Christopher Barnett
Excerpt from KotaPress Poetry Anthology Volume 3, 2003

On Fences of Never

I don't know what to do with my eyes
At first, you're one in a million of the post-chic
Donning what the magazines tell us
Dodging your imaginary Paparazzi
Your lacerating tresses stealing me to a still
Every eccentricity quieted behind a practiced clarity
Of course you're just as capable of pizza chin
As any pretty face
Next, I detect your cataclysmal communication devices
They seem to beep
Solve very important problems
Then I realize you have that hushed kind of sugar
Found only in the lonely
The kind with subconscious smirks
I see you smile
Your baby brown eyes
They start into melted chocolate chips as I wave
I suddenly have an urge to help
To run with you
Cook with you
But I'm still picking my nose
Squawking claptrap
Admiring from the closest far I can
I'm suddenly converted into the kind
Who over-rationalizes about chance
About the supernatural
And the strangely bizarre whilst strangely comforted
Knowing the mystical has happened to me twice
Twice my eyes have convinced themselves of you

Did you really think you could get away with it?
Fake your own death to come to New York?

You stop in at the Chinese butcher
Browsing the marinated death of ducks
Teary-eyed carnivorous
A gumball pops out
You arc it in your mouth
Wave to a brash clerk with a teal tongue
And leave humming Sondheim
Next you chew the fat with bag ladies
Like you were made of bags and all things pure

Next you kick a street rock
Delighted this rock has kept up with you
You don't hear your phone ringing
They miss you, Natalie
All of them
But I won't tell a soul
The secret is safe
I won't tell that you chew gum cow loud
That I saw you last night under the streetlights
Status electric under an active rain

I guess we're not in control
Or even at the wheel
But it feels real
And my right now is telling me you're in it
Doesn't it feel good to be alive?
That the quintessence of divine virtue is inbuilt
That the timeless immediacy of "but it could happen" Happens?
That the kind of meaning we all lose the gist of
Until we finally define ourselves

Downtown for boots and your prissy button rouge
Step princess step
Of limited range but of heart tugging amenities
Snivel girl snivel
You know you're a star ¦but you need space
It's understandable
Just like I am somebody's Chris Barnett
Or Kevin Bacon
And right now they're behind me
I guess about 5 blocks or so
Guessing, constructing, imagining
My entire life story
I guess we're all characters for each other
I'm just not sure how this will end
If I should tuck you in my dreams
Or hand you a kite and some popcorn

Long after the artificial promises
The heartfelt cocktails
You just slipped
But right before
You were on the railing
Holding onto something
Something that let you go
And it felt good to yell and yow
Into a sky so immaculate
You could die
Now it's just you and Sondheim
Rolling on like some anonymous parade
While the holidays
The fireworks
The affairs
The frugality
The fearful confusion
And the normalcy of an innocent city
Lingers around the edges of your smallness

A passing drunk recognizes you
He'll enter a bar singing
Everyone will think he is just a mad bum
Yet what his beautifully mucky head knows
Could turn the world upside down
He will drink until he cannot stand or speak
And it will be just before puke as he ventures to tell the world who he saw
And upon hearing his zealous discourse the world will pass him off as a drunkard
He will plead, kick, flail, and stomp like an irate child
Until he passes out burped
The next morning
With all his recollection blurred
And his headache needing attention
He'll cry a lot
Not because he has forgotten
But because he cannot remember
See you around, Natalie

Author Bio
I am Chris Barnett, a writer from Brooklyn, who has been head first-immersed in the corporate sea; thought it makes for some great writing time. I've been featured in a variety of online reviews; Adirondack Review, Can We Have Our Ball Back?, Eclectica, and Ken Again.