Seven Poems by Barbara Moore Vincent

In Her 91st Year,

Transcribed by her son, Stephen Vincent




January will open the horrible threat.

February will break off a few of the wicked.

March the winds will blow and frighten everybody.

April will break my heart.

May will come whisking through.

June is hard to decipher.

July will never stop to say hello.

August is jolly and happy for people like me.

September is hard to take.

October is full of joy for very few.

November marks the worst that could ever come.

December for many it’s love and joy

But not for me.


(March 31. 2006)





A brother in spirit is always there.

Generally he has something to say

Which is quite all right.

Other times he’s a horse

His feet are big & noisy

There is nothing you can do

To calm him down

Cause there he is

And there he will be

And when he is no longer there

We will feel sad about that, too.





He is better here than gone.

But he’s hard to handle

At any end of the switch:

We would rather he be here

Than he be gone:


And a life without a brother

Is hard to visualize:

I have been thinking about

The brother because he’s closely

Tied to my life

And my father just disappeared

Off the face of the earth

Because he found other places to park

While we were left moaning in the dark.




Mother is the easiest to get rid of:

You just shove here and push there

And hope someone will be at the other end

To pick up the pieces.




I have never been to Omaha.

Is that Omaha, Nevada?

That could never be.

Omaha, Nevada is about as

Interesting as a flea.

If you go there and stop

You are going to be bit a lot

And it won’t be fun, maybe sad

But that’s life, so don’t be mad.


New York?


You want to go to New York?

What do you want to do there?

Stick up your nose

Or hold up your ass

And wonder what in the world

Has made you so crass?




Have you been to Miami

In the hard light of day?

Have there been signs around

That urge you to stay?

It’s hard to know why

But the West is

so ingrained with you now:

You can’t take up with strangers

You got to keep going

And never go slow

It’s no place to dream

Or pretend you know why

It’s not where your heart

Happens to lie.




It all depends on where you are

And what you want to be.

Mostly people get pretty wound up

And ready to take off

But there are lines ahead of them.

They are not really lines

But indications of experience

That might be quite interesting

For those in line behind them.

“I guess you are still in line,” I joke with her.

Yes, I guess you can say that!


Blackberry, Blackberry


Blackberry, Blackberry

Tell me a story

When to begin

And where to go in:


Blackberry, blackberry

What are you doing?

Are you waiting in the corner

In the shade of the moon?

You and I know

That life is short

We don’t want to waste our time

One or the other on a broken heart:


Blackberry, blackberry

It’s just as hard

For that blackberry

To find his place to be

Loved and hated in the world about:

Blackberry, blackberry

Some of us are too full of words

The words that keep us from saying

What’s wanted to be said:


Blackberry, blackberry

Full and juicy

Just like the thing we like

Most about the kitchen

But it’s hard forever for these things

To come out in words

That are natural

That are not like we want them to be said

But there they are

And what are we want to do?


Blackberry, blackberry

Come look at my heart

It’s bleeding, it’s hating

And nothing seems to stop

Are you so unable

To stop by this corner

To tell me a thing or to:


Blackberry, blackberry

Let me go to sleep in your heart

You may have found a secret

You did not know

But then again your days

May just be unfolding

To find the outside world

That tells you that you may not have

The things you want:


Blackberry, blackberry

Tell me your tales

I have shouted my story

And there’s nothing left:


Blackberry, blackberry

Give me your heel

I will roast it for supper

I will make the story clear:


Blackberry, blackberry

Tell the world about

Tales still out there

To find and to be told.




Stephen Vincent, poet, blogger, essayist, and artist, lives in San Francisco. Barbara Moore Vincent’s poems and the contexts in which they were written are from “Art, Poetry & Dementia: Conversations with My Mother in Her 10th Decade,” an extended essay in progress. Vincent’s most recent book is After Language / Letters to Jack Spicer (BlazeVox,Publishers, 2012).  His mother, 96 years old, is still with us; although she still listens to poems, the making of new poems now eludes her.

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