I sat for my portrait from The Hungry Man,
he so desperate to be fed
that he feared I'd wolf his portion down,
so he limned me as a money-changer in the Temple
rubbing my little hands.
And once I posed for the brushes of The Pretty Girl.
By then I'd become rather grizzled and worn
and she so absolutely pretty I emerged
as a sort of Monster in black and white
with a satyr's indelible grin.
Oh, also now and then
I'll model for The Government Functionary
and in his work have my concept set
as a suspicious out-rider -- is that
a big bad bomb in my saddlebag?
And then my Beloved offered to paint me
in a pose derived from the gods
(this among all my portraits the most scary,
least authentic, for who can fill
such football shoulders?).
Now at last I gaze in a mirror
to study my face and catch its essence
in self-portrait, all jag and flow,
art-brut, gutsy though making small sense,
as simple as a boulder or a tree.
Living in My Socks
Truth is, I love my socks,
especially the long elegant ones.
What's loved hold dear...but not
with manic grip.
Dew feeds the grasses.
Enquire of its nature: "What are you?"
I'm simple now. I live in my socks.
Took eons to get here.
Known mainly as a poet/teacher, Barry Spacks has brought out various novels, stories, three poetry-reading CDs and ten poetry collections while teaching literature and writing at M.I.T. & U C Santa Barbara. His next book of poems, a collaboration with the lawyer/poet Lawrence Leone, is A BOUNTY OF 84 due from Cherry Grove in August, 2012. Over the years his poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, Paris Review and hundreds of other journals.