Barbara Henning


Feb 29, 2016

on the lowest speed—up the slight slope—toward the center of Manhattan—smooth sailing up 6th Ave—raining and cold—under a plastic poncho—then downhill—in Death Valley—record rain brings wildflowers—a NYC policeman forces a man to stand—outside in his underwear—in the rain—I can do anything I want, he says—my Serbian dentist likes the bully—you’re lucky I don’t vote, he says—about Hitler—well he was listening to the people, right?—which people? I holler—It’s going to come out—Capote warned People Magazine—with a speed and power like you’ve never seen—Wham!—about Hillary—the dentist hesitates—she’s a grandmother—why doesn’t she stay home—with her grandchildren—you must be kidding—let’s talk about the Oscars—some people talk about Aristotle—while brushing their teeth—please don’t talk—just clean my teeth—Loretta Lynn didn’t mean to knock out her husband’s front teeth—click-clack-clack-clack—be sure to talk—to your physician first—then take all necessary precautions

Mar 1, 2016

gizmos and widgets—inventors dream of a big hit—I stand up to read—uh oh this poem was copied—word for word—from Julie’s—irreverent—I can’t speak—a little sting in the air—the party of rich white men—feed off anxiety of the poorest—only five students in class today—electoral aftermath—immune system shutdown—the KKK and protestors fight—the length of a city block—in LA—to be stabbed by the pole of a confederate flag—in 2016—on tv the bully snorting with the sound turned off—an iron stomach is a plus—another bully wants to be liked by the alpha bully—awww—definitions unclear and tests faulty—a siren from my back window—the TV warns rain and wind—colder weather coming

Mar 8, 2016

fleeing harm—a torrent of human beings—Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan—warm weather—do not come—near sixty in New York—Don Yorty points at me—with his cell phone—an archive of NYC poets—music blaring—do not come—a pro-bully rally—warm up the clash—between protestors and supporters—do not come—“We” have to take a look at it—do not come—Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate—the bully says—with more than minimal makeup—and a bit of eye shadow—do not come—depends upon—union activist—or reality tv—do not come—the Greece-Macedonia border—tear gas fired at children—men—women—do not come—1933—at Mack Ave and Altar Rd—my ancestors pose—stiff and prepared—for rent—extra rooms—safety indoors—children fed—2016—desperate—yet—do not come—do not come—to Europe—or here—do not come—my right knee stiff—do not come—stretch it out and in and out

Mar 14, 2016

damp, cold, windy—a two mile walk uptown—in a single fluid motion—the player shoves—his mouthpiece into position—soars across the court—rain will continue—emissions, too—in the next century—the shoreline will rise—three feet—then it’ll dry a bit—I head north—Lafayette becoming Park—be careful what you say—to Siri—I wanna jump off a bridge—she might give directions—a woman with Zika—the fetus may or may not—14,000 Syrian migrants in desperate condition—hepatitis A—a quarter-million children—some eat animal feed and grass—a high school teacher—interested only in his family—no more taxes or social programs—an ethic of self interest—lucky for a public sector job—before he got big— tyrannosaurus got smart—tadpoles in outer space survive—but come home with two heads

Jan 27, 2017

gusts of wind and pigeon feathers—blowing east and north—biking west and south—to the drug store on 2nd Ave—run into Elinor—a facebook group—downtown women—fighting the bully—flip it in 2018—coughing on 1st Ave—pull over—adjust to less oxygen—adjust to an unprecedented assault—on what is and is not—passing through the park—nearly every president—has a learning curve—but this one is exceptional—yes, sir—Mexico is our next door neighbor—follow the curves—around the benches—the large oak and elm trees—like skeletons passing through—like coming home—just glide in, around and out the side gate—overhead a squirrel’s nest—with an outer skeleton of twigs—see someone I used to know—wave—zoom by—on 7th Street in front of my building—take off helmet, glasses and lock up bike—open the door for a neighbor carrying a big bag—I like your haircut, she says—Philip Glass is happy when someone says It doesn’t sound like you

Barbara Henning

Barbara Henning is the author of three novels, seven collections of poetry, four chapbooks and a series of photo-poem pamphlets. Her, most recent books of poetry are A Day Like Today, (Negative Capability Press, forthcoming April 2015), A Swift Passage (Quale Press), Cities and Memory (Chax Press) and a collection of object-sonnets, My Autobiography (United Artists). She is also the editor of Looking Up Harryette Mullen and The Collected Prose of Bobbie Louise Hawkins. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches for and Long Island University.