Poems: Cornelia Barber

Barbie collage


I don’t know if you also have issues with confidence, or if you’ve ever been in a room with all your friends and they act like you’re not there and that makes you sad and other times it makes you feel really content; or if you’ve ever played alone in your room when you are 24 and pretended to be a doctor and your pillow is the patient and wished you still owned your Barbies; or if you pray to something, but carry around crystals and are afraid you’re an idolater; or if you masturbated 9 times in row right before you wrote this.

I’ve never done any of that stuff, but I know how you feel.

And I love you anyway.

Inside You

Inside you lay the recombinant code
To your imagination and to your future

There is an endless path of failure and
Of re-orientation

To create a whole creature, out of air,
And to love it, that is you creating you,

Little mouths recite little overtures
Of weakness because they are like aliens
Who understand nothing and everything at once

And then you grow up into someone who still
Understands nothing and everything
And are expected to get a job
Not worry about anything except taxes
And war, but obviously you’re still scared
You’ll figure out a way to hide it
But your weakness will seep through
And it will feel like groundlessness when
Really it is the most grounding you’ll get.

It’s okay to be sad today because there
Is a big world of sadness

No one is going to tell you that they love you
Just the way you want them to
You’ll have to learn to accept that
But in the meantime the rain outside is waiting for you
And waiting for you to dance in it.
Cornelia Barber is a poet and performance artist living in Crown Heights, NY. She has performed at Bureau of General Services Queer Division, Mellow Pages Library, The Cake Shop, and elsewhere. She writes at the intersection of Feminine Mysticism and experimental poetics. She is published in Luma Foundation’s 89plus project, Local Nomad, Lemon Hound, Prelude and forthcoming from Imperial Matters. You can find the first two installments of her collaborative all female and trans interview series up on Lemon Hound.

Submit a comment