Since 1996 Volume XXI

                                          Lynne Barnes
Lynne Barnes moved from Georgia to NYC in 1968 with a front row ticket to Hair. She lived in a Haight-Ashbury commune for twenty years and is a former psych nurse and librarian. Her poetry memoir, Falling into Flowers, was a finalist for the 2018 Eric Hoffer Book Award.




She is a dry sponge of need

sealed inside a plastic wrap of insecurity.

Look-at-me-love-me thirst drives her

as she crashes over and over again

against her own polyvinyl chloride boundary.


Was it lightning strike—

an abusive, alcoholic father, or death

of a mother when she was five—

or did the desiccation and sealing

come with living her life on the sandy beaches

of her husband’s and children’s oceanic lives?

Did she dehydrate by damming

her own rivers of creativity,

or by syphoning away the juiciness

of her true sexual nature?


Whatever the reasons,

her élan vital is desert-floor-dry

behind a homemade hazmat suit

she does not know is there.


She can see praise,

but it never soaks past her shield;

and she wants more, more,

but I am not brave enough

to deliver the pin pricks

that might help soft moisture

of compassion to leak in.


If only there were a Code Purple to call,

a compassion ER, a psych ICU,

some kind of emergency soul surgery,

or an alarm to pull

bringing brawny trauma fighters

in slickers and big rubber boots,

aiming the full force of their

milk of human kindness hoses,

dissolving her stifling, strangling,

see-through prison wall,

soaking her with a liquid quan yin

she is driven to bathe others in.


Copyright, Lynne Barnes.

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Mary Barnet


Grace Cavalieri

Joan Gelfand

Janet Brennan