Boys will be girls will be boys


It's alright

… it's gonna be alright cos the music plays forever …
Paris Brightledge, 'Sterling Void'

Last week I liberated,
west across steel and spires
and crackling desert,

a skein of chromatic CDs:
deep and progress-
ive house compiled

and mixed by John
Digweed, Wally Lopez.
Michelle texted, today:

Listening to new
music — bloody fantastic! Me
and Willa are dancing! I

stopped for a moment
to do some dishes
only to feel a little tug

on my short shorts
her wanting me to rejoin
her on the dance floor.

Five years old, wobbling
in Dad's Blunnies to Dolly
Parton's 'Jolene' with

Mum, draped in frangipani,
both under house arrest. 
In the iPhone's screen,

basset hound eyes. 


liber noctem

batter up the hatcheries
eat, drink, be merry
do it again, again, again

every Jack has his jackaroo
boys will be girls will be boys …
three sheets to the provincial Christmas window

Venus is the root of all evil
a moll's as good as a miss
marriage is a sacred sanatorium
suffer the Prada-wearing Devil or the Deep Blue Sea
adversity makes humdrum bedfellows
better late than pregnant
Heaven knows no beauty like a woman divorced
absence makes the heart grow abscesses
offer your grandmother rotten eggs

only mire fights fire

enough's never enough
X marks the death's-head
blood's thinner than affinity
every cloud has a charcoal vinyl
a poet's not recognised in his own land
all good things come to the maître d', never the waiter
troubles shared are troubles doubled
nothing's rare in love and war
tomorrow always comes

The Cure's the goddamn disease
Siouxsie should've died a Banshee
Rolling Stones only gather dross

time heals no wound

sola lingua bona est lingua mortua


Silence. The sun runs
Through the great red eye
Of the mountains
Like plasma. From arboreal hooks
The night birds
And the bats
Suspend their dirty cloaks.
Jasmines weep no griefs
The moon is not corporeal.
Even the slow roses are at peace.
The artist
Light as sacred papyrus,
Sight restored to his left eye
Like Horus
Leaps like a leopard
Amongst the willows and white tumuli,
Limbs of low Botticelli clouds
His mulatto skin
Fortunate to have sealed the marbled cracks,
To have faced, to have backed away from his blacks,
He whispers, Within,

Stuart BarnesIn 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. He was shortlisted, in 2010, for the Newcastle Poetry Prize.

Topic tags: Stuart Barnes, It's Alright, Twisted, Artist, Rolling Stones, Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees



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Existing comments

Thank you so much, Stuart. I loved these poems.
David B | 01 February 2011

In what sense is this poetry? The essence of the genre is rhythm;the use of syllables to create regular and/or irregular metre to fit the subject of the poem. I have stood on my head to establish some kind of rhythmic pattern here. I'm damned if I can see any. What I do see is the indisciplined use of language with little logic in the punctuation or vese stucture. Is this a question of "the king's new clothes" or is what I learn't at school and uni no longer applicable?
grebo | 01 February 2011

Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou.
Tim Heffernan | 01 February 2011

This is poetry in the sense that Stuart Barnes listens closely to the syntactical nuances of everyday speech and turns it into something magical. Regular and irregular metres fit the subject of the poem. In the middle poem, Stuart Barnes is playing the well-established poetic game of turning on their heads the cliches that we live with everyday. A cliché stood on its head makes for a new perspective; it can have a remarkable closeness to the truth, just like the original cliché. This is poetic game-playing of a sophisticated order. What the individual reader makes of each one of these anti-cliches is really their business. The disciplined use of thought pattern and everyday speech in the other two poems creates particular effects that may not be achieved by the use of conventional verse structure. What we learn at school and university is applicable in this situation, indeed my education tells me that Stuart Barnes is up to something very interesting.
SCANSION | 02 February 2011

David, Grebo, Tim & Scansion, thank you all for reading my poems, & submitting your comments --- much appreciated. It excites me that the great debate as to "what is poetry?" is never-ending. At [my private boys'] school & [conservative] university, poetry was only formalist --- with no regard at all for the structural & thematic acrobatics of cummings, W.C.W., Eliot, Sexton, Hughes, Plath, Pound, etc. ... I believe the appreciation of poetry to be highly personal, &, of course, dependent upon the reader's experience & education --- both of which remain, in my mind, applicable. But there is --- and must be, for art's sake --- always room for the new ...
Stuart Barnes | 05 February 2011


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