Sunday, November 30, 2014

not at the table, please

eyes anchored
on empty beer bottles
amber sentinels separating
thoughts into fighting words
across a battlefield strewn 
with cheese curls, potato chips
cheddar and crackers feeling too thick to swallow
warm chardonnay souring on the tongue
a brother-in-law
volleys  “if Mo’ne Davis was white…”
leaving the rest unsaid
though apologies would come
the damage was done
one voice lost to the complicit silence of others

many more opportunities
to sit at some holiday table
together measuring appropriate topics
weighing platitudes against risk
a generational gerrymandering
of conversations clipped and
careful to avoid popes and presidents
wars and whistle blowers

and now, even Little League

what does that leave us
but to agree on the weather, I guess

though not on the science of its cause…

Barry DeCarli
On Hammond Pond, Goshen, MA
November 30, 2014
©2014 Barry DeCarli

Friday, November 21, 2014


must there be a gaping wound
with flowing blood?
must our cheeks be streaked with tears?
must  we stagger and fall?
then must we crawl before someone
reaches out a helping hand?

how obvious must the truth be?
how blatant the wrong?
when what is apparent is lost in the lie
we all become victims
of the desperation we seek to ignore.

for in making beggars of the desperate,
we become the ones truly in need.

Barry DeCarli
January 23, 1980
Charleston, SC

©2014 Barry DeCarli

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

similar wars

another war ending
more guilty feelings for not
being able to pick up a gun
grenade or flamethrower
or salvaging, saving
a photograph, a last letter home

some part of speech was lost
in this war
less protest than that one
where we may have put a daisy
in a gun barrel
and said “ make love, not war”
or as easily, cursed the soldier

surely the feelings are different now

my reluctance hardly balances
your willingness
my comfort weighs lightly
on your sacrifice
my desire for self-preservation
is too thin a veil to obscure your courage
my inability to know what I might die for
can not diminish your steadfast belief
that you were doing the right thing
yet, at the end, I am here alive
while you are a number
on another list of those lost to war
another name on a stone or steel memorial
who can say thank you, now
and have it mean anything
to your family, to anyone

conscripted or enlisted or not
does it matter whether this war
was any more necessary than that war
will it matter

if your death or my life was in vain

Barry DeCarli
Ferrisburgh, VT
December, 16-18, 2011
November 11, 2014
Copyright 2014 Barry DeCarli 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

moisture molecules

are any of them signs
we see
or imagine we see
some color
or reflection
some shadow

are any of them signs
we look for, hope for
think are real in the atmosphere
of our dreams

or are they just
ordinary shadows
things mirrored
in sunlight or moonlight
on a watery surface
on some concrete wall

most likely
 a cloud formation is just that
moisture molecules on a blue background
and not some semiotic dervish

not some sign that no one else can see

Barry DeCarli
November 8, 2014

©2014 Barry DeCarli

Thursday, November 6, 2014

fall time change

so much beauty
so little choice in autumn
caring enough to die
leaving the scenery in melancholy
shades of awe

when going always seems to be the call
when staying leaves you open
to the utter boredom you know
you’re sure to find

ragged branches
already disavowing the lost

and now, so much earlier
seeking refuge from the dark

Barry DeCarli
November 2, 1976
©1979 Barry DeCarli

From almost


trick or treating just here in my mind
hoping for more than toilet paper streamers
in the trees outside my window
or soaped and waxed window panes
like in the day when things were simple
and safe
no razor blades in apples
or needles and pins
when the worst I could get was a corn ball
or some home-made cookies

and now, behind closed doors with all the lights off
who will come stumbling down the stairs
 to disturb me
old, in my pajamas almost before dark
for just some dark chocolate
half gone on the kitchen counter

whose loss will it be
to get nothing
to give nothing
to see no witches, zombies
Princess Elsa

no lonely old man

at my darkened door

Barry DeCarli
Goshen, MA October 31, 2014

© 2014 Barry DeCarli