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Wayman Barnes is a humorist/poet. He has been published in Funny Times, Comic Relief, Vox Populi, Digress Magazine, and Fetus Noise and has a chapbook titled, Titty Titty Caca. He once studied sketch writing and improvisation at the Second City and the Improv Olympic in Chicago and has performed at On the Rug, the Seattle Fringe Festival, the Big Stinkin’ International Improv and Sketch Comedy Festival, Autry Museum of Western Heritage, the Comedy Store, the Hollywood Performance Marathon, RUPO, and the Seattle Poetry Festival. He runs the creative nonfiction writing workshop at the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center and is a founder of Off Limits Improvisational Theatre, Opening Night: the Improvised Musical, and LitRave. He also owns a cat that he is very allergic to.


Where Does the Duck Go

(based on the poem “Where Does the Wolf Go” by Frankie Drayus)

I now know the color of your pies
The particular stench of coconut
The taste of flaky crust against my teeth
I know each piece you take from me,
I tell myself, there is still some milk left

I know 
That I am not dopey
That ice cream cones
That sprinkles and nuts
Dropped to the ground will cause most adults to 

Not want to eat 


I have gone as far with this binge as I can go
And still the cravings keep coming
That I cannot reason with my
Sweet tooth any longer
I cannot hear my voice beyond my own thighs
Screaming behind the cellulite
That what I really need to know is

Where does the duck go in winter
While I try unsuccessfully to diet
Through the holidays, all alone
Does it ever have the need to stuff its face
To hide quietly away and eat a cake
Rather than face the world

Where does the duck go
When you come, unexpected
Finding me too soon
Where does it go when it sees
That rather than talking 
To you
I spend my time having a few more
Of a candy bar?

Copyright 2001 Wayman Barnes

Corporate Coffee

Hemp wearin’ protester 
fights against The Man.
He’s preaching to the masses.
He’s telling us The Plan.
He’s against the corporations
and on that I must agree,
but when he starts attackin’ Starbucks
I say, “Listen to me, please.
It’s the insurance man, the taxman,
and those nasty cops.
These are the corporations
we really need to stop.
‘Cus you can miss your Starbucks’ mocha
and still get on quite well,
but if you miss your payments
You’ll soon find you’re in jail. 
They’ve got you hustlin’ for the dollar,
workin’ day by day,
to pay your corporate masters 
while you slave your life away.
So take on your McDonalds, 
your Gap, and your Nike,
but if you never fight the big ones
you never will be free.”

Copyright 2001 Wayman Barnes

How to Not Break-Up With Margaret

1. Never break up in the afternoon. Late at night is the best time. Or early in the morning before either of you have had your coffee.

2. Try not to sit on the couch. Too many good things have happened there. It will remind you of all the cuddling, the kissing, and the nibbling. You may be tempted to do these things again.

3. Remind yourself about your freedom. That is important to you. You need it badly.

4. Do not let her fix you a drink. That is how the two of you got together in the first place.

5. Say no when she offers to warm up some homemade lasagna. Forget how much you like it. You’re going to have to learn to live without it. Somehow.

6. Ignore the cat. Especially, if you love the cat. You bought it for her. No one stays in a relationship for the cat. Not even you.

7. Pretend she’s not wearing your old sweatshirt. Your favorite from college. The one that looks better on her.

8. Avoid looking at all the photos hanging on the wall. You may look happy in them, doesn’t mean you were. Pictures lie.

9. Stop listening to the person practicing the piano in the apartment upstairs. It may sound like the music from a romantic scene in a movie, but it’s not. You are not Brad Pitt. And this is not a movie.

10. Ignore the tears running down her cheek. 

11. Keep from holding her tight. 

12. Do not kiss her. Do not kiss her. Do not kiss her.

13. Never say, “I love you.” If you say it, you will never be able to leave.

Copyright 2001 Wayman Barnes

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