I’ve not posted since January which is appalling even by my non-prolific blogging standards. I blame the PhD. There will be a resurgence of all kinds of creativity when that’s done-or so I tell myself. In the meantime it’s nice to publish a few poems written by other people like then below, written in response to the prompt I put on Facebook recently- to write a poem, quite quickly, in response to the word ‘Now’. So I’m happy to publish Ian Barker’s poem, below. I first met Ian some years ago when he came over to Word! at The Y in Leicester some years back. We’re both big Frank O’ Hara fans and he has helped me when I have had computer crises. Ian now lives in the US as you will read in his biography.
Heres ‘s Ian Barker’s poem in response to the one word prompt, ‘Now’.
It’s now, that time, well, A time,
a time, a moment, when we pivot on a thought,
when hordes are not gallumping to triumphant
canon, and the fields are not sown with salt,
a scimitar still swings against an unwilling neck
and a knight crusader summons dragon fire from the sky.
Now is a tragic page that is being written
by disappearing girls
and undiscovered mounds of
those on the wrong side of the powerful,
more bones and rags of mums and dads
and fading faces in dog-eared photographs.
Sure, you can build a wall, now.
But wasn’t that done before?
North against South (instead of West divides East)
and again, wasn’t that done before?
A whole confederation of reasons to fight,
brother against brother,
before the 13th change solved everything
and made the free freer and the freer free,
for a while…until now, now when
free means shoot me and where the free
turn a blind eye to the costs of our fun phones,
flip channels and binge watch and chill
safe from the slavery of zero hours contracts
and the struggle of a bare minimum existence.
Threadbare carpets build our burgers and
desperation means the chance to die drowning
on the shores of derision.
When humanity crept back into the height of fashion,
when compassion was the greatest show on Earth,
Born in London, England in the 1960s Ian grew up in the British home counties and Midlands. He has performed extensively in the UK and US at various open mics, public events and festivals.
In November 2009 he emigrated to Omaha, Nebraska, USA for just enough years to realize the Nebraskan winters require the fortitude of a polar explorer so he swapped them for the lead-melting sub-tropical weather of Dallas, Texas where he regularly confuses people by pronouncing everything in a “pretty accent”. He once freaked-out the local librarian by making the only request in living memory for a complete set of Kerouac and Frank O’Hara anthologies.
I’m happy to include 3-4 more poems from other people in response to the word ‘Now’. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org with a short bio and a couple of pics of you or related to the poem.