Enter Home Planet News Poetry of Issue #6                        Page 9
                                   
Table of
Contents



Framed Photographs

In this enormous room
photos of the dead and the dying
brighten the walls.
Maybe it’s the glass frames.

Without names, without dates,
there is no telling which is which
or who’s who.
Within this population
there are the ebullient ones,
fiery spirits who cover the planet,
spread the word through their neighborhoods,
juicy news to keep the blood up.

The dying practice from the start;
their last breaths copy their first,
while the dead, framed as they are,
handsome for ever,
compose the room.

  Barry Wallenstein __
Topsy-Turvy

Wandering lonely atop a cloud
I fell into a turvy.
A cart pulled by three dappled horses –
one named Topsy
one called Heat
and the last one Miss Cool –
passed me by, the iron wheels
churning up a mist of dust.

So here I am,
in the mid-stride of my age
all upside down in love.
One day her smile is like a quilt
cozy warm to slip under;
the next day the grin askew
with lust and discontent
sends me into the spin of the tail.

What to do when held by such a spell,
with all those years behind me
and none to speak of up ahead?
I call her on the phone
and my heart catches and rings
with each brief bleat of sound.
Her voice trills in the receiver,
and I’m lost
again to be found.


  Barry Wallenstein__
Too Much Weeping

Well beneath his scarf
and smarting disposition
he knows to stop snuffling.

An excess of lamentation,
he knows, would leave him
spent and salty.

Hurry!
His ankles, though swathed,
suffer the cold.

Hurry out of the house
into the garden
where soft tendrils
extend and harden.

He feels a wet frond,
a fecund root;
he smells the rot nearby,
and with his thumb props up the wilted fern.

He stifles a tear
and rumples the cloth
that protects the skin
that covers his heart.

No one sees the man withdraw
to brew a tea,
pick up a fiction,
and begin a slow smile.



  Barry Wallenstein__
In New Orleans

Beautop Jackson, the owner of the house, carried a 15-inch sword sheathed to her thigh. Her
lover, John Miller, had a buck fifty* across his cheek, no left arm, and wore a chain with an iron ball on the stump to wave in its stead.

Before they met and after, he did worse than pick his teeth with a blackened pinkie. He smelled
bad too & had no influence, just a lover's swing--the danger spinning off the end of his callused
stump. But Beautop had him smiling and he ceased taking care.

On December 7, 1861, Beautop killed Miller. His "bestial habits and ferocious manners" had
changed her love to perplexity – a state clarified by a blade.

She never knew the newspapers would drag their story around the stands well into spring.

*A buck fifty=a razor cut that requires over 100 stitches to close up


  Barry Wallenstein__

Thai musician in restaurant,
                      © C.TvM: Thai musician in restaurant, drawing of a statue 2018