Posts Tagged ‘Stuart Barnes’

from Collected Poems

February 1, 2012 2 comments

by Stuart Barnes

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 …
This apartment
is a socket, is a sock, is a windsock.

Something ecumenical that funnels in intensity.

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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.

Categories: Imitation Tags:

Dirty Stump: upon reading Plath

February 14, 2011 2 comments

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,

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.

Categories: Translation Tags:


July 30, 2010 Comments off

by Stuart Barnes

You want to know
why I culled you
like a cane toad,
a rabbit
or a kangaroo?

You were so reckless
with your red soldiers,
so couldn’t care less
your ‘three
little letters’ could possibly infect me.

Of all people, you, you, you
— the recovering junkie —
were so quick to pass judgment;
my drinking

The nine-inch nail in the coffin:
you dismissed
my unconditional love
with a Judas kiss
(I would’ve accepted libation or fate).

I never tend your watery grave.

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In 2009, Stuart Barnes’ unpublished memoir A Cold Decade was shortlisted for the Australian Olvar Wood Fellowship Award, and his poem ‘Solomon’ was shortlisted for Australia’s most prestigious poetry prize, the Newcastle. He lives and writes in Melbourne.

Categories: New Classics Tags:


January 7, 2010 Comments off

by Stuart Barnes

Beware of the rule of 3
What you give will get back at you
This lesson you must learn
You only get what you deserve
—The Rule of Three

That pernicious only child of the God of Plagues and Chaos glued with Araldite a raptor-gleam
In my priest’s whisky-eye, moulded into a masturbator his cold, wet fish of a fist,
Whispered slyly in my left ear, “Little boy, run like blazes! While you can, vamos, get the hell

Out of here!” then disappeared. Like a Red-backed bitch on heat on her hands and knees, I prayed
To Mr. Pilate, who whispered insidiously in my right ear, “Where’s the little bastard? —
For I must burn his Birkenstocks and shear those ratty dreadlocks from his head.”

I led him to the olive-moated mountain, where I kissed that son of the God of Plagues and Chaos on his grimy cheek.


The Marys wept like cut grass as the sacred nails pierced the child’s wrists and a sword slid in his side.
“Serves you right,” I muttered, “for your father bore not only good, but its opposite, its other.”

Ghastly daffodils, apples strung up in her courtyard, purple crocus shoving through frost and glass;
In a stucco council flat with a crib of pink-eyed rats and nine metres of Burmese snakes —
Splotches like burnt-orange zeppelins, squirmed to “Whitey” and “Old Nick” — lived Mary, mad

And quite contrary. Bat-winged, bloody-eyed as her two sisters, crouched on a corner
Of the marbled kitchen table with black needles and bales she knitted: an eggshell-blue
Cloak, a sky of motes, an executioner’s hood. The air was fouled by her breath, the light a sickly yellow.

Spryly that headswoman swooped to the herringbone floor, molded beneath her cauldron
Of herbs a pyramid of hieroglyphics, dry grass and sticks, fanned the language and tinder
With her terrible white bellows, and muttered dementedly, “Rise, rise, my dead fellow.”

Man in black, man in black, like Ted Hughes or Johnny Cash, man in a silly Jewish hat,
No wifely striptease for that man in black, only the everyday soul-impaling, the hailing and flaying,
Nailing wooden curlicues, Alpha and Omega, and ampersands. With hair like grey rats

And a staff of flowers, he hobbled and wobbled and cobbled and toiled for hours
For his Gothic queen bee. Eyes could no longer see, feet were swollen as plums,
Hands were like two balloons. He thought, No wonder I despise the Jews.


“In-sig-nif-i-cant,” oozed Her Majesty to the man in black, “a flea, an Australian Aborigine.
You crawl lower than a dog, you can’t compete with this God.” The man in black’s grief grew around him
Like the Sea of Galilee. He made a wish, whispered sadly, “This earth’s better off without me.”

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The title quote is taken from the introduction to “Silence” from the Portishead album Third. The other quote — “Hands were like two balloons” — is taken from Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”, from The Wall LP. (Qarrtsiluni asserts that this creative reuse is permitted under the Fair Use provision of U.S. copyright law, which is applicable because our hosting provider, Automattic Inc., is based in the U.S.)

Stuart Barnes (webpage) graduated from Monash University, Australia with a Bachelor of Arts (Literature, Philosophy). His unpublished memoir, A Cold Decade, was shortlisted for the Olvar Wood Fellowship Award. He’s editing his first book of poetry and writing his first novel.

Categories: Words of Power Tags:

A Warning

December 8, 2009 1 comment

by Stuart Barnes

Like kangaroos,
Cane toads or rabbits,
You can be eradicated,

With the flick of a finger,
The jellyfish-pulse of a thought.

Don’t you forget —
This is my life.

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Stuart Barnes (webpage) graduated from Monash University, Australia with a Bachelor of Arts (Literature, Philosophy). His unpublished memoir, A Cold Decade, was shortlisted for the Olvar Wood Fellowship Award. He’s editing his first book of poetry and writing his first novel.

Categories: Words of Power Tags:
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