February 15-21, 2010: Gene Barry and Mary ElizaBeth Peters

Gene Barry


Bio (auto)

Gene Barry is an Irish poet who sidelines as a Psychotherapist He is a past Poet of the Week on PSH and has been published alongside Seamus Heaney, Matthew Sweeney, Knute Skinner, Paul Durcan, Desmond O’Grady, Ileana Malancioiu, Theo Dorgan, Gerald Daw, John Liddy and John W Sexton His poetry can be found in The Stony Thursday Book 2007 and 2008, Revival issues 3, 6, 7 and 9, Under The Radar, Euphony, University of Chicago, Cyphers, Irish Examiner USA, Origami Condom, Douglas Post, the Ranfurly Review, Mad Squirrel, Poetry Super Highway, Five Words, Emara, Dark Stream, Poor Mojo’s Almanac(k) Rebel Poetry published Gene’s Chapbook No Family Tree in 2009

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Gene Barry and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

When the Prophetess Passed

His arid throat,
balanced on their shifted family fulcrum
cried out for lubrication;
she passed, another basket
under her uxter
and blessed
and blessed his larynx.

Down Under

In Cobargo I told Margo that
cigarette packets come in 40s Up his tee shirt sleeve it was
clinging to his sweaty tanned
arm; another blind puffer At midday it got too hot for
even the hard men and he
removed his sweat-marked
red top When he left to get
two shots from the busty
barmaid I took the bulky pack
with me to the toilet and after
removing the warning label I
placed it on my credit card and
flew back to my country lane Three days I lay in hiding below
the luminous gun club sign;
stooping in the undergrowth by
the unappreciated pond They
fired two shots simultaneously
and the flapping introduced itself
from the near naked trees at
the top of the field splitting the
acreage in two The cold north-
east wind hit her first, her head
low set and pulling her as she
went, the gunmen tut-tutting,
their best friends barking I
reached up and stuck it to her
underbelly At the end of the
day they were both dead right.

Apple Trees

‘the written word is the most powerful tool we have
to protect ourselves, both from the tyrants of the
day and from our own traditions’

Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize winner 2003

She asked me ‘who are you’ quick as
a beggar would catch you after a few
pints and without a stir her radar eyes
were fixed and waiting Jesus I was lost
The man I wasn’t told me that she was
an old lady with a plastic file that held
nothing and nonsense and a little pen,
until I peeped outside of history and

saw her perched on a Persian rug her
toolbox full of useful words and rhymes,
of schemes and pleasures, of the little
girl that carelessly laughed out loud as

those eyes again had lit a smirk that
said ‘shur I already know who you are’ She got her retaliation in first and turned
and sailed away to visit the orchard that

was her and doubled on the puck that
was hers, ‘did you like my poem last week
and how much do you think I should pay
a fella to cut my grass’ Lost again
‘The one about the apple tree, should I
get the lawnmower fixed or get a fella
to cut the grass altogether’ The answer
never reached her giggling ears.

Point It Out To Me

I saw it first in their wedding photograph A hand-in-the-till expression that
Fingered them every time Stopped them from crossing over
Earlier they had written their first paragraph Taken each other for better or worse;
In words that is, in words Six decades
Of virginity between them a curse And

Later, years later their teeth pulled and
Their old smiles automated they would
Dodge the bullets of unfinished-business
That loitered in their sleeping range
Minefields were everywhere Before
I was tall I would often trace their steps
On the intertwining sets of stepping stones
In shoes as small as my awareness.



Mary ElizaBeth Peters



Bio (auto)

Mary ElizaBeth Peters lives in Waltham, Massachusetts, and holds a MA in Theatre Education from Emerson College, and a BFA in Performance Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Beth is a theatre artist and educator throughout the Boston area Currently awaiting a double lung transplant for cystic fibrosis, Beth hosts CysticGal.blogspot.com to chronicle her experience, and that of the hundreds of 20somethings with cystic fibrosis who are living through dying each year

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Mary ElizaBeth Peters and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Eleven: Evenings and Endings

You don’t want to talk about sadness.

I deliver a hand back to your thigh from mine
with the precision of a surgeon whose field is defined,
with the desperation of an actor finding his light
or the grace of a dancer slipping from sight.

You don’t want to talk about the past.

I listen to words from your mouth to my ears
with the cutting memory of childhood tears,
with the sweltering reality of adolescent sex
as our future becomes the thing that happens next.

You want to tell me about happiness.

I see your eyes shift from my face to my chest
with a boyish grin as you grade a visual test
with a diminutive glance and a transparent joke
how I’ll forgive your new love and the feelings you evoke.

You want to tell me about your future.

When my sad, precise but desperate grace
meets an angry cut of your juvenile haste,
a smug touch from your boyish hand
affirms the one truth you have yet to understand:

I don’t want your touching; or your talking;
or your useless ice blue eyes on mine
any more.

Four: Dinner-Time Discussions

Well, this is the way to move forward Sure, this is the way we’ll go Sleep, Eat, Breathe, and Pray

at the end of the day We’re in silence Should we spend more time in quiet?
We shouldn’t talk about it as much

as we did at lunch Every night, we eat dinner
after forgetting what we ate the night before We shouldn’t eat so late tomorrow like we’ve been

since-I don’t remember when Now, it is winter We put up a tree and watch for reindeer
on rooftops or in the yard across the street.

We light a star and sprinkle glitter We wrap packages to surprise We are mischievous.

Something magical should happen soon Something magical should happen Shouldn’t something happen?


Three: Afternoon Assessment

I’m out of control, so I’ve been told that I am controlling Do you mind? Tell me
What do you think I should do but also why is it your business? I don’t care what you think

We will pass that bridge when we come to it, so we should keep building Don’t you agree? Of course you do
You could come along, but did you want to talk or something? I mean, I’d rather you didn’t talk

Or make those faces like you don’t approve, so they reword and rephrase but say the same things Don’t you hate that? I hate them, I mean that
They’re looking toward the big picture but is it a picture of me or a lot of us? I don’t care what they say

I’m all over this research assessment, or am I so over it? I don’t want to read it, whichever
The wording is abstract in the abstract? I can’t stand when science becomes metaphor

Or when metaphors become science or math I don’t care if the line breaks and syllables don’t count out correctly and I don’t care to hear how a scientist feels People don’t pay him for feelings and they don’t pay me for science

But I’m still in control I feel like I’m in control
Just look at the data

Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter: