Three Poems by Christopher Barnes

Old Six Legs, The Giant


He’s the angel of the bottomless pit

streaking Harleydene, down by lamplight,

left all his grizzled brothers

with a scream. In this nightshade sands shift.

Orion’s belt stirs. Shadows grovel.

Star pins drop

they’re shivering obedience.


Ow Yow

(after Captain Beefheart’s Rockette Morton)


1. Rockette Roller


A nipple-eyed Merlin –

watch silk-twizzling megawatts

as he wheels the jump-skating rink.


Dynomotor-made – he flies past the ringside’s


gum-treacle mouth

wobbling from his face

to-the-other-side sssssshhhhissssh.


2. Roxy Rockette


When he hooks

over a fretting guitar

ear a crack,

a stomp in bottle-glass slippers,

specks go splashdown.


You can’t hawk big boy Rockette Morton

with his TV aerial antennae.

This beat’s beat

kachump ding-ding falump.

He chinks a jelly walk

through the undivided world’s

electric shadows.

A lip, a critter

squashing pretzels, and my,

how he sucks the cartoon

knobbiness of a reefer.


Oh, Mama, Ma Ma Ma!”


“I met a boy the other day,

he got barbwire in his underpants.”


A run-through wrings me. I guttle,

father-thought to his death-warrant.

Clean sweep, find guilty then reprieve.


Unromantic gapers curb.

Unfathomable office-blocks, lour-clouds above.

Paraphrased pluck dissipates.


“That boy is coming at me

ay ya ya…”


He’s chary, glimmering,

pertinent or indirect.

How to strike? Now? Never?


“I got a brick in my back,

I lick him hard upon his head.”


A flinch splatter-dashes his face;

control is hard-driven.


All quotes from “Barbwire” by Nora Dean


By Christopher Barnes


The South Bank Centre in London recorded his poem ‘The Holiday I Never Had’, he can be heard reading it on

He also read at the Callander Poetry Weekend hosted by Poetry Scotland.

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