J. T. Barbarese’s poem, “Walk Your Body Down,,” published in 2005 in the award-winning collection The Black Beach, presents a few intense moments from the narrator’s point of view as he observes an urban scene in some undisclosed city and contemplates the meaning of life. Through this poem, the reader witnesses a variety of emotions, including loneliness, frustration, and anger, as the narrator projects his feelings on and draws conclusions about his fellow city dwellers.
Barbarese’s narrator observes life around him and tries to make sense of it all. He observes the sounds and sights around him—the arguing couple, the crying baby, the man walking down the middle of the street—and weaves them together with the feelings and collected experiences of his own life, hoping that this will explain the fragmentation he sees. He sees stressful and maniacal behavior and wants to smooth the ragged edges. He senses death and wants to put a comfortable face on it. He tries to remind his readers to claim the lives that have been offered to them as gifts and to enjoy the present moment, before it is too late.