D.A. Boucher’s Tribute to Bill Barnum

Despite Bill Barnum’s longevity as a poet and performer here in Boston, his eccentric publishing history has ensured that there are more tribute poems floating around on the internet than there are poems of his. Oddball hopes to work towards rectifying this as much as we can by publishing  newer as well as  classic work from Billy the Bard  To whet  your appetite, we present a tribute poem that was written by D.A. “Da Butcha” Boucher and performed by Boucher with bassist Ethan Mackler (the two primary members of the spoken word/musical group Da Butcha ‘shoppe. This was recorded at Stone Soup Poetry on May 28th, 2012, marking Barnum’s 87th birthday. As Boucher explained, “This Poem is made up entirely of Billy’s lines, with some slight edits; even the title is his, all from his 1999 book, Of Rare Design, a wonderful book that is still available.”


Night is a Dog Seen Sidewise Looking Straight at Something Else
D.A. Boucher

A child,
gypsy,
tonight’s juggler!

If you look close,
only with a pure ether stare,
manacled visions still can see
wet valley from a darkened brain,
estuaries spill,
perplexing colors painting heavens skies;
think on sun like a rust-tipped brush
from summers rain green trees.

A horn strings notes as thin as silver rails,
silver train rails on infinity,
silver echoes from a year now gone,
rain around us fringes years.

Dance to the rag mans hand,
taste with fingers of our mind,
from fingers touching hearts;
a hand stirs, then stops,
a live thing, a lost hand,
purple knows hands that languish.

A hypnotist throws strangers,
thought will grow and what we’ll say;
we play at mirror games,
exchange one shoe,
God rides in a Cadillac.

The wire of infinite chance,
a dime crosses wires, connects,
voice, a leaf over wires;
a spruce springs up from silence,
playfully among ancient sycamores,
bark tall as night filling shadows,
laughter enters silence.

A gate opens,
grey day descends through night,
darkness tunnels night,
dark turns green into a deepness;
in darkness, what’s not seen,
silhouette cavity in the walls of night.

The Truth with stretch its line
over a night of lies
before time worn clocks melt down walls
while bees attack us
and our wide world
where we trace new lives.

This steaming ice inside skin,
swirling snow queen,
leaped into world nude,
moves through air that flows,
out into early morning dark…

Lone man standing on a bridge of time
in a city of dreams that wake,
a cockatoo of rare design,
afraid of nothing,
William J. Barnum,
stars and planets wheel ’round his mind
to crawl within our mind
and become the grass
we’ll never see again.

Photo © 2013 Chad Parenteau
Photo © 2013 Chad Parenteau



D.A. Da Butcha” Boucher
is heavily influenced by, Jim Morrison, Pete Townshend, Charles
Bukowski, Jack Kerouac Novels, William S. Burroughs Novels, and Allan Ginsburg’s short Poems. He enjoys reading, Emily Dickenson live, accompanied by a band ripping punk riffs.

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