Artwork from the book - TIP LINE by Jeffrey Barken - Ourboox.com
Jeffrey F. Barken is the author of All the Lonely Boys in New York. Based on the unsolved terrorist attack that damaged the U.S. Army recruitment center in Times Square, March 6th, 2008, this gritty political thriller suggests a conspiracy among former Marines and portrays the beginning of the global financial crisis…
Jan 2017
Member Since
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Published Books

TIP LINE

by Jeffrey Barken

 

Wilted

 

The

wilted

flower’s

perfumed

pause

 

potted

still abandoned

for to winter

on the sun room sill

in soil dry forgotten

 

less

fragrant

than the fall

rain and mildew

in the morn

 

petals

curled about

a yellow stem

tease frost-bitten bees

too weak to hasten.

1

 

Violence

 

Disguise

this thought

not fit to read

 

Dark

dress

 

Dark

eyes

 

She

meant

demean

2

 

The Quiet Year

 

In

the quiet year

when there’s

no crime

 

no

hurt worth

mention

only lovely chimes

 

flip pages

then the

photographs

we’ll take

 

will

all get dusty

sure as time

slips fast

 

chapters

changing without notice

never turning

back

 

never

slowly floating

through the savored

pause

3

 

The Lure

 

Pillow

on the floor

where she slept

last night

 

blanket

by the door

where she

fled first

light

 

steam

from the

bath where

she breathes

morning bright.

 

path

toward the

lure through

she thinks

full twice.

4

 

The Hammock

 

Lazy

hammer

knocking nails

to wood

 

all

the

live

long

 

summer

swiping sweat

that seeps in heat

fatigue that dreams a hammock.

5

 

Tainted Verse

 

tainted verse

the curse we

never mention

the pictures

in the purse

still up there

in the attic

where she

wept and

leapt toward

heaven sent

sunshine.

6

 

Sweat

 

A secret born

of blasphemy

 

in the shadow

by the sea

 

fire echoes from the

mountain where

 

blind brethren gather for

to toast forbidden fruits

 

pile gold

unto false Idol

 

heaps of praise

unworthy

 

love must

trespass

 

or never taste the salt of sweat

sweet upon pert lips.

7

 

Stumbles

 

Far could he see

depths he’d

regret

 

leaps

forward

runs

 

falls

to his

death

 

8

 

Stale as Time

 

Hurried

housework

till the guests

arrive

 

dusting,

mopping,

every sheen

should shine

 

on the mantle,

flowers, card,

corked bottle

shrine

 

she sneaks

a spirit sip disguise

her mood with

lifted edge

 

his

cigarette

smolders in the

ashtray.

9

 

Seasons

 

Dispirited

by such lengthy

yawns

 

those who yearn alone

along the path

of least resistance

 

await eclipse

crescent light bent

toward dark in tilted slumber

 

eye the clouds that funnel

days through weeks

through years

 

interminable

scrolls of time forever

& call them seasons.

10

 

Pleasure

 

Despair

stares in every glance

and gland

 

Perfume

parts the scent

of sweat

 

Wine

lines the heart

with lust

 

To dine would be a pleasure.

11

 

Of Freight and Rust

 

drunken

by the candle light

in the dust of moths

 

contemplating

rye on rocks

those days

 

post work

down at the

old rust dump

 

waiting

for the

freight

 

to

clear

the yard

 

oils

stain the sky

industrious.

12

 

Of Debts

 

To the people

owed in all

and owned

anon

who

never compensate

for faults

they stole

to mask

their doubts

and chains.

13

 

Obsessed

 

Envy

pricks the spine

a spindle

 

spinning

vertigo unrest

yearning

 

yarns

and yards

of sorrow

 

sold

for pretty

cents to

 

sense

the scent

of cruel obsession.

14

 

Maverick

 

Maverick steered

the ship upright

 

and won his share of praise

yet there were times

he keeled far right

and darkened many days

 

though steady as

the heavens go

wholly was his shame

 

to live to see

his country changed

now nothing is the same.

15

 

Lullaby

 

Lullaby

of the rare

thorn

 

pin-pricks

in the

deep

 

nightfall

strokes his

scar-steeped

 

back

to sweat-soaked

bitter sleep.

 

Lullaby

of the spare

spoon

 

hiding

in the

drawer

 

silver

kept to polish

shiny as the moon

 

hidden

for the hour

lurking after noon

16

 

Lantern

 

Try

to keep the

light still

 

shiver

not or all

will spill

 

come

the crescent

in the clouds

 

silhouette

vignette

enshroud

 

hush

to hold

the flicker of the lantern.

17

 

Lace

 

That

feather dress

 

light as flight

midriff to limbs

 

frills to

knees

 

she soars

high heights

 

showing skin

enough to

 

own the eyes

of passerby

 

who wonder

at the contours

 

of that dark

tattoo that

 

hides and spies

between the lines

 

of lace traced

along her spine.

18

 

Jonah

 

Drawn

from static

wind-borne foam

 

wet

& wearing

on the soul

 

soaked

through coarse

wool scarf & coat

 

cold

& crying

salt remorse

 

stall

the sea

with one harsh look

 

call

the gulls to caw

the fish to leap

 

the

mighty whale to breach

& swallow lies up whole.

19

 

In the Fog

 

Moon shrouds

cool clouds

 

sliced

upon

the axis

shadow

 

doused

in white

dimmed

yellow

 

dusk

drawls

nights

crawls

 

cat

calls

bat thralls

 

hoot

the shrieking owl.

20

 

Happy Hour

 

Sing of

noontide

swell lives

 

happy hour

a little earlier

each day

 

neighbors

jamming

back porch

 

the garden

fenced by

evening shade.

21

 

Father

 

Father,

will you ever

lift your anchor eyes

& let tomorrow

promise laughter?

 

Take your olden days

& olden ways

stow them in safe albums

seek forever

endless turns

 

The sure uncertain

darkened slumber

where old thoughts

haunt back at you

cold scenes & faded pleasures.

22

 

Disdain

 

All the

reason in

the world

is shame

 

light

is treason

come

 

the

season

of disdain.

23

 

Damned Huck

 

The choices

he’d made

 

at best

were daft

 

the

brilliance

 

of

luck

 

damned

Huck

on his raft

 

Big

River currents

 

Wide Mississip

as the paddler

 

churning

all the mud

 

Shots fired

over bayou

 

will the

bodies float?

24

 

Crescendo

 

You keep silent

when I joke

 

sign to me

what I don’t know

 

is there music

building slow?

 

how your beauty

rises from the cold…

25

 

Conspiring

 

dim the lights now

I’ll drive slow

 

behind the hills

let us wind

 

our way

past midnight

 

find the field

that waits for us

 

and there

commit a secret.

26

 

Child’s Wish

 

trail

of cheerios

meow meow mix

 

pretty

little kitten

tricks

 

ears

perked, paws pert

whiskers slicked

 

scurries

toward the

litter bin.

27

 

Bottled Message

 

A longer poem

would wander off

The poet

can’t be trusted

 

So she jots her

coded thoughts

corks the bottle

throws it seaward.

28

 

Banter

 

Those

two chums

would chatter

 

banter back

and forth

as long as lunch

 

supplied

fine flavors

but turn the hour

 

twisting

thoughts in knots

idle talk dissolves to quiet.

29

 

Absolved

 

No muse

could star

his reverie

 

the flow

he saw

his flaws

 

and love

the flight

of time

 

his past

absolved

as all forgot.

30

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