Two Poems By Wallace Barker

Transfer Request

For Steff

I put in a request for a transfer because

the local office was getting to be a downer.

I filled out the requisite form to ask

if they would transfer me to the Alhambra

I made extravagant promises– I would definitely

create a proof of the Riemann Hypothesis and achieve cold fusion

I signed my name on the form “Extra Careful.”

I tied the transfer form with a red ribbon, strapped it to the leg

of a cow and clipped the barbed wire fence

so that she might run free.

I painted my eyelids black and performed chants

in my living room that I learned from the 14 year old

Satan worshipper next door.

I drove to the FedEx/Kinkos store

and mailed several sketches of the cloudless sky

to the Dalai Lama.

I am still waiting for a response from the HR Dept.

day after day in my house with no lights on

shades drawn to cover the windows

memorizing all the stars in the universe

in preparation for my journey.


Late night at our campsite

the children asleep in their tents

James passed out in the grass

I played Cure songs on my guitar.

The air felt charged with ions

prickling across my neck 

gusts clattered gear off the picnic table.

Heat lightning arced across the sky

followed by reverberating thunder

nervous conversations stopped

eyes scanning the horizon.

Our fire dropped to embers

then a sharp crack and a falling branch

knocked Amity in the head

when her husband ran over to help

she shrieked like a wounded animal.

Cries from frightened children

a tarp from the neighboring site

was blown into a distant campfire

I raced through the trees toward it.

And the darkness of nature

yet boomed across the sky

savage ecstatic

take me too

sprinting into your black heart.

Wallace Barker lives in Austin, Texas. He has been published in Neutral Spaces Magazine, Reality Hands, Misery Tourism and Expat Press. More of his work can be found at

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