Who’s Side Are You On?

We picked sides decades ago.

No asking of preference.

We climbed in.


Four a.m., this morning after the end of the world,

I raised my arm over your head

like a first date clue.

You came close and rested your temple

on my collar bone.


You wished our room was pitch black.

It would have been a long blackness

last night as the solstice yawned.

You and I hidden,

pressed together quietly awake.


You said you couldn’t stop thinking.

I fumbled for just one thought,

A deep one, for my arrogance

only acknowledges deep thoughts in the night.


A thin line of separation.


Center bed, no man’s land.

The space between us.

You on the right,

me on the left.


I wonder how many times we crossed

in cover of darkness?

How many times have we pulled

the other over?

How many times our back to back

disagreements ended in rendezvous?


I like it when we hold hands

as we stare at the ceiling.

Our favored hands threaded,

our thoughts lying on the pillow cases.


Let’s have a sleep over tonight.

Your place or mine?

Snooze Button: A Cairn of Consolation

I love naps. In fact, just this morning I took five of them. Each one nine minutes long interrupted by a guitar strumming tune.  The tune reminds me of a middle-aged man walking briskly around a block in red sneakers with arms swinging with great purpose. I swing one arm with purpose and with one eye I attempt to land one finger on a tiny square in the middle of the small screen of my phone. I consider it practice for when I go in for my DOT physical; Before or after or during the “cough” part I am asked to close my eyes and touch my nose with my index finger.

Enter the snooze button. It is a psychological ploy, really, to quell my anger about the elusiveness of enjoying sleep. While sleeping, I don’t appreciate it. Hours of time might as well be thrown by the side of the road. It’s like going to bed with a flux capacitor tucked under my armpit and the theory of relativity sitting like a glass of water on the night stand. I wake up hours later as if it were a moment. So, Mr. Snooze Button is a cairn that I tap on as a remembrance of something I deem as enjoyable. Each strumming jolt of my consciousness is pushed down to repress my anger about sleep’s illusion.

Maybe sleep is a myth. How do I really know that I have slept? My wife would assure me. She would. It would sound something like this:

“This is the scoop Jerry.

If ever I needed to listen to my wife it is when she says ‘this is the scoop’.

You want to know if you slept? Come on, does drool flow down? Does snoring rattle the pictures on the wall? Does twitching leave these bruises on my calves? I have been beside you in the night watches for 26 plus years and I will find a notary to sign an affidavit. You have slept and “while you were sleeping” I would often pull out our wedding vows to see if between the lines there might be a flaw that would aid in my exit strategy. But I decided to let a sleeping Barrett lie. I like you when you are awake, mostly, so I will continue these sleepovers O.K?”

I love naps.

Time for a Nap

We were tired.

We were asking for traveling mercies.

What was once “not yet” became “come”.

We waited with the Lord.

But we drifted.


We didn’t want to nod off.

She loved to watch us.

So many scenes of cracked light

upon our beds.

Her shadow covered

us as a blanket.


A role reversal,

our silhouettes longing

to rest upon her chest.

Our ears pressed

against her last heartbeat.





Parting is such sweet sorrow.

© Gerald Allen Barrett and parentheticallyspeakingin3d, 2012.



Sunday Rest

The sun yawned it’s roundness.

The cardinals sung unto the Lord,

and the stars faded into the brighter blues.

Another dark night of the soul receded.


She lies sipping on air

and rolls ice chips with her tongue.

A foot tapping and arm twitch

under linen veneer.


She, in her bed,

can’t even get up on the wrong side.

But she whispers sweet everythings

in our ears.


She sleeps in pieces

and heavenly peace will come.

Time stutters and mumbles

while we circle her.


The waiting room cools

as the mourning star moves over.

Evening vespers settle in

and we tuck her in again.



For My Mother.


© Gerald Allen Barrett and parentheticallyspeakingin3d, 2012.

Hall Light


She dozed off in a Stryker bed.

Her head tilted and cricked.

She mumbled and snored a bit.

It was an afternoon nap

and we just were.


Might I stay until bedtime

to tuck her in and say a prayer?

I’ll leave the light on and the door cracked.

I could be just down the hall

beneath that same light.


“Oh Father,

Come to her in her dreams like the daddy

she once adored.


Oh Jesus, take her hand,

like the big brother she once looked up to.


Oh Comforter,

Lay the baby Jesus in her dreams to hold

as she did each of us in a room such as this.


Oh come and be the light in the hall.

Come and be the opened door.”


“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.”  Psalm 4:8  King James Version


As you have wished to us many times over;  Sweet dreams, mom, sweet dreams.



© Gerald Allen Barrett and parentheticallyspeakingin3d, 2012.