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Three Poems by Craig Barker

– Three Poems by Craig Barker – March 6, 2018 – 

Bee Season Craig Barker
Bee Season
Strained       goodbye      outside of
        a bus station         in Baltimore.
Wrote last    words on stained window,
which she read         backwards as
YSAE TI EKAT, thinking        she got


the     message as      I               rode west
bereft      via variety        of broken      backseats
(half a week) arrived in           stoned Seattle
                weak   so staggered   to the first
motel met     with
R MS  AVA BLE, slept            well
mostly,          sleeping        alone


again.            Put together          a text
expressing         some regret      and in    the
shade          couldn’t quite            make out
the screen      /         message relayed
so wrote               Wrist you were Gere
          and so was        surprised


when she          replied         with
a picture of      Richard waving       on
the set of        Primal Fear.          Said she was
a          (pretty) sarcastic         woman,
added a                     sentimental Snapchat
from    a Starbucks             hoping to
ride my        luck             little     while


Jax Teller Craig Barker
Jax Teller


Pausing, traffic lights are a blessing on nights
like tonight, after hills like that one, knowing I won’t
get to go down, just the climb and then a little while
to balance my breathing so it isn’t keeping time
with the frantic flash of the front light.


A moment for contemplation:


I will die at the next roundabout, not today
(not today) but another day, eventually,
I’ll meet a truck at the merge, hit hard
and fly over the kerb, shatter spinal cord,
splinter skull, bone fragments embedded in brain.


There won’t be a second to squeeze the brakes.
I’ll lose myself.


The supermarket worker heading home will
call for help on the latest Smartphone,
knowing I’m already gone.


A crowd will quickly gather on the pavement
bigger than the one at my family funeral,
I’ll stun them all into silence.


No time for last words,
we all lose ourselves.




Thinking, this poem is my own death-certificate,
putting pen to paper, voice to word, ensure
the man driving from England to Scotland
will leave me ruined on Earlham Road,
his number plate will be the last thing I see.


I’ll leave behind three-books worth of poetry,
notebook full of Mandarin I gave up practising,
a record collection redundant by that point,
a somewhat boast-worthy Bukowski library
and everything else will only be apologetic.


Make sure my mother knows that
I was wearing a helmet, always did,


tell her not to mourn, that I loved her more
when I was out on the road – she’ll want –
but I won’t have ascended anywhere, just left.


Rebecca said buying a bike would be the death of me;
pass on that she was right, always was,
that when that truck crushes my skull
she’ll be the last thought I have time to frame
if I’m granted the smallest additional moment.


Fitting, that she should be the one to spark
the synapses before they sever forever,
just before the endless black, longer
than the temporary black that first night when
I only found her lips because she was breathing


so damn heavy underneath the underpass
like she’d just cycled through a cyclone up the hill
that’s destined to come a half-mile before the kill.
That first night, and every subsequent night
was more than I ever deserved, or imagined.


Tell her that, when I made that call from Texas,
it was with only the best of intentions.


Just make sure she doesn’t read “Daughters,”
I couldn’t bear it, even in life I owed her more.




Moving on, I could well be wrong, so
call this oncoming collision a hunch,
call it not-so-bad-at-least-it-was-quick.


It’ll be okay that I never get published.
I’ll be at my most poetic when the best of me
is soaking into the concrete.


It’s how Jax Teller went, a biker’s death –
no regrets – he was a half-decent
father by the end, was survived by.


I am not and never will be a son of anarchy,
but I used to internally defy death daily,
now it only crosses my mind at traffic lights.


Call it progress, call it poignant,
call it creative writing, call my father first.


You might have to try him twice


At a Cost Craig Barker
At A Cost
They don’t stock Gary Snyder in the bookshops here
so I’ve started taking walks in the woods on a daily basis
because it’s the closest I can come to good poetry.


Every morning I stay in the shower for an extra fifteen seconds,
which means that this time next year I’ll be living in the steam,
constantly cleansed to cyclically evaporate/condense… content.


There’s a wind farm visible from the bathroom window
but I can only make out the blades above the trees
as they work their way from nine to three repeatedly.


I’ve always wanted to stand at ones base and stare upwards,
watch the low swing and feel spotlight for a second
only to be slowly forgotten in favour of the clouds.


I hear the turbine blades put a stop to migratory flights
and wonder if Snyder might settle for the compromise
knowing how he felt about roadkill, clean energy at a cost.


Headshot Craig Barker

 About the Author
Craig Barker is currently part of the MA Creative Writing cohort at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. When not studying or writing poetry he teaches English and sells furniture, but rarely at the same time. He is currently working on a collection about the first dog in space, which both saddens and inspires him a great deal.




Read more poetry on Dreamers Creative Writing, like these 3 poems by James Brandon, Poetry Editor at Dreamers Creative Writing.