Home > Translation > Dirty Stump: upon reading Plath

Dirty Stump: upon reading Plath

February 14, 2011

by Stuart Barnes

(I) What a thrill –––––

my thumb,
poor augur, takes to heart the knife’s
whet sinless slice;
O onion,

if only it were you! Red flakes
from Hell, each
one unique,
irradiate

linoleum.
No bandages, a black T-shirt,
a tricksy rubber band. I curse
the raped petroleum.

A text from him: is Yentl
pie still on the dinner menu?

(II) ‘How you jump –––––
upon reading him ‘What a thrill –––––’

stop screeching like a dybbuk hen!’
‘You should’ve phoned,
I could’ve stopped, brought home
some dressings, Betadine®.’

‘I tried;
you don’t pick up.’
He cut
his olive eyes,

‘you sure
this wasn’t willful?’
‘Cos twice Gillette’s
been at my wrist? How much more

confession and convincing? Jesus Christ,
such senseless talk of blood — you’re the one with goddamn HIV!’


Quotes from ‘Cut’ by Sylvia Plath from Ariel, Faber and Faber, 1965


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In 2001 Stuart Barnes completed a Bachelor of Arts (Literature, Philosophy) at Monash University. Currently he’s assembling his first chapbook, Uprising (poems of the New World Order), and writing his first novel. His poetry has been published in print and online. In 2010 he was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize. He lives in Melbourne.

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