Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Poetry by Stuart Barnes


Dionysus (is) the Master of Illusions, who could make a vine grow out
of a ship’s plank, and in general enable his votaries to see the world as the world’s not
E.R. Dodds

… and after the event – dust motes round and brown as rabbit dung, a tongue like
a feral cat’s in my ears, the metallic black spider scraping its fangs against

the cracked and peeling wall (for thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
that then I scorn to change my place with kings) – and after the dawn –

apocalyptic eye of heaven, Seven Sisters dimming like Technicolor images of
childhood, blazing Botticelli clouds in a perfect eggshell blue sky (a death

and a resurrection breaking with the everyday change of light) – and after the quest –
no change for a cab, kilometers of sooty footpath on legs as wobbly and slimy

as a newborn lamb’s, zombie hands grabbing at hopelessness (the scared septuagenarians
scuttle away muttering ‘filthy junkie’ under their blue-blooded breath), a moment’s rest

at a rose garden to admire the pearly patina on a drop of dew on a leaf (so
strange the things you’ll do when you’ve had a man shriek hell across your back) – and

after the attempt – honk, whoosh, the rusty track, a landslide of malign rocks ahead
and beautiful green at my back, the chain link a fence between me and certain death –

I stood at the head of our bed and pawed at your pillow and clawed at your face
and cried ‘I’ve been raped’ and you stared at me with your ice-blue Great White eyes

and replied ‘You’re a liar’ and I came to realize the last twelve months of our
life – morning coffee (extra sweet), Eurythmics cranked in the fire engine red Alfa,

days spent combing the sands at Honeymoon Bay for shells of Tasmanian giant
crabs, evenings huddled happy as albatrosses around candles, Japanese and wine –

had all been one big Bacchanalian lie …

- Stuart Barnes 2010

(Quotation: lines from Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare)

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