Here Comes the New Joy

by John W Barrios

Publication Date: July 2014
Trade Paper; 138 pages; 5-1/4″ x 8″
ISBN 978-1-938753-10-7


Here comes the new joy.

Joy has evolved, and John W Barrios has emerged as the champion of its adaptation. Barrios’ critically imagined first collection of poetry reveals the mutation and renders the reader naturally selected.

The old joy is reaction … a product of immediacy, immediately lost. The new joy is combustion … catalyzed by pain, threat, sexuality, loss, hunger, danger, and laughter, it is the sum and the summit of all other emotions and experiences. The old joy isolates; the new joy integrates.

With gripping personal narrative in extraordinary context, Barrios’ work exemplifies the magnitude and stamina of this emotional revolution. The new joy ascends the aggregate detritus sloughed off by the old joy and stakes its claim, a mighty pen driven in victoriously at the apex. Barrios’ reimagined and redefined joy in these poems is relevant for a new time. For a new us.

Here it comes.


“While attending the University of Hell I would want to major in John Barrios’ Here Comes the New Joy—a class made up of intellect, inquiry, failure, heart, success, lyric triumphs, and human oddities. This is not a pass or fail class, but a place to wonder who we are, a place to light the exams on fire in hopes of a joy we have not yet learned about.”
—Matthew Dickman, author of Mayakovsky’s Revolver and Tin House Editor

“In this moving debut, the new joy isn’t what we thought it was, but darker, more tough-minded. John Barrios stands in the fire and makes song of that work. The song is ongoing, altogether his own, ‘unapologetically / alive / full.'”
—Paul Lisicky, author of Famous Builder and Lawnboy

“In finding his own unique and inspired voice, John Barrios has offered a gift to all of us, as he is showing us what it is to be a poet of our own psyche. Be forewarned, however, this book is contagious. After reading it, much to my surprise, as if getting a living transmission, I began writing poetry myself. Read this book at your own risk.”
—Paul Levy, author of Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil

Here Comes the New Joy unlocks a box of stories of what it means to know a life and all of its personal contradictions and curiosities. At times it is a conspicuous account of Past’s shadowed memories, and other times it is a thick-woven description of Life’s constants. In this welcome poetic page-turner, Barrios skips the flowers, and goes straight for the mud, splatter and all.”
—Carrie Seitzinger, author of Fall Ill Medicine

Selections from Here Comes the New Joy

Mid-Century Modern

Mid-Century Modern

wedding present star clock
has never kept time, belongs
to an art of its own

evolved additions
civilized frieze

a house and a stomping

magazine subscriptions
feeding the grind

tv series unfinished
books unread
a mezzanine of empty glasses
an elder off the tier

inner landscapes

wood slats blind morning
light, something whispered


gold, cold, letting go

eyes white as kill
giving way to the missing
of her shuffling through rooms

brittle spine, wiggling toes
wearing just the right sweater

breathing in the blooming dogwoods
a thousand wasted years

a bed without a body
never naked, never built
a spoonful of kisses
a horizon of notation

I’ve been hard, but I’ve been true

yes and yes

yes and yes

writing, difficult, manic episode poem, she wanted to push me for more on this one, and I think that it is good, but I’m crying, and sometimes the hurt, the pain, the remembering of tragedy so succulent in the mind, so near, so fresh and still, painful and tumbling and every ounce reminds you of how you once were and how far you have come and how far you have to go and how much the pain in the brain is a fire with pills like gasoline, good to get it out good to say good riddance good just to be sometimes, because sometimes, just to be is all you have.

Here Comes the New Joy

Here Comes the New Joy

It’s okay
you can blame the flood on me
if that makes your spendthrift
wallet palatable for those fancy boots
all tied up to the knees, unworn
in the back of your closet
next to one of those
misplaced truths, hidden
like a song on shuffle
desperate for its turn to rage
a beat
to fight for grace inside this scratching
pen, figure skating
on paper, a littered floor,
no more noticeable than absence
on a sofa stirring coffee with a down feather,
while sparks in the chimney,
ash in the lungs, a sacrament,
a porcupine ascending
landscape, a mountain,
its thorny pride pricking

Internet Haircut

Internet Haircut

I forgot I was ever in love with you and your book arrived
I was cut in half. I was cut in half
By the splinters from your bone
Your blue eyes are colder than the photograph can say
Lines around your mouth a little deeper
I eat your painted mouth
The desire to stain is different from the staining
I eat your razor wire hair
In many haircuts I can hear you
Reading bleached wood
Building language from the blood
About the wolf’s mouth
It cuts

Ink Bark

Ink Bark

After you left to go for a walk in the real woods, I sat at the computer where you left your Word document open. I hit the End button and started typing from there, from the end, and an hour went hazily by in this little room while you, out there in the big room, had no idea how time was for me, as I had no idea how time was for you, perhaps the hour whittled away in small succulent strokes, or maybe ten footfalls felt like a minute trapped in a snow-filled hourglass as swallows scuttled in lower branches off the path, knocking out last year’s nest to make room for this year’s, where babies will pull worms from beaks, where feathers will molten, wings expand as air tightens and loosens at once as sky lifts, earth falls and little feet get tucked up into the belly until claws need to reach out for a branch.


3 thoughts on “Here Comes the New Joy”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.