You are so soft, so small

under my palms,

which suddenly seem too large and

thick and ill-adapted

to play with

beautiful things.

And you roll on your back,

and let me touch you,

as if you’d never heard of

the crush of the world,

how it warps and

subdues the trees,

how it piles

the hunch backs

with invisible wreckage,

how it lowers everyone,


under the earth.

You let me

run my rash fingers

through your fur

and I feel your warm bones

and I press down, softly,

but adamantly,

I don’t know why,

perhaps it’s the

crush of the world.

And your eyes open

like two green, embalmed planets,

holding reservoirs

of your eternal hurt.

And the cry that

flits from your tiny life,

like a red moth,

is the cry in me,

in everything,

the primal loneliness

of just being here,

under the crush of the world.


Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014

Under the Earth

Who were you

to pass through this place,

naturally untroubled,

over the black earth

with it’s veil of sorrow?

Your footprints have left

their blazing scar

in the calloused skin.

And under that,

the bright heels of your soul

sink like arrows

that break open

the entombed past

buried so long,

with it’s coiling roots

and it’s ancient mines

of pity.

Under the earth

the mole twists free,

blind, pained,

armed with

the last remaining

claw of his fevers,

gropes at the crust,

traces your journey,

becomes your furtive shadow.


Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014

There are moments

There are moments

when I open my mouth

to breath

and instead I inhale

the full catastrophe

of this world;

the shipwrecks,

the starvelings,

the adulterers.

Then I weep bitterly

from my fingertips,

strip bark from the young trees,

and listen to the

rings creaking

inside their wounds,


oh so satisfied

with the cruelty of men.

And I make love

on my knees

with my sorrow.

I roar from the cocoon,

the mouthless moth

in the throat of my heart

and I’m banished

even by my own anger.

I am silent.

I want to make

this mismatched world sing,

to force the elderly

to dance with the young,

the victim with

the executioner,

east with west,

the tree with

the wood cutter,

the cat with the dog.

I shout from the

stain of my lung,

love, love, love!

You fools.

I pacify on my

bloodied knees.

I pacify

The dead snail

rattling in his shell.


Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014


Sand and mud,

sea water and volcanic ash

have claimed my streets

and my woman.

Even in her cleanest places

pips of sand invade,

and I must run

a fine toothed comb

across her vulva,

across her armpit.

City of sand

tears at my soles when I walk,

and the dirt and the chairs

and the billboards

of the young women

cling to me

where my hair once was.

Monstrous boys approach me,

dripping with water.

The water goes to the earth

in heavy clots

and leaves behind a face

of pumice.

I look away

and women heave past me,

smeared with makeup,

which leeches and

infects my city.

And they’re too young to be dead,

but the sand and the rust,

the loneliness of space

has stuck in their pores

and they’re old

and terrified at twenty one.

Take my city

to the dry cleaners.

Wash it, press it, fumigate it,

until there’s only

the floating fluff

and the white faces

of the bakers

in the pure fragrant morning.

Take my woman

to the beauty parlor,

tie her up, powder her,

make sure she

never grows old.

This sand and volcanic ash

clings to me,

and washes me for death.


Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014