Three Poems by Jane Barnes

Jun 27, 2021 | 2018 Winter - What I Want, Poetry

By Jane Barnes

What this Woman Sees

what this woman sees is a vision of open arms  a warm heart justice and good pay a sweet woman a brazen man with ears  who doesn’t  envision only men get the good stuff  like me a lovely man Italian probably who cooks and is a great wit and loves wall-to-wall chatter or a woman most loyal no fool in love with the human race and an artist a leader with a conscience and a heart here and safe all immigrants LGBTQ folks honored and then the vision of being a beloved writer people in the closet suddenly burst out happily I love my democracy 51% the majority the majority  and those of us who hide our hearts in a glass how to escape the trap of rape no more ICE and on my resume more at my obit will say by her writing women fell in love fell for all sexes each one a golden present Bill Wilson for some then stack up my poems and bills at right angles pick up this postcard blown into my New Yorker to resubscribe so how’s $40 not $120 me a poet on social security then they take 20 stories of mine

Vision of Visionaries

Take Joan of Arc who as a teen changed French history
she got France to make up with the British born 1412 how
time flies and what did she wear metal armor or a kind of
prom gown and then we have Lady Liberty Made in

Paris shipped in pieces to New York she with her torch
smiling at every immigrant and as to minorities like bis
my Colette and Woolf two of them with golden words
they’re on top of a mountain of talent expressed no

to take the credit no man laying a hand on a woman no
more wars no Nazis no words against Jews the words of
Jesus or Buddha and food and medicine for all I’m in
the moment I hope in meditation in the simple present

words a tough metal covering soft skin soft words if only
I weren’t so defensive in my vision
let me tame my devils may I aspire to befriend you
the lonely live-long night do right to one more great

Vision in My Apartment

you can be so depressed you think you’ll never escape
the assisted living nightmare and then boom some
non-profit shows you this divine one-bedroom with
eat-in brand-new kitchen, an L in the living room for
a dining room table the basic furniture easy to accessorize
like my French poster from Gordon my plants
who no longer go thirsty at my hand

a place where no one hogs the chat you know where
everything is you reach a point where any more
Things is too much like Christmas ornaments off
season clothes the grocer the fashion bags the point
where you imagine fewer things de-cluttering the 11
sweaters the 30 scarves the tools the toolbox the
plastic bin for the paints I haven’t yet used except on

I had this vision of an odd word execution of black
frames with black and white photos so I made them
but exhausted when I’m in bed below them first the
two nude ladies climbing into a Model T a girl in the
shallows of a beach with a net to dig for clams and
four Chinese elderly ladies in a sauna gleaming with
sweat then a Paris hotel with a sign Le Hotel de Paris

I’d be loved for my writing and college kids would
bring their wrinkled copies of my two dozen novels
for me to sign there I am in a pink cashmere sweater
tasteful black slacks patent shoes with kitten heels
and no more bad days again they will fade but no
longer kill me because I want to be free no impostor
like anyone else

Jane Barnes is working on a third poetry manuscript called “Deceptive Cadence,” which includes poems covering the last decade. Her previous manuscript, “The Inbetween: Poems 1982-2007,” covered 25 years in 250 poems. Jane’s short story, “Counterpoint,” is carved on a granite pillar at Copley Place in Back Bay, Boston.

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