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Phantom Itch

Updated on August 15, 2013
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The wind moaning

through the patio screen

sings a raspy song

bamboo chimes dance

click, tinkle

like bones in my skull

I tick my teeth

and reach for a cigarette

but there is not one there

and for how long

there is not even an ashtray

but it’s my missing appendage

I still feel the itch

they say it’s my imagination

but I can hear the electricity

flowing through the wires

and the bees on wildflowers

hum in tune

so I turn my guitar upside down

and drum in time

to my eccentricity

not yet diagnosed

but I feel the itch

tick, tick

goes my teeth

as I tap my toes

and ask my love to dance

I reach out my right hand

to take hold of hers

but grasp only air

I look over

and there is not even a chair

but I leave my hand

open in that place

because she was my appendage

and I still feel the itch.





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    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you very much, cat.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      A brilliant piece of work, Wayne! Your words bring me from the outside in for a very visceral experience. Thank you.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 4 years ago from TEXAS

      Now, how could I not smile? :-)

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Deb.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Dear Nellieanna. Wipe your tears and smile. You are a poet...and you are beautiful!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Interestingly eerie, as though one is out of place in time. Well done!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 4 years ago from TEXAS

      Your metaphors are colossally effective. I'm entranced by each of the words in this one, though I've never smoked, so must rely on your words' imagery to provide a first-hand connection, or else I'd be left looking in as an objective observer, which good poetry mustn't do to the reader. So that's its power, to be able to take someone 'in there' who's never been (especially someone whose 'never' encompasses a LOTTA years!!) And it totally does that.

      But, ah - when it comes to reaching out your hand for your love, only to grasp empty air, - well, to that I personally relate. Do they make prosthetics for that kind of loss of limb? You're going to make me cry.

      Then, when you are made supersensitive to the flow of electricity and hum of bees, there's no doubt that the 'itch', however phantom, feels real, as does the loss of appendage. This poem really does it.

      If I had a guitar, I'd be drumming on its backside to the beat right now! This is so excellent that it brings out the drummer in me! What a treat, even the tears!

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Silent Reed. Thank you very much for the compliment.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Martin.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Dim...thank you so much!

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 4 years ago from Philippines

      Your figurative writing skill provide such vivid imagery I find myself in the poem's setting. For a few moments becoming the poet and feeling his emotional experience. I sense the tautness rising. I grind my teeth and tap my toes as "I turn my guitar upside down and drum in time to my eccentricity". Although I have given up smoking, one understand the craving for a cigarette and how well it fits as an analogy for a love one that is not there.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you very much Tom, for the compliment and the share!

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Brenda. Stay away from those smokes! : )

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Rick, Thank you my man! The kind words and the shares all mean a lot to me.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Vincent, again Sir I truly appreciate, from one poet to another, the great things you have to say. Thank you my generous friend.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Audrey(vocalcoach) Thank you so much for the sweet compliment. Being able to inspire is the ultimate.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Bravo! words to bring feeling alive. thank you

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Frank, I'm glad it could have that affect on you. thank you.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Amazing. Such a wonderful choice of words.

      Beautiful poem.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Hey, Jamie. Thank you very much my man! : )

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Audrey, I appreciate the compliment.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Oh, thank you so much, Alexandra. It's always nice to get good feedback from my editor. : )

    • thost profile image

      thost 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      A beautiful haunting poem Wayne, well done. I will vote up.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Wayne, this is an evocative, longing piece. Though I have never smoked, I want to right now. You have written a superb poem with wonderful imagery and perfectly chosen words.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Nikki, Thanks a bunch sweety!

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      Poetic Fool 4 years ago

      Wow, Wayne! I love this one. Your words took me right there on the patio with you and brought up some familiar emotions from the past. You know you've done well when you've done that. Very well done, my friend. Voted up and shared!

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 4 years ago

      When I wait this long to leave my comment I am lost for words due to all the amazing words that come from everyone before me here. Your imagery always amazes me, some of us poets can use it to our advantage to describe a situation, a place, event, person, life, death and so many more, you sir are always raising the bar higher for many of us. I applaud your work and tip my hat with the greatest respect for your work. Your a first class, high ranking poet from this poet's view. Bravo. Voted way up, tweeted and shared.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Wayne - I'm totally riding on a wave of emotion and inspiration. Outstanding! Thank you, thank you. ~ Audrey

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you leni.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you very much Sha.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you very much Romeo. I appreciate the feedback and the share.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      time momentarily stood still here for me as I read your poem.. man awesome :)

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

      Well done wayne, very inspiring work. Thank you for sharing. Jamie

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      What a great write Wayne--loved every line!

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 4 years ago

      Wayne, there is so much in here in such a few words. I am seated at the edge of reality just reading this... the buzz in the wires, the ticks, the missing appendage and the habit of love. Wow!

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Alexander.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Phyllis.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Sorry Liz, here's a hanky... []]] ;)

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Billy, I don't even make a thousand penny's a month at HP. But I do get to see all your smiling faces, so it's worth it.

      Thank you very much.

    • Nikkij504gurl profile image

      Nikki Wicked 4 years ago from Louisiana

      The hardest itch to scratch, one of trying to quit smoking and craving that ciggarette and the one to move on from a long gone love, craving their touch and to see them again, great poem Wayne.

    • leni sands profile image

      Leni Sands 4 years ago from UK

      There has definitely got to a song in there somewhere. I really enjoyed reading this and almos felt that urge to pick up a cigarette as well but alas I haven't touched them for about 30 years so none around here lately, great poem, voted up - beautiful.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I've heard people who lose fingers, etc. still feel them after they're gone. Kinda like losing a loved one. Awesome poem, Wayne!

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Tony.

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 4 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      A very ambient, heart-wrenching verse of hardened caprice, and longing, encapsulated by real emotion, devoid of Stoicism which usually accompanies such pieces. You made someone cry; that's got to be the seal of a successful poem.Sharing!

      All the Best,

      R.Q.

    • A.Villarasa profile image

      Alexander A. Villarasa 4 years ago from Palm Springs

      This poem should me made into a song. Quick, get yourself a music man, then off you go to be a lyricist non-pareil

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 4 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Beautiful poem, Wayne. It is full of visual images.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Dammit, Wayne. You made me cry again.

      Billy speaks the truth.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's a shame HP doesn't reward poets because you would be making thousands per month. Absolutely beautiful work here Wayne.

    • Tony DeLorger profile image

      Tony DeLorger 4 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Beautifully written Wayne.