Tenth Muse, Vital Signs, Vital Illusions

Author Archive


Dragon Slayers: Prologue


UnCommon Senses



My eyes sip the lemon sea
I inhale its salty spice
and the sugar sweet bouquet of wild roses
I taste the juicy sunset orange
and the mist of farewell tears chills my heart
I touch the silk purple coverlet clouds
and smooth them over restive waves
I listen to the pulse of the cold blue star
and sing a silent song of longing
I reach up to embrace the gathering truth
I kiss the unabashed face of mother moon
I know the cause of every wrinkle
I fall into a sated state
Dream and yet awakened
I have a sense of time and self and place
I need only to savor the manna of nature
To sustain my spiritual life.


Bolt: Fear



Lessons of the Father


Vital Signs: “There Is no I”



Photo: John Howard Wolf

I looked into the misty mirror. There was no i. There was US. I looked out the frost-coated window. There was no they. There was US. WE stepped through the doorway. WE raised our gaze to the sky. There was i, dissolving in the sunset. There was they, covered by the night. Tomorrow the sun promises. There will be only US. No distance. No difference. No me: no you. ME-WE. UbunTu.





Bolt: Nobility


No-bility (Hazards of the Aristocracy)


Photo: John Howard Wolf

Photo: John Howard Wolf

I balanced a banana on my head. Why? It was there when I got out of bed. I know what to do I’ll make it a crown. A golden, potassium hue. I danced at the coronation, an invitation only celebration. I slipped on a peel! Life lesson surreal; I had never learned to look down.

Vital Signs: Hide and Seek

Vital Signs

Photo: John Howard Wolf

Photo: John Howard Wolf

Today the pillow stuck to my head. The sheets were my skin. The mattress my twin. My body the bed. The song of the bird a dissonant shriek pine furniture moan a deafening creak. I clamped my mouth shut I explode if I speak. I hid glasses from sight that my vision stay hazy. The light through filter. Shaded thoughts undefined, soft and lazy. Flowers were rude. Beauty seemed crude. I’m craving for silence escape from the dun. A moment alone Endless embrace of the sun.

Time Flits


Photo: John Howard Wolf

Photo: John Howard Wolf

Time does not fly. Sometimes it skips along carefree a wordless song. Then, you fall bruise your heart. A kiss of hope. A new, scar tissue start. In dreams you fly. In life you try to leave petty thoughts behind. elevate above the dead, the dying. Reach a place only you can find. No map to guide you. Close your eyes. Stand barefoot in imagined sand. Time flits. You are flying.

Jazz Santa

Photo: John Howard Wolf

I found it in a trash can near the Granada movie theater. I was throwing away a box of candy (Not Good, though there was Plenty). Who in the world threw an old sax away? I remembered a black man that use to play Jazz music on a nearby corner. Some wise guys must have taken it. I followed a melody in my head to the place I remembered. There he sat on a peeling wood bar stool. He played on a strange instrument, like a small piano you blew into. The street light came on as I approached. He wore a green hat, red scarf, fingerless red gloves. Snow started to fall. He stopped playing.  “I’m a little out of breath these days.” “You keep it.” “Merry Christmas.” It was.


BOLT: Poetry Donation


Clean Sweep

Vital Signs: “Back To The Beauty”

Photo: John Howard Wolf

The air on the fifty first floor was rarefied
 The haven overlooking the world of commerce
. The destiny many had dreamed about. 
He had achieved.
 Some had put aspirations into action
 they had fought the bloody competitive wars
But had to settle for lower floors. 
Less prestigious command posts.
 Only the chosen few were granted his audience. 
They were mesmerized like a cult recruit
In the presence of the all knowing. 
They felt intimidated by dogmatic subtext
. In awe of the unacknowledged cosmic view. 
He focused only on the encounter at hand. 
One left mumbling a cryptic mantra
. Fully converted to an incomprehensible cause. 
Then, would he swivel
. Not to witness the consequences of his power. 
Rather, to see his image superimposed
on the realm he benignly ruled. -John L. Barbetta

Bolt: Artistry




Free Me!
I am in here.
Can’t you see?
I am in here.
Can’t you hear?
I’m here.
It’s me
touch me.
Can’t you feel?
Free Me!
I am real.

The craggy lines
that’s my wrinkled face
You can make it smooth.
Sharp chisel imagination
for splitting stone
Rhythmic, controlled strokes
Wipe my dust from your eyes.
Can you begin to see me?
I am in here.

Turn, turn
the tool of compassion
Each blow quick, whisper-even
Blow away the dust of doubt.
Trust yourself.
Can you hear me breathe?
I am here.
It’s me.

Crease gently
my hardened skin.
Reinforcing, shaping impact
There’s the lines.
There’s the texture.
Form refined
I am emerging.
Touch me.
Can you feel me?
Redefining rasps and rifflers
Inspired, sweeping motion
Emery words infuse the light
Features, folds, hair

Identity revealed:

I am David and the stone
that slew Goliath.
If there is enough of me,
Find his head
Place it at my feet.
If not, no matter
Victory is no less sweet.
I need no Donatello
You have sculpt me with your eyes
Young “Michelangelo”,
Can you see my beauty , now?

You have won the prize;
Not glitter gold
Nor, quick silver fame
I am here.
We are free.
You have won Life’s game.

Pepin, WI


New Website

We’ve created a new page for our project Vital Signs.

The work is scheduled for global release as an e Book early 2013 by Paris based Kiwai Media, Inc.

Take a look.

Your comments are much appreciated.

 ….little help from my friends,

John B


Bolt: With Force…

You cannot extinguish ideas or ideologies with force. They extinguish themselves, when they prove irrelevant. – J.L.B.

What Are “Bolts”?


 * Bolts- -moments of electric awareness, clarity, epiphanies 

And stuff that holds things together.

Poetry and music share the power to insight the senses.

Rafting (If I make it big enough for two, would you come along?)

I build my raft
out of flexible judgment,
enduring curiosity,
buoyant innocence.
Wide enough to lie on;
reach across, extend arms,
hand paddle 
to another time.
The River current
is my engine.
Faith is my compass.
I drift.
I  row with oar arms
strengthened by dreams
of undiscovered ports.
There  no words are spoken.
No promises made
to be kept or broken:
Places of silent songs
Aura embraces
Affection pulses
Like gentle, whispering
waters on welcoming shores.
Villages of affirmation.
My raft and I flotsam
blown from bluff
dropped from sky
ejected from earth
rejected by heaven.
Time changes:
It is light, starlight,
 sun, moon,
 dawn, noon
It is gloaming, sunset,
All reflected by melted mirrors
Absorbed by the green sentinels
All recorded by the stone faces.
A ride of bliss.
Cloud coverlets,
Feathery lullabies,
Leaf waving branches,
Laughing critters,
Harmonizing crickets,
Distant rumbles
of sea and land farers
with a more definitive
purpose and destination.
A bump wakes me.
Tide, current have transported
Raft and guileless passenger
From Nirvana trance
To terra chance.
Accept destiny’s decision?
Impose will?
Are they people?
Nod approval.
Reach out.
 My arrival has been long expected.
My eyes and quiet gestures
apologize for my late coming.
Their eyes brim forgiveness.
Smiles transmit their joy
that I have made the journey.
The radiant, reassuring sunglow
The farewell, sustaining, seakiss
Reaffirm this to be
the haven of peace
I had sought
 during my lifetime of rafting
on turbulent and kind waters.
John Lawrence Barbetta 

Tenth Muse

Click on titles below to listen to samples from the CD “Tenth Muse “.

Romantic Notions
Me and My Shadows
September Butterfly
Fool – Audio Bookmark

Ten Muses

Vital Signs

This newly completed Poetry/ Visual Art “must have, beautiful” work is soon to be released as an E-Book for rapid and global availability. We are pleased and honored that Paris based writer, editor, publisher David Applefield has taken the leadership role in transforming and marketing the Vital Signs experience.


Vital Signs


If we do not see
the beauty of nature
the blight of disrespect,
If we do not hear
the soft cry of the wounded
the spontaneous laughter of friends,
If we do not speak
the words for those who have them not
the language of the heart,
If we do not feel
the pain of rejection
the joy of acceptance,
If we cannot imagine
the gifts we have been given
can make our shared planet
a better place for all,
we have not life. 


Moving, accessible poetry is reinforced by black and white photo insights by scholar/artist John Howard Wolf.
Geoff Makousky, art director, has skillfully presented the material for maximum reader, participant impact.
Your interest in Vital Signs, release dates and purchase can be registered at jsbarbetta@peoplepc.com.

Thank you all for your inspiration and encouragement.


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