John Wall Barger
Did we not say there is pain every night? To be clear, you will fall asleep in the village every night holding a lit match, your soul a birthing canal in cold night wind. The lit match a blue note over a page. Oh man, it will feel good to drop the match. But the sheer power of holding it. The sheer flower of dropping it. It will feel sheer, dropping it. It will feel lit. Like levitation. This page. Child, wring yourself clean like a sock. That’s how I’d do it. Can you not see the char of the village? The char it will be? The faint pong of turpentine it will be? Burn the village. And when suddenly there is too much beauty, burn it. And when a trap door in the night opens, fall through it.
About the Author
John Wall Barger’s poems and critical writing have appeared in American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, The Cincinnati Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry, and elsewhere. Barger is the author of four books of poetry: Pain-proof Men (2009); Hummingbird (2012), finalist for the Raymond Souster Award; The Book of Festus (2015), finalist for the J.M. Abraham Award; and The Mean Game (2019), finalist for The Phillip H. McMath Book Award. Barger teaches in the BFA Program for Creative Writing at The University of the Arts, in Philadelphia. (johnwallbarger.com)