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The Poems of Catherine Barnett

ae poetry1Editor’s note:  Catherine Barnett is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and a Pushcart Prize. Her first book of poems, “Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced,” was published in 2004 by Alice James Books. Her second poetry collection, “The Game of Boxes,” was just released by Graywolf Press. Barnett works as an independent editor and teaches at Barnard College, The New School, and New York University.

In the Cabinet of What’s Expired:
Salves, creams, dreams in their shiny metal tins:
the balm of yes
is now the balm of no—

But it’s a pretty silver hope,
and I still swallow it—
I let it wash down my throat,

ae GameofBoxes2my chest,
down my desire vortex
to my smooth wild feet,

I let it wash my feet—

 

Prima Materia
He still doesn’t believe in the soul
so when I say again
marvel at the visible, he looks away
and closes his eyes
until practicing what not to say
and how not to say it

I don’t tell him how his own eyes,
open or closed, bored, resigned,
consigned to his fate,
are extraordinary,
how even the vagrancies in their place
come to beauty there.

 

Old Story
The clock doesn’t have an amygdala
so it doesn’t worry, it tells
its own quick trickle-down story
of now and now and now until
neither yesterday nor tomorrow
is where it should be.
Welcome, traveler!
You might as well stay a while
and kneel to Happiness
and its hymns and its cross.

Photo: Jacqueline Mia Foster

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Monday, Feb. 8, is Aquarius new moon (19 degrees) and Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey (an imaginative, intelligent and vigilant creature). Monkey is bright, quick, lively, quite naughty, clever, inquiring, sensible, and reliable. Monkey loves to help others. Often they are teachers, writers and linguists. They are very talented, like renaissance people. Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the year of Monkey. Monkey contains metal (relation to gold) and water (wisdom, danger). 2016 will be a year of finances. For a return on one’s money, invest in monkey’s ideas. Metal is related to wind (change). Therefore events in 2016 will change very quickly. We must ponder with care before making financial, business and relationship changes. Fortune’s path may not be smooth in 2016. Finances and business as usual will be challenged. Although we develop practical goals, the outcomes are different than hoped for. We must be cautious with investments and business partnership. It is most important to cultivate a balanced and harmonious daily life, seeking ways to release tension, pressure and stress to improve health and calmness. Monkey is lively, flexible, quick-witted, and versatile. Their gentle, honest, enchanting yet resourceful nature results often in everlasting love. Monkeys are freedom loving. Without freedom, Monkey becomes dull, sad and very unhappy. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), the Chinese official title of Marquis (noble person) was pronounced ‘Hou,’ the same as the pronunciation of ‘monkey’ in Chinese. Monkey was thereby bestowed with auspicious (favorable, fortunate) meaning. Monkey years are: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.  

 

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