Stuart Barnes

In 2009 Stuart Barnes’s unpublished memoir, A Cold Decade was shortlisted for the Olvar Wood Fellowship Award; and his poem “Solomon” was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize. He lives in Melbourne.


Blood Taken

God’s grey waiting room

eyes like stray cats’
of rotting compost

patients spin between doctors
like coloured tops between children

a transaction:

tests specified on paper
in puzzling Latin

roll call: the nurse
hums a golden
oldie like a vampire





The men are perfect:

Sargasso Sea eyes,
shoulders square as Spanish villas,
chests like polished bronze breastplates.

They dance, they do not speak.

Perfection is a crime:
like incest,
it cannot be forgiven.

The men are too perfect:

they are strange untouchables,
they slide over mortals
like oil over water.

Perfection is an anchor.

The men are imperfect:
they dance, but they do not dare,
and they do not think.