Thumbs Down and other poems

by Christopher Barnes

Thumbs Down

A last debt’s also on the executioner’s skin.
The imprisoned stretch of paralyzed snapshot,
This would contort an abominable Xmas card.
Your chronic refuge,
Fooled by this Persil-white summoner.
Arteries are a burn, a whack.
No eyes startle the exposure time,
Denied is a predisposition to glimpse.
Watching itself.



Electrode is to calf
As megapixel is to eye,
A painstaking transformer.
Purple-mould injuries bludgeon the head
          Always this demonstrative shot.
The footsteps of your legend
Is ruinous.  Fuse-blowing vital chunks,
Alternating current hurled hangmen
Into regenerated undertakings.
Crackle goes an extra life.


This blanched anteroom’s irksome,
A shrine to Edison ’s trails
With cats and dogs.
Squishy seals, a queasy camera-lens.
Crabbedness of scalding muscle.
Water-salt that sopped electrodes
Is dust.  You have passed into a frame.
The body streams
As life empties.
By Christopher Barnes, UK
(from the Electric Chair poems)


White Coats enlightened us.
Extremities give rise to energy
(A charged switch
Stung yours).
A botch, by tears.
Cut-short.  No lovebird deliberates
Your cage in its pupil.  His Nikon, winceless,
Impotent to unsettle
Your lost-sleep eyes.
Cadaverousness engrossed that thick head
Into a knockabout bruise.


Some bio details…
In 1998 Christopher Barnes won a Northern Arts writers award.  In July 2000 he read at Waterstones bookshop to promote the anthology ‘Titles Are Bitches’.  Christmas 2001 hedebuted at Newcastle ’s famous Morden Tower doing a reading of his poems.  Each year he reads for Proudwords lesbian and gay writing festival and partakes in workshops.  2005 saw the publication of his collection LOVEBITES published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh.
On Saturday 16Th August 2003 he read at the Edinburgh Festival as a Per Verse poet at LGBT Centre, Broughton St .
He also has a BBC web-page www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/gay.2004/05/section_28.shtml and http://www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/videonation/stories/gay_history.shtml (if first site does not work click on SECTION 28 on second site.
Christmas 2001 The Northern Cultural Skills Partnership sponsored him to be mentored by Andy Croft in conjunction with New Writing North. He made a radio programme for Web FM community radio about his writing group.  October-November 2005, he entered a poem/visual image into the art exhibition The Art Cafe Project, his piece Post-Mark was shown in Betty’s Newcastle .  This event was sponsored by Pride On The Tyne.  He made a digital film with artists Kate Sweeney and Julie Ballands at a film making workshop called Out Of The Picture which was shown at the festival party for Proudwords, it contains his poem The Old Heave-Ho. He worked on a collaborative art and literature project called How Gay Are Your Genes, facilitated by Lisa Mathews (poet) which exhibited at The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University , including a film piece by the artist Predrag Pajdic in which he read his poem On Brenkley St .  The event was funded by The Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Institute, Bio-science Centre at Newcastle ’s Centre for Life.  He was involved in the Five Arts Cities poetry postcard event which exhibited at The Seven Stories children’s literature building.  In May 2006 he had a solo art/poetry exhibition at The People’s Theatre. why not take a look at their website http://ptag.org.uk/whats_on/gallery/recent_exhbitions.htm
The South Bank Centre in London recorded his poem “The Holiday I Never Had”; He can be heard reading it on www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=18456
REVIEWS: He has written poetry reviews for Poetry Scotland and Jacket Magazine and in August 2007 I made a film called ‘A Blank Screen, 60 seconds, 1 shot’ for Queerbeats Festival at The Star & Shadow Cinema Newcastle, reviewing a poem…see www.myspace.com/queerbeatsfestival  On September 4 2010, he read at the Callander Poetry Weekend hosted by Poetry Scotland and has just had a piece of Art Criticism published in Peel Magazine.


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