‘Amazon Prime Day’ by Wallace Barker


My little sister uses an oxygen mask.
It’s not clear whether she really needs it.
Some suspect she conned the doctors into prescribing it.

She keeps a dog named Janet confined
to a chainlinked pen and it shits everywhere.
Janet lives in squalor but no one knows what to do.

The other dogs have the run of a large kennel but will try to kill
Janet if they can reach her and Janet is small.
She can’t defend herself against larger dogs.

My sister lives in a single-wide trailer on my parent’s land
with her husband and no one is allowed to enter her home.
Probably because she is a hoarder.

I go home for a barbecue and see from across the driveway
the overgrown entrance to my sister’s house
and I see Janet in her pen.

We look away and talk about lunch.

Three Poems by Wallace Barker


The Farthest Mosque

smoking pot and marlboro reds with
the college prof who lives on my street
we’re listening to yung thug’s new mixtape
drinking beer he has a wonderful grassy lawn

a fantastic treehouse for his kids and
a chicken coop he built himself I’m going up
some kind of internal elevator the squirrels
are rampant on this sunny day we’re talking

about the federal interest rate what is that line maybe
its biblical about all the works and days of hands
I’m sure I’m misremembering but I think
it seems important I’ve had too much beer

once again and I’m high and these cigarettes are
making me woozy I think the cigarettes make me
more fucked than anything else the evening
is coming very soon I’m rushing into something

I’m traveling very very fast into the night

Gucci Linens

flowered sheets crumpled around your feet
in the morning you feel fine today bright
windows all the little potted succulents
hardly need water at all empty cigarette

pack empty bottles whatever that sort of thing
the lunar space station crashing toward earth
live feed cams shutting off at inopportune moments
even those mad ideologies murderously circulating

the body the lungs the air outside people are stooped
looking at mobile phone devices perhaps there
is a new trend app release or news that something
elegant occurred something good for people maybe

but what do I know about any of it I saw
leaves unfolding in time lapse on television
fireworks from the elks lodge pool fried whitefish
dark beer and malt vinegar the faint scent

of reefer on the wind returned home muddy headed
laughing and drank more wine watched mike tyson’s
greatest knockouts and bo jackson career highlights
fell asleep to awake in flowered sheets laughing to myself

Prayer to a Tiny African God

lit screen mischief that kind of thing
tweeting some far out shit or leaving cynical
comments on someone’s FB post what a joke

the ice skating rink at whole foods in the winter
sometimes the ice gets a little too carved up
seems a bit slushy really but I love the warm

chocolate smell of that place though the misery
of people living on downtown streets in America
is overwhelming they ask for money and I walk by

but I am not a monster at least I hope not
the broken granite paving and boarded up shop
windows the hard luck homeless what deep and

unfathomable well of abuse left them stranded
this way the night air as evening sets in the violet
sunset crown over the city the high road pool

with its skyline views and watery margaritas
the earth is cruel because nature is cruel some mystery
left me in this world and overhead some entirely different universe


Wallace Barker lives in Austin, Texas. He has been published in Fluland, Reality Hands, Have U Seen My Whale, and Keep This Bag Away From Children. More of his work can be found at wallacebarker.com.