Two Poems
Rusty Barnes

Message for the Depressed

Think about it. The sky’s blue for a reason.
You can’t put holes in it unless you’re
a noxious chemical; if so, more power to you.

When you want to let the nuclear fission
of your psyche loose among the people,
feel free; don’t expect anything in return.

All your sadnesses are petty; it’s just not
the thing every counselor tells you. I suffered
through years of this, so let me save you time

(and money): it’s your mom it’s your dad it’s
your older sister and don’t forget queer uncle
Jimmy who liked you to sit on his lap when

you know he was never lonely. All of this sadness
is for you, just for being alive; aren’t you thrilled?
It’s the gift that gives up on giving back.

Poem on a Line by Ken Clark

Shocking black her hair is
a pointillist night mare

in a wet white field her
barn flittered with red asters,

a tin mug riding a nail into
the milkhouse wall like a fucker

at a point he cannot cease
and decyst her. That body

biting at her innards without
her knowledge; a yellow sludge

of vomitus in the kidney-
shaped basin you catch it

Picture the blue of unknowing:

the things you can’t unsee.
Go back to its beginning,

gnarl your teeth and break
the rood of proper behavior:

Say it all; say what must not
be said; say what you must say;

never stop those black teeth
from mouthing your fingers

in a grim parody of lust
even as she wicks away to dust:

love the dust and let it ruin you.
I’d allow her to ruin me too.

Rusty Barnes grew up in rural northern Appalachia. He received his B.A. from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and his M.F.A. from Emerson College. His fiction, poetry and non-fiction have appeared in over a hundred fifty journals and anthologies. After editing fiction for the Beacon Street Review (now Redivider) and Zoetrope All-Story Extra, he co-founded Night Train, a literary journal that has been featured in the Boston Globe, The New York Times, and on National Public Radio. Sunnyoutside Press published a collection of his flash fiction, Breaking it Down, in November 2007. MiPOesias published his poetry chapbook Redneck Poems in October 2010. In early 2011, Sunnyoutside will publish his collection of traditional fiction, Mostly Redneck. Find Rusty here and here.