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Jo Barber Jul 2018
My stomach drops
when the car goes down a hill.
I feel like I'm falling,
but not in a bad way.
Like a sort of drug,
or midnight shot of tequila.
Warmth floods
my body.
Everything's okay.
If you hurt yourself first,
others don't get the chance.

All I can give you
is my empty heart,
my hollow love.
Like a glove,
it wears thin with time.

Beautifully broken,
barely belonging.
Jo Barber Apr 2018
Glaciers, white and blue,
fill the spaces between me and you.
In a torn, faded photograph,
a happy family displayed
as they joke and laugh.

A mother's smile,
a father's firm grip
on that of his only daughter.
The gentle waves of water
and rocks the shade of emery,
lay the scene for this sweet, fleeting memory.
A brother pulls down ******* his hat,
the wind blowing it flat.

Each face a sweet montage of a life lived,
the wrinkled eyes showing all they've survived.

Father's dead now;
the mother holds her son,
their love an unspoken vow,
the likes of which
is broken now.

In this frozen photo, all of this remains unspoken -
a family of which I now have only this small token.
This poem was inspired by an old family photograph that I stumbled upon. Feedback is always appreciated. :)
Jo Barber Apr 2018
The stars,
the moon,
the never-ending,
ever-expanding
universe.

Two lovers joined
in ecstasy -
arms wrapped,
legs wrapped,
hearts wrapped.

If one burns up,
the other burns with them.
Jo Barber Jun 2019
The days went fast,
but the nights moved slowly,
like a sad country song
or the Alaskan summer sun -
forever trying to set,
yet never able to do so,
leaving the sky with
the color of perpetual dusk.
Jo Barber Jun 2018
Tastes good, doesn't it?
The fire burns your throat
as you chug a shot down.
The taste ain't sweet,
but the feeling sure is.
The drunker you get,
the higher you float.

"Can life always feel this good?"
The answer's no,
but you refuse to accept it.
Jo Barber Apr 2018
Another, another.

These words bite and nip
at my heels.
You can't possibly know how this feels,
but you look at me
still with those disgraced eyes,
the likes of which
you don't even try to disguise.

You say it's all self-control,
as though that'll assuage my soul.
I worked my whole life to be good,
and it left me empty.

I'm an empty shell,
like Humpty Dumpty.
Someone cracked me open
and fried the yolk within.

So, when you ask me,
"Want another one?"

I'll say yes.
Jo Barber Apr 2018
Baby blue-eyed boy.
His softly curved lips
with the power to wreck ships.
So quick with a smile
that will never reach
those baby blue eyes.

Why so sad,
baby blue-eyed boy?

Can't you see
that those eyes
of yours hold all
the splendor of the sea?
Clams by the ocean side,
the flowing, green-blue hair of mermaids,
and soft, soothing waves.

Why so sad,
baby blue-eyed boy?

Lost sailors at sea,
and lovers
who will never love again.
Capsized dreams,
and stormy nights
with no end in sight.

Baby blue-eyed boy,
you may have
all the beauty of the sea,
but you have all the pain, too.
As always, feedback is greatly appreciated!!
Jo Barber Jun 2019
The world was small,
but the days felt big.
They stretched out before me
like big, beautiful balloons,
just waiting to be popped.

Like a child,
sometimes I let one go -
a waste of something good,
but it certainly was eerily pretty
to watch float off into the ether.
Thoughts? Feedback?
Jo Barber Nov 2018
I remember how the floor felt on my feet.
Cold and bare,
I walked the halls at night
for a warm glass of milk
before bed.
You were always up,
and surprised I was, too.
I liked your crooked nose
and your too-big teeth.
You taught me beauty -
how little it matters,
and how much of it there is.

I liked the way the floor felt those days,
cold against my bare feet.
Jo Barber May 2018
Cheeks flush,
red lips purse.
Eyebrows, thick and singular,
draw upwards in shock,
scandalized by my very existence.

Born in love,
and yet out
of all else.
Jo Barber Oct 2019
There is a greatness in the world
so fantastic, I can feel it
in the tiniest of moments -
in a strong cup of black coffee;
in the snow-covered mountains
so large and ominous,
it's as though they float;
in one of your gentle smiles or caresses;
in the small breeze of the clean air
that graces me each morning
as the harsh cold outside my door meets me.

There is a beauty in the world
so overwhelming,
I am sure I will never be able
to describe all its wondrous facets,
but at least the world is kind enough
to allow me to try.
Jo Barber Jun 2019
The puffs of air around me
were impossible to catch,
but I jumped along
and snatched at them anyways.
The beauty lay in the chase,
not the capture.
Wild things were meant to be free.

Beauty loses its touch if caged.
Jo Barber Jun 2018
Sun bounces off leaves,
hopping from branch to branch,
reflecting across the whole world.
Flowers bloom - red, blue, and green,
sending succulent scents to you and to me.

This soft breeze
floating from the bay
blows all my troubles away.

Book in lap,
Coffee in hand,
Please understand -

if I always felt this way,
life would walk with a much sweeter sway.
Jo Barber Jul 2019
Bodies seeking bodies.
Flesh longing always,
always,
for more flesh.
Kisses and touches,
once so sweet,
feel empty now.
Keep looking.
Maybe you'll find
something you didn't expect.

Maybe you'll even find yourself.
Jo Barber Nov 22
Brave in life,
but not in love.
Is such a thing possible?

Is bravery in the mountains
and foreign lands really bravery
or cowardice?
Am I hiding from myself
or growing into a new version?

I wanted to live a life of adventure,
but love always seemed to drag me down.
I wasn't afraid of death,
but I was afraid of love.
Isn't the opposite of death love
after all?
Jo Barber Apr 2018
As a child,
you watched me,
ever careful.
You held a mirror before my face
ten times a night,
to see if fog appeared there.
You stroked my hair
and sang soft songs.
With your lullabies,
my sleep was always long.

Now it is I
checking your breath
ten times a night.
Your pulse so shallow,
it'll vanish any second.
Jo Barber Dec 2018
Gust of wind
sweeps up leaves,
carries them to
the end of the street.

The biting air,
each breath turns to smoke.
On simple days,
beauty unfolds.

Lights sparkle
around every corner.
Looking for love,
finding it always near.

Life once again
becomes so clear.
Jo Barber Jun 2018
That first inhale
is like every small joy
wrapped into one neat package,
assembled in a nice, red box
meant just for you.

Flick, flick,
go the ashes,
the end burning brightly
like a firefly on a dim Southern night.

When my lighter blazes
beneath the light drizzle of tonight,
I'm reminded that life
can be so delightfully decadent,
so enchantingly effervescent.

The good times
are made all the sweeter
And the bad times -
the car trouble,
the failures,
and the lost hopes -
lose their edge,
and take on a shape as soft as smoke,
subject to float away with time,
leaving only a sharp smell behind.
Jo Barber Jul 2018
Roaring skyscrapers.
Businessmen shuffling papers.

Beautiful women with stilts for legs.
Maids making rich men's beds.

Runners swoosh by with grace.
Everybody a brand new face.

It's all too easy to leave no trace.
Dear God, what a place!
Jo Barber Mar 2018
Feel my body.
How it curves and lifts,
how it can be sweet or bitter.
Put your hands about me
and warm your body against mine.
How strong,
how rich,
how smooth I am!
I can reduce any man to despondency.
Once he gets a sip of me,
he'll never let go.
My scent sends you to tears,
I know.
How moody you grow without me!
You could choose tea,
but where would you be
without little ol' coffee?
It's a love poem to coffee. :)
Please let me know if any of the parallels don't make much sense. I welcome the constructive criticism! It's still a work in progress.
Jo Barber Jul 2018
Stars in sky,
Plane flys above.
Lightning thunders below,
Flashing and dancing
From cloud to cloud.
Silence and darkness,
Then an explosion
Of light and expression.
A Colorado summer night.
Jo Barber Mar 2018
Things fall apart.
People fall apart,
slowly at first.
And then all at once,
until they're just dust
and ashes.
Jo Barber Mar 2018
That ragged blue couch
Is held together by nothing
more than habit.

You walk towards me,
a warm drink in hand.
The steam floats up, up, up,
twirling and dancing
like the ballerina in my old music box.

The window hangs open,
a summer breeze blows in.
The air is soft and blue,
cooling with each darkening hour.

Do you remember it so?
No?

It was the last summer before the funeral
and speeches, each word with less meaning
than the next.
It was the last summer of sun
and silence so sweet.
Of iced tea and long walks through the streets.
The last summer of fires and marshmallows,
and of Patsy Cline, oh so fine.

It was the last summer
on that old, blue couch,
a summer wind blowing,

with you there.
This is a revision of a former poem of mine about my father's death.
Jo Barber May 2018
More wisdom than the psalms,
voice soothing like swaying palms
or the sweet melodies of Brahms.

Reminds me to wear long johns,
and that what is gold
once was bronze.
Taught me to be strong,
and to accept being wrong.

Has so much class,
but she's still such a bad-***
(even when I give her sass).
She's surely first class.
All the others she does surpass.

Through riot and loss,
she wore the cavalry's cross.
She'll show you who's boss,
all while reminding you to floss.
Jo Barber Feb 2019
As her final breaths escaped her,
she felt calmed by the epiphany
that peace would follow her.
Not right away, but it would come.
Sleepy Sunday afternoons,
and days spent without thought.
Her pain now was fleeting,
so corporeal in nature
as to be meaningless;
her mind was as white
as the snow in which she lay.

All was still. All was done.
And all was begun anew.
Jo Barber Mar 2018
She showed me kindness
not through words,
but with silence.
She lay in the grass
like that,
staring at me.
Effusive, complaisant, alluring.
Daring me to want her.
In her eyes was a challenge,
and I rushed to meet them.
Jo Barber Apr 2018
I dream of clouds
that never rain.
I dream of orange-colored umbrellas
that shade us from both the sun
and the downpours.
I dream of sweet, sandy shores.

I saw something in your countenance
that almost haunts me.
We all let ourselves dream
as much as we want.
I want to stop dreaming
and have the real thing.
Jo Barber Feb 2020
Everything turns to dust -
even you,
even me,
even the bond that binds us now.

I've had many waking dreams
and a few waking nightmares,
but I don't remember most of them now.
They were lost while I was sleeping,
just like us.

Whether I lost you in my dreams
or in my nightmares,
I lost you
all the same.
Jo Barber Apr 2018
Sometimes you hurt like a needle,
sometimes like a knife.
Sometimes I can't bear to look at you.
Sometimes you're all I can look at.
Jo Barber Jun 2019
My body twists in reverse,
Each foot perched above me
In an arch on the couch.
A bottle of gin lies to the side,
And a book flutters open
To a dog-eared page of a poem
That’s often been reread.
My eyes droop
Under the weight
Of another day done.
The work is over,
The money is made,
But it must be made again
Tomorrow.

For now,
We sleep.
Jo Barber May 2018
Lacy blue bra
strewn across the floor
of an empty apartment.
All is still -
only dust particles
float through the air,
undisturbed by human troubles.

Shades hang open,
streams of sunlight filter in.
The rainy dew
of yesterday's downfall
lingers still.

The scent of waffles
wafts up the stairs.
Visions of
blueberries and strawberries and whipped cream
fill the eyes, nose, and mouth -
salivating for more.

Eyes snap open.
A day begins once more.
Jo Barber Apr 2018
Like a dried out pen,
you lay before me.
    Perhaps you served a purpose once,
    back in the days
    where leaves still blew
    through these Cadillac-filled streets.
Vanished and forgotten,
like a goldfish
in a bowl without food.
      You'll starve eventually
      from the poverty of your mood.
Like a torn photograph,
the image of you is scratched, incomplete,
a deflated soccer ball
lying somewhere in the street.
      
      A dried out pen
        can write no more,
           but it does not negate
             the works it wrote
                      once before.
Feedback? Comments? I had trouble finding a good ending.
Jo Barber May 2018
Burn brightly.
Burn until your will is ash.
Let your essence cover the world
in wide, sweeping strokes,
scorching houses and forests as you go.
Let the fire in the pit of your stomach
devour your fears, your insecurities.
Let them be remnants of the past
and nothing more.

The red, orange, and yellow of tonight
will last forever.
Jo Barber Sep 23
The mountains powdered
with termination dust
hark the end of summer.
Soon the clusters of evergreens
will be coated in snow,
just as they were last winter.
The snow falls flake by flake.
It's in no rush to hit the ground;
it will melt once it does.
The fireweed has bloomed -
only towering stalks and wilted
magenta flowers remain.

The same type of peace
befalls my quiet life.
Slowly, I return to old ways.
Like footprints in the snow,
the tread of future days
looks much like those of the past.
Jo Barber Apr 2018
All indecencies, all sins
are forgiven.
Not by I, nor by God,
but by the moon itself.
The moon,
the only true witness
to the crimes of mankind.

The blood spilled,
the lies told,
the affairs had;
the moon saw them all,
yet he shone no less brightly
than before.
He, who knows
my crimes;
he, who tells all time.
He, who judges not.

The man in the moon.
Any suggestions for improvements?
Jo Barber Jun 2019
Four hours is a funny thing.
In four hours,
I can earn 48 dollars,
or I can shower and make breakfast
while flipping through the pages
of old books
and sipping my bitter coffee.
Four hours...
I suppose some could
save a life or maybe the world
in four hours.
But I cannot.

I can make 48 dollars,
or I can stare at the ceiling
and maybe think big thoughts
and not do much of anything
in four hours.
God
Jo Barber Dec 2020
God
Those sunrises which came so slowly in the winter
made me want to believe in God again.
The pink tinge of the sky and
the once green grass now covered
in silky snow, which would soon melt away,
made me want to believe in God again.

The whole beauty and synchrony
of the world coming together in nature
finally made me believe in God again.

I found prayer, not in a church,
but among the trees
and teeming rivers
and hidden lakes.
They gave me faith in the
natural way of things,
in something greater,
stronger, more pure
than anything I'd ever known.
Jo Barber Jul 2019
I feel light and fluffy,
like a pearl-colored cloud,
or like scrambled eggs
whipped to perfection
with butter and cream.

I feel joy everywhere,
even in the tiny crevices
ugly feelings try
so hard to hide in.

There's a sun inside of me,
always,
but some days it's overcast
and rains for too long.
Today is different, though.

Light and life are one, and
the sky and the earth
divine and bewitching once more.
Feedback is always appreciated. :)
Jo Barber Feb 2019
The injustice of death brought all other
injustices to the forefront of consciousness.
For a short time, right and wrong were very
clear and the world was very simple, albeit
false and irreconcilably wrong.
Jo Barber Jun 2019
The air is filled with lilacs and pine.
The summer scents stuffed into the air
overflow with old memories.

I miss my father.
I miss his smile, crooked and hard to win though it was.
I miss his love, warm and abiding.
I miss his broken nose and his gruff wisdom.

These, however, are not gone
but merely transformed.
I feel and see them everywhere.

The rain beats down harder now,
blurring my vision of the cloudy summer day around me.
I love the sound, quickening every second
until I feel like it might break the window pane
and come rushing in.
It reminds me of the day he died,
although he died in November,
and surely it couldn't have been raining...

Grief and time do strange things to the mind;
they bury some things and clarify others.
Prose poetry about my father's death and how my grief continues to evolve. Thoughts and feedback are always appreciated.
**EDITED VERSION
Jo Barber Jun 2019
The calendar days crossed themselves off,
one by one,
and the hands of the clock
ticked, ticked faster.
I did not know what I wanted,
but  I knew I wouldn't have enough time
to figure it out.
Jo Barber Feb 2019
A light sprinkling of snow
over mountains high above.
The way it's always been,
but not for me alone.
Why can't I return home,
even while standing in it?
Jo Barber Nov 2018
Home is not a place.
Home is not a person,
nor a season, nor a taste.
Home is elusive.
I can’t tell if I’m running
towards it or away.
I grow older each day,
aware only of
the confusion
that resides within me.

Home may not be a place,
But it is not where I am.
Feedback?
Jo Barber Feb 2019
The leaves change,
and with them the smell
of August floats my way.

The sweet-sour memories
of summer morph into
something new.

Plants die, but they will return.
Fiery red hues infiltrate
old life anew.

Summer love fades;
it wasn't meant to last anyways,
but it bloomed for a time.

The flowers wilt more each day;
in the wind the petals shall blow away.
Earth will later create a new bouquet.

For now, change is all that stays.
I switch between descriptions of nature and life. Both are changing and the speaker is unsure of how they feel about both.
Jo Barber Nov 2019
The dewy-eyed moon smiles upon me.
It knows I've returned home.
The mountains lined with termination dust
hark the ending of summer.
Soon the clusters of evergreens
will be coated in snow,
just as they were last winter.
The snow falls flake by flake.
It's in no rush to hit the ground;
it will melt once it does.

The same type of peace
befalls my quiet life.
Slowly, I return to old ways.
Like footprints in the snow,
the tread of future days
looks much like those of the past.
Jo Barber Jun 2018
Home is Homer.
Lovely summer aromas
of fish and salt;
visions of eagles and otters;
people who create and re-create,
forever giving more than they receive.
A city of art and style -
you'll go the extra mile
to stay in happy, hearty Homer.
Jo Barber Sep 7
I try to retrace my steps,
but the snow's already
covered the footprints.

I think of you in silence,
so I try to keep life loud.
I lack the will to listen
for that which was
only ever a whisper.

How do you miss a thing
that is long gone?
How do you miss a thing
that never was?
Jo Barber Jun 2019
The leaves all fluttered in imperfect synchronicity.
Like a dance,
unchoreographed,
yet so beautifully so.
The day was filled with flaws,
but the pure, effervescent blue sky
against the too-large green of sprouting trees
made all the rest melt away.
A hill that was covered by snow last month
now screams with yellow dandelions.

When humanity fails,
man may always return
to where we were never meant to leave:
to the blue, green, and yellows of nature.
Jo Barber Aug 2019
There's something about a kiss -
the way that you carry the taste
of them the whole day.
Even hours after,
it seems as though their scent
still lingers,
intermingling again and again with yours.
Jo Barber Sep 23
Of all the beautiful words
and people in the world,
I most wished to learn them all.
Each foreign language
became so intimate once
on my tongue,
like a lover
I was just starting to get to know.
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