Another Barb on the Wire

3 days. One family of 5. One campsite. 2 children lost (only temporarily). 7 miles hiked. 6 paintings completed. 3 paintings I wanted to paint but was thwarted by barbed wire. 1 global pandemic making things awkward. One long poem to show for it all...


I. Going Nowhere

Another Barb on the Wire
Hours to days
To months and soon years
We sit between these walls
Going nowhere
Slowly
Trapped in the microscope
The giant eye upon us
They locked us down
We loaded the van
A quick escape
Our desire
Another barb on the wire

II. Fair Wages

Stretching the legs
The will to live
Denied by the barrel
Of loaded guns
Pay to play
All the way
To the cemetery
A reminder that in this life
We all receive
The same fair wages
Both the great and the small
The honest and the liar
Each another barb on the wire

 

III. Spoke Too Soon

Screeching tires
Come to a stop
It's called camping
When your tent is a Ford
Frisbees and beer
Appear
Just before we discovered
The bookstore is in the hospital
On life support
And our youngest would not
Read another word
Until the new day dawns
We stood in the belly of the whale
And circled it seven times
As the dusk bled into the dawn
Setting out at first light
To fulfill our obligations
To the stars who spoke to us
But in our reply
We spoke too soon
And now we patiently await
The lifting of the clouds
Ever higher
And it's another barb on the wire

 

IV. Making Amends

The veil is lifted
The light is a flood
And I'm drowning
In a world torn asunder
Erosion on the western edge
Will rip its way to New York
In time
This is the first anniversary
Of the beginning
Of the end
It's a teacher
Like sickness
Like death
Like marriage
The lesson to be learned
It's about making amends
It's about that which cannot be sold
Because there is no buyer
It's just another barb on the wire

 

V. Burn No Bridges

We venture through the thicket
To where the logs once rolled
Into the ocean
Of Babylon's market
We stood against the wind
We lost a child
And found him again
Across the bridge
And angry
Burning footprints
Into the ice
We return by a different path
Stepping lightly
Into the dark
Past the hobo camps
Where a deer steps out of the shadows
And calls another child
To vanish in the trees
Search parties and satellites
We cannot force the time
She'll return when she pleases
Because she too was there
When we stood against the wind
Altogether now
We sing in a circle
We roast the mallows
And let them burn
More fuel for the flames
But not the chocolate
For it belongs to us
To fuel the fires within
Because after all
Calories are a measure of heat
And besides
It's better to burn no bridges
When it's only our hearts
That are on fire
Yet another barb on the wire

 

VI. Bridging Continents

Another gray morning
Greets the child
Asleep on top of the van
We'd be leaving today
Packing up camp
Sailing away
Like the Russians
When they gave up
California
In 1841
And after a headcount
Determined
There had been an extra
In their midst
Since 1812
He hid himself in this valley
Like a stowaway
As the mainland sailed
Away from the ship
With only his memories
Bridging continents
As he hacked out a new life
Through the brambles and the briar
He became another barb on the wire

 

VII. Spring in July

Unlike our lost children
The past is the past
It's not coming back
A ranch with no cattle
A park full of grass
With blood sucking armies
Hidden beside the path
A leisurely walk
No fences to hop
Just identical faces
Behind every mask
With identical fears
And identical tasks
Like Summer in Winter
And Spring in July
The feet they are blistered
And the situation dire
But all in all
And at the end of all ends
We're each just another barb on the wire