• Address 720 East Locust Street | Milwaukee, WI 53212
  • Phone 414.263.5001
  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm | Sat-Sun 12-5pm | Closed Mon
  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm, Sat-Sun 12-5pm, Closed Mon
Event Calendar
«
»
special events
April 21

Join us for the 13th annual RIVERWEST FOLLIES variety show

performances
April 22

ACL presents Renee Baker Quartet, Visual Dark Scratch Suite

exhibitions
April 22

Woman: Frailty Thy Name, works by Renee Baker

readings & workshops
April 25

Reading: Toni Jensen

readings & workshops
April 26

Four Milwaukee Poets: Alix Anne Shaw with Annie Grizzle, Sam Pekarske & Bethany Price

readings & workshops
April 28

Wisconsin Reads: Reading with Louise Erdrich (video streamed to Woodland Pattern)

readings & workshops
May 2

Poetry Reading: Rena Priest and Denise Low

readings & workshops
May 2

Craft Talk with Denise Low at UWM

readings & workshops
May 10

Birds in Poetry at Urban Ecology Center

performances
May 13

Alternating Currents Live presents: The Transatlantic Bridge #11

readings & workshops
May 16

Kundiman Midwest Chapbook Series Noel Pabillo Mariano

performances
May 17

Formations Series for New & Improvised Music

readings & workshops
May 24

Poetry Reading: Urban Echo Poets

performances
June 3

ACL presents: Tom Hamilton & City of Vorticity

Barbara Wuest

Barbara Wuest holds an MFA from University of California, Irvine. Her poems have been published in Wisconsin Academy Review, The Paris Review, The Cape Rock, Dogwood, Western Ohio Journal, CrossCurrents, Cincinnati Poetry Review, Laurel Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Oberon and others. She has a chapbook, Among Others, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

Selected Poems

Natural Formation

As a child I watched with all our neighbors as

a warehouse burned large one evening in fall.

Flames climbed up to the sky as if they would

singe the stars and blacken the big round moon.

Fear came alive in my knees, my shoulders, my

hands, and it set up shop in my unshaped mind.

I have it now to use as I might when someone

strikes at an over-burdened nerve, laying me out

so I can't stand up for the fight or the awful fire.

 

Down-sizing

Cool sunny fall is everywhere I look and the last

days of green turn me toward the lost who have

led me back home where ending solemnly begins.

I come to the ghostly door, stop on the bottom

step and gather my past like the long lacy train

of a dress the wearer I serve parades through

the halls of the palace where excess is supreme.

Weakening with each step up to the royal chair

I lose control and tumble like a red-nosed clown.

 

 

Rubber Capitol of the World

I was nearly through being seven.
A new playground and more kids than
I had ever stood among.
Something burned all the time.
And the foul smell meant money
was being made by their dads.

My own newly dead, I thought
only of the space on the ground,
the room I had between my feet
and theirs. Often they would
step into the area I'd reserved.

I was not sad. I was not,
not then. Not for anyone.
Akron had a man's sound,
citied and strange. I came
from a town. A soft say
on your lips, someone's name.