Stefani Barber moved from the West coast where she was born, raised, & cultivated, to New York in 2006 to pursue a career in journalism. She now works in broadcast news as an associate producer, researching, booking, wrangling, writing, shooting, and editing. Her work has appeared most recently in Aufgabe #9. A chapbook, non eligible respondent, was published by TAXT press in 2006. Her work also appears in the Bay Poetics anthology (Faux Press, 2006), The Capilano Review, and Step Into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature (Wiley, John & Sons, 2000), among other publications.

Coincidence of something primal— the primal scene witness then fear— new York city

demands— an empty vessel / overflowing with oneself

& this was lost in the transition— from the one coast to the other— the one idea of oneself— to the other—

or was it a burial— this thing that I hoped would someday break the surface— the work in the meantime stamping—

A flight again, & the people there— I tell myself, this is the poetry of experience— believing all of this to be written somewhere—

(the dirty blue notebook almost forgotten & with half a mind to leave unremarked— its hiding place under the airplane seat—

because what I do— the harder I work at it— begins to take on that function— bridging—
confounding— the foreign landscapes— & people’s ways of being— forces a different self— 
to surface—

(is still a choice that has drained me— the best hours spent in pursuit of my material survival— & not the other kind— where I work for “free”—

invest in something— whose return is mostly intangible—

impossible to shake off— to reposition my stance— look inside at space—

Take those quiet hours— own them— 

without fear—

(I create a special morning — but that time of day — is not mine 

We are people— we are like birds

& the little books of verse on the train— in that, no different than the religious
at first it was strange to read this way— I believed the act requiring solitude— some control

over one’s circumstances— but that’s not how it’s done here—

so in the din— among the religious— little books of verse carve out—

songs from branch to branch, beside the highway— breasts of crimson & olive—

this is a beginning, a way inside, which becomes a way out, & to connect—

because being unmoored— exacts such a cost— one that somehow, seems easier to pay—

but when the little creatures land—

at the kitchen sink— long foreign drives—

banishing morbidity—

seated with my candles burning—

I know you can. I love you.

Is the time to be free.

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