A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

  Barry Spacks




       Turns out it's just a streetlight
            I thought it was the moon.






            What once was an atom
           we declare to be a string,
             and particles shall now
                       be waves
     & the elephant a tree, a snake, a wall.








The parent birds know how to nudge
young birds from the nest, but we,
with words? Better hush up the lecture.
What’s needed is strut, some louchey tap-dance
for them to yearn to imitate --
unruffled Dad mid-smile in Armani
or half-clothed Mom in original frenzy
worshipping in a Cretan cave,
smeared with the blood of Aphrodite. 


Barry Spacks has taught writing and literature for many years at M.I.T. and UCSB. He’s published individual poems widely, plus stories, two novels, eleven poetry collections, and three CDs of selected work. His most recent collection (Cherry Grove, 2012) presents a selection from ten years of e-mail exchanges with his friend Lawrence E, Leone. It's called A BOUNTY OF 84s (the 84 being a stanza limited exactly to 84 characters, echoing the traditional notion that the Buddha left us 84,000 different teachings because humans have so many different needs, are all so differently the same). His next book of poems, FRETS & STRUTS is due out in Winter 2014.


 One of my favorite souvenirs is a photo in my writing room of my wife Kimberley Snow when she was a killer-16-years-of -age in Greenwood, South Carolina. There's her beauty and fine spirit for me to contemplate, unchanged and forever.