Looked like Pennsylvania and other poems by Nicholas Barnes

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Looked like pennsylvania

oh time, tell me of that hippie hovel. its tendrils of sublet satya fumes; heirloom quilts worn to bits by babies and smokers; and two coneys named mary jane and oreo. they used to reel around my crisscrossed, applesauced legs. it’s true, i remember that apartment more than my dorm room. albeit through a sad san francisco fog. a lattice of humane society wire. sophomore year. opaque year. unfiltered year. hardly a resident of any one place. hopped up on the chemicals i could find. today i’m the world’s youngest thirty something. still living in sin. in yet another box without a wedding band. trying to pen a hot chap of poems shaped like the fifty states. alabama all the way to wyoming. but some days i feel the paralytic gales roll by. retracing my steps, steeped in guilty regret. my memories coat my esophagus in seatbelt chaparral. my adam’s apple doth protest too much. methinks, sometimes i wanna cut my soul on some caustic seductress. instead, i think i’ll just don my sailor cap and paddle past the jetty. show me that great sprawling redness above and alcatraz far behind. then please let me go. cause nostalgia’s a silly word. and home is even sillier.

that’d be nice

no more cat o’ nine tails. no more
suffering. no more double standards.
no more excuses. no more pillory. no
more lashes. no more castigating
myself for what i applaud in others.
away with my earthflax-coated
emotional partition. gone is the fear,
the torture, the terror. no longer the
pig; the elephant in the room. no
longer the walking epitome of once
bitten, twice shy. no longer avoiding
my mosaic of intimate secrets. no
longer lost, disappointed, dejected.
i’m not inherently, genetically flawed.
i’m not sick. i’m not ugly, miserable,
pathetic. nothing’s wrong with me.
this boy has never been better.

dying unicorn

mourn my colors.
they’ve diminished.

faded, joined
disintegration sands.

i used to be new, mauve.

a crystal dangling
from the rearview.

i was a rosy,
pinkish baby once.

a vibrant palette
held me together.

made me whole.

iridescent oil
floating on a pond.

a fresh box of crayola.

i left the womb
dripping with colors.

but millenia upon eons
turned me into a fossil.

nearly extinct.

a sun bleached comic book.
washed out denim jeans.

almost see-through.
transparent, pallid, pale.

now, it seems old age
is all i’ve known.

i’m just a horse in hospice
who lost his magical horn.

Nicholas Barnes earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at Southern Oregon University. He is currently working as an editor in Portland. His poems have appeared in over fifty publications including trampset, NonBinary Review, and Eclectica Magazine.

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