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barry phillips

barry l. phillips is a lifelong resident of cleveland, currently lives on the south side of town, has made contributions to literary kicks and new horizons poetrypoem.com, attends workshops at the poets and writers league of greater cleveland, working on manuscript, looking for publisher. blp6267@yahoo.com


A James Cagney poem

misty eyed, dew covered magic carpet rides
into the past. those golden bygone days when
i'd act sick or even fake my own death to get away
from school by 12:30 to watch Warner Bros. gangster
movies, starring that stocky, cocky, red headed,
little irish thug from the mean streets of new york,
james cagney. cagney, the publics enemy.he could shoot
a guy and not blink an eye. he would lose the girl,
then let it and alcohol eat him alive. cagney was a
dog eating dogs. humphrey bogart sold him short in a
couple of flicks, giving cagney the old heave-ho. the
dirty rat.
cagney filled him full of lead. gat in hand. a glint
in his baby blues. gun smoke spreading thick in the
air. what a fella. a great guy. and a ladykiller.
was cagney psychotic or was he just a regular " jimmy
from the block, dangling dangerously over white heat?
i wanted to be the james cagney of my block, to be in
serious contention for a spot in the hotseat.
manhandling babes and bumping guy off so stupid as to
cross me. no redeeming qualities.
schoolboys' fantasies.
spud warned me, "if you want to play james cagney,
you've got to take james cagneys' ass whipping."


School day (At the beach) April, 1973

We were thirteen years old
the first time we cut school
Ron, Cookie and I
walked to White City
the beach of a million dead fish.

Ron and Cookie
waded in the gooky, gray water.
I stayed ashore watching
their pants'legs get soaked.
We got busted by a cop.

The cop took us to school.
Oden suspended us with
the swiftness, for three days.

Rons' mom grounded him
for two weeks.

Cookies dad
beat the living hell out of him.

My mother left her job
to pick me up
at the 6th District Police Station.

My punishment

the look of disappointment
on her face


Arizona moon

What else can a young girl do
besides sleep naked
in the desert, her body a

an Arizona moon
her nipples tweaked
by starlight/ her back

by the whistling
night winds

as she ponders

the smallness

of being


I'm waiting for the day

I'm waiting for that day
when every lie is exposed &
every paranoid false witness
is put straight & there is no need
to run & hide
from authority.
I'm waitng for that day
when all the little ghetto prophets
come out of their holes,
open their hearts & look into
the eyes of their fellows without
animosity, without distust &
disgust, but like a gust of sweet breeze
prophesy love-
peace & genuine hope.
I'm waiting for that day.
I'm waiting for that day,
when I take my leap of faith
& wrapping myself around a star
I'll hold on tight,
never letting go.
I'm waiting for that day
when I'll be good &
I'll be holy & life won't be
a bitter drop of water, but a fountain
of raspberry Kool-Aid flowing
without end.
I'm waiting for that day.



you are
a very exotic young woman

your eyes are two beautiful

there is no limi
to your depth


The tiger

The Tiger seated himself upon the throne
traditionally reserved for lions. Licking
well-fed chops, he beats his paws against
the earth. He is the master of rabid dogs.



beneath midnights'twinkling stars
dark faces rush by
in sync with beaming headlights.
faces wearing stupid grins and
come hither looks from
weary eyes set
in sunken sockets.
bodies creating a landscape
boasting scrawny thighs,
sagging tits
and withered hands
begging alms
of total strangers.





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