James Dean | Bartholomew Barker

Photo by Bartholomew Barker

He didn’t invent

motorcycles or leather

but he did die young

Today is the 67th anniversary of James Dean’s death.


Bartholomew Barker and James Dean are sixth cousins twice removed. The poet’s grandparents are buried within sight of the actor’s grave in Park Cemetery and one of Barker’s uncles rode motorcycles with the young Dean, both rebelling without much cause.

Sorta-Sonnet Pastiche | Bartholomew Barker

We published seven Sorta-Sonnets, a very intentional number. I then took two lines from each of the poems and mashed them together into this pastiche, which is another Sorta-Sonnet. My gratitude to all the poets who submitted and to Sammi Cox for her indulgence.

Sorta-Sonnet Pastiche

Punishment in the afterlife is a quaint idea
there is an abundance of talent
walking the mystery and illusions of being in love
I feel a little drunk

It takes a long time to die
millions can see the problems
in the light of the sun solstice rain you howl
or is it the other way around

I’ve become the curator of your museum
sweet summer memories held in a jar
transform into people with thoughts
and time drifts like ash

My eyes drink in all beauty
and lasso this scene and take it home


Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. His first poetry collection, Wednesday Night Regular, written in and about strip clubs, was published in 2013. His second, Milkshakes and Chilidogs, a chapbook of food inspired poetry was served in 2017. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2021. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.

Lost Keys | Bartholomew Barker

I always find my keys
in the next to last place
I look. I keep searching
between cushions, just in case.

Maybe I’ll discover another set
that unlocks a faster car,
a bigger house, a better life,
hidden under the coffee table
or in the vegetable crisper.


Bartholomew Barker is an organizer of Living Poetry, a collection of poets in North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit. www.bartbarkerpoet.com

Winter Begins | Bartholomew Barker

We’re all in trouble if the Sun
keeps sinking earlier and rising later

No thaw in the Earth— no planting in spring
no harvest in autumn just a night with no dawn

Snow piles higher— rivers freeze to their beds
and the atmosphere shivers solid

Leaving our icicles around the final embers
of the fire we lit tonight to entice the prodigal sun

Back to the sky


Bartholomew Barker is an organizer of Living Poetry, a collection of poets in North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit. www.bartbarkerpoet.com

A Boy’s Afternoon in Summer | Bartholomew Barker

The backyard woods of my youth
were a cavern of green
ripe for exploration
trees inviting me to climb
creeks daring me to wade
bugs to torture
and railroad tracks cut
through the trees like a wound
flattened pennies
ready for harvest


Bartholomew Barker is an organizer of Living Poetry, a collection of poets in the Triangle region of North Carolina. His first poetry collection, Wednesday Night Regular, written in and about strip clubs, was published in 2013. His second, Milkshakes and Chilidogs, a chapbook of food poetry was served in 2017.http://www.bartbarkerpoet.com/

Angry Afternoons | Bartholomew Barker

In winter I can wear more layers
but on these angry afternoons
of burning blacktop
sweat stains
and sunburn
there’s only so much I can take
off and not get arrested


Bartholomew Barker is an organizer of Living Poetry, a collection of poets in the Triangle region of North Carolina. His first poetry collection, Wednesday Night Regular, written in and about strip clubs, was published in 2013. His second, Milkshakes and Chilidogs, a chapbook of food poetry was served in 2017.http://www.bartbarkerpoet.com/

At The Beach | Bartholomew Barker

My castle stood resolute
ramparts thick and towers tall
seashell embellishments
and a broken sand dollar sundial
safe in the keep

As shadows grew longer
waves eroded walls
the tide flooded the moat

And I celebrated
an honest day’s work


Bartholomew Barker is an organizer of Living Poetry, a collection of poets in the Triangle region of North Carolina. His first poetry collection, Wednesday Night Regular, written in and about strip clubs, was published in 2013. His second, Milkshakes and Chilidogs, a chapbook of food poetry was served in 2017.

http://www.bartbarkerpoet.com/

For my Muse | Bartholomew Barker

Your caress and kind

Attention are the only

Medicine I need


Bartholomew Barker is an organizer of Living Poetry, a collection of poets in the Triangle region of North Carolina. His first poetry collection, Wednesday Night Regular, written about strip clubs, was published in 2013. His second, Milkshakes and Chilidogs, a chapbook of food inspired poetry was served in 2017.http://www.bartbarkerpoet.com/
Selected by the editor as a featured submission, December 2021

Reality Sucks | Bartholomew Barker

Truth can be bitter

Just like nasty medicine

But lies never heal


Bartholomew Barker is an organizer of Living Poetry, a collection of poets in the Triangle region of North Carolina. His first poetry collection, Wednesday Night Regular, written about strip clubs, was published in 2013. His second, Milkshakes and Chilidogs, a chapbook of food inspired poetry was served in 2017.http://www.bartbarkerpoet.com/

Doctor Verse | Bartholomew Barker

Don’t edit yourself

Poetry is the fever

Let it heal your mind


Bartholomew Barker is an organizer of Living Poetry, a collection of poets in the Triangle region of North Carolina. His first poetry collection, Wednesday Night Regular, written about strip clubs, was published in 2013. His second, Milkshakes and Chilidogs, a chapbook of food inspired poetry was served in 2017.

http://www.bartbarkerpoet.com/