Gene Barry is an Irish Poet, Art Therapist and a practicing Psychotherapist. He has been published widely both at home and internationally and his poems have been translated into Arabic, Irish and Italian.
Barry is founder of the Blackwater Poetry group and administers the world famous Blackwater Poetry Group on Facebook. He is also a publisher and editor with the publishing house Rebel Poetry. Barry is also founder and chairman of the Blackwater International Poetry Festival.
As an art therapist using the medium of poetry, Gene has worked in hospitals, primary and secondary schools, NA, Youthreach, retired people’s groups, AA, asylum seekers and with numerous poetry groups.
Gene has read in Australia, the US, the Caribbean, Holland, England, Scotland, France and Belgium and as the guest poet at numerous Irish poetry venues.
In 2010 Gene was editor of the anthology Silent Voices, a collection of poems written by asylum seekers living in Ireland. Barry’s chapbook Stones in their Shoes was published 2008 and in 2013 his collection Unfinished Business was published by Doghouse Books. His his third collection called Working Days will be launched in September 2015.
Gene also edited the anthologies Remembering the Present in May 2012, the 2012, 2013 and 2014 editions The Blue Max Review and Inclusion as part of the Blackwater International Poetry Festival. In 2014 Barry edited Irish poet Michael Corrigan’s debut collection Deep Fried Unicorn, and fathers and what must be said and The Day the Mirror Called and MH Clay’s new collection sonoffred.
come down from that loft, you’ll hurt yourself.
Green trains and old radios don’t walk away,
they lie beside posted forgottens and in movies,
tailor’s mannequins and framed paintings.
You’ll not find a squeaking pair of gates,
or a heavy-footed roaring engine clutch
screaming hide quickly, don’t be a crybaby.
That pool behind your tank has dried you fool,
and the worn beam that took four
of your finger nails is evidence-free.
Every known surprise you open contains
father’s deafness that kicked in when you
wore short pants and skin patches that
matched the purple jumper mother knitted.
The very same year his number 12s began
to kick little bodies and murder pets.
There are no replays correcting themselves
into heartbeats and happy mindsets.
do na fir scartha
Shiúlainn go dtí crann mo chrochta
uair sa tseachtain agus chothaínn an téad
le súgán fear singil. Agus romham amach
teaghlaigh ag gliúcaíocht le drochmheas,
ceirteacha a gcuid maslaí á gcroitheadh
acu orm le gach dath faoin spéir.
Gan ghíocs gan ghuth dheintí é,
gan chor, gan chaint.
i ngan fhios don arraing péine a
chuir siad tríom. Go smior na smúsach.
Gamail gan rath amuigh leo féin
gan beann ar chúram clainne.
“Sinne” ina staic i ngach gairdín
nár linn, ag rince go fiata
i rith an lae sa ghaoith sin a
múchadh ina lios gan síóg.
Bogha ceatha a gcuid scéalta
ar ghob geabach a dteanga.
Níor dheineamarna na héadaí
a bheathú, ná an glantachán a
theasargan ón bpoll. Súile a
d’fhoghlaim teorainneacha na
cainte ón dtuiscint chúng a bhí acu
don teach, don teaghlach, don mhuintir.
Dhlúthaigh gach aon duine eile le chéile
lena ngáirí barbíciú, lena gcabaireacht
theolaí cois tine. Lasmuigh dár gcuid
clathacha lean siad orthu ag sméideadh
lena gcuid meirgí gan chrích
laistigh d’fhallaí a ndúnphort féin
For separated fathers
I would walk to my gallows
once weekly and feed the rope
with single men. And witness
the gawking families
unilaterally waving the many
colours of unity’s insults.
They would do it without
moving or speaking. Without
even knowing the pain they
had infused. Marrow bound.
A line of useless drones out
of sink with family matters.
“Us” was parked in every garden
that wasn’t ours, dancing all
day in wind that ceased to live
in what seemed to be the only
lifeless garden. Rainbows of
stories sticking out their tongues.
“We” never did the feeding of
the nylon, nor the retrieving
of the cleansed. Eyes set down
from conversations at both
boundaries that were lent to
what we now knew as a family.
Everybody beyond our ditches
seemed to gel with the laughter
of coal bunkers and barbeques,
to continue the unfinished over
the flapping icons that waved
them inside their castles.
A Different Heroin
One morning she saw no roads.
she stepped off the tram
on Nieuwe Binnenweg,
a yellow cirrhosis painted canvas
at last giving that notice
she had always craved.
There was a gnawing
at the heels of her trodden wish list,
that same torment from her
equally tortured childhood.
So she stroked
the undergrowth of her ego
and stepped through
I.V. lines, blow jobs,
fibrillation and innocence
that had been climbing for
14 tormenting years
and whispered to herself;
bury me up to my conscience
in a wood with no name,
leave the headstone unetched.
In the Black
My mother’s breasts fed a nation.
fed from them on Saturday evenings
and on Sunday mornings a parish of
incapable men with hangovers
dangled from both nipples,
sipping and dreaming excuses.
They could finish difficult crosswords,
paint awkward skirting boards and
tell when lies were being delivered.
Cars found parking there.
There was no post code and yet
the messages of needs arrived
and were read and ciphered unopened.
One uneventful evening I pierced
a redundant corner, hand shaking
and lip quivering I tasted new fresh fruits
and expensive meat cooked perfectly.
Their built-in wardrobes oozed out
fashion pleasing little numbers to
perfectly fit and suit schoolfulls of
the ragged owned by sad mothers.
The day a few musical instruments
came in tow, I became a millionaire.
So I strummed till bed time came,
when she read to me the perfect children’s
books they had earlier written and printed;
somehow I always wished for a bicycle.