from Collected Poems
after Sylvia Plath
119. Poem for a Birthday
It’s inconceivable I’m alive:
I’m not the feline: thirteen times
I’ve died or,
rather, tried to. This smack of baskets
vivid as Truvada
thwacks the thistle’s
at a morning,
at a birthday. Cornflowers,
for a birthday.
123. The Hanging Man
His solar system’s revolving in my hands:
at one thumb’s edge the Red Spot claws and spits
(my blood flows like a bow across four strings);
the other stump’s its molten golden mandrel.
I sure can tell your lot as well as Holst.
Am I the Son of God to think such things?
148. Wuthering Heights
The horizons wring me like abbots.
Abbots’ cold, dark hands,
sharpened by history, tighten round my throat, choking me.
The one space higher than this is Heaven.
In the distance, commissions needle
distress on hallowed ground, a ground unmoved.
Black trees throw God-awful shapes
like witches fuming at their stakes. The trees
stalk closer, closer to the kitchen.
A folklore’s heart,
dripping with confusion, electricity:
the horizontal orange slots of sockets, off, on …
the laying on of pockmarked hands on elements …
is a socket, is a sock, is a windsock.
Something ecumenical that funnels in intensity.
Stuart Barnes is arranging the manuscript for his first book of poetry, and writing his first novel. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Literature, Philosophy) from Monash University, and intends to study screenwriting or editing and publishing in 2013. Other poems have recently appeared at Otoliths and Overland. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.