throat
behind your eyes.
Would I know you?
Would I know you at all?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cain's Offering

I see your eyes drift to her again
lightly and ever so slightly
above the clink of glasses
the murmur of voices
the collage of background noise
with some dispassion I note your self-control
most of them do not bother to fight it anymore

you want to be with her
you are hoping to make things right with me
to reassure me
to reassure us
so you can go to her tonight
with some sense of peace

You are looking at her
so you do not see me
the tears pricking the corners of my eyes
the acceptance in the lines around my mouth
the weariness that has drained my glass
and left a bitter taste in my soul
I don't want your well-meant, token offerings
your sugar-cane, able placations 
Your once tender heart is bloody on one side
where it sits in the shattered, glittering shards of your mind
growing cold
though it's still beating
I share you like a public park bench

I would whisper to you of all the things I dreamed could be
of us, together in the great world
grand adventure
but you listen for rules when I speak
and your bloody heart adds them to her beat
while your mind dances with her to its rhythm

all I wanted to do was capture your imagination
I sit instead within this pretty-papered box beside you
leaking onto the seat cushion just enough
you feel obligated to apologize to our waitress
when you leave

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Deep and booming,
Blowing billows of blue sea,
Heavy under the undercurrent
And rolling only small and flicking
Waves that kick our boat and bump our
Knees together.
Your eyes glance up to me
And I answer with a question:
Are the continents beneath you and me colliding?

~ Adam Barney