Some Days, by Rebecca Jessen

Rebecca Jessen lives in Brisbane. She is the award-winning author of Gap (UQP, 2014). In 2015 she won the QLD Premier’s Young Writers and Publishers Award. Her writing has been published in Overland, Meanjin, Going Down Swinging, The Lifted Brow, Tincture Journal, and many more. Rebecca blogs at becjessen.wordpress.com.

This prose poem first appeared in Issue Seventeen of Tincture Journal. Please support our work by buying a copy.

Photo by Danny McDonald @fibrotones

it’s like the sun never sets here. endless horizons scarred pink. home is a big screen TV and a three-tier cat scratcher. Mum is always on high terror alert. March mornings are for scraping ice off the windscreen. I don’t miss the morning cold. or the way the wind always blows in my hair. people feed the birds here. day old white bread strewn across public lawns and private parks. do you ever notice the way Mum never stops at roundabouts. or the way your little sister dances. like she’s an extra in a music video. when she grabs your hand to dance suddenly she’s eighteen and hitting the clubs with her girls. do you notice the way it makes you feel. like the daggy older sister who wears her hair too short and worries too much. do you notice the stale acidic scent of cat and cigarettes. that is distinctly Mum’s place. the way you can miss people even when you’re with them. the way that visiting home can take you back a decade. you see not how this place has changed but how you have changed. do you ever notice the way Mum’s place is like a time capsule. yet to be sealed. never buried.

 

 

Issue Eighteen Table of Contents

Issue Eighteen is available now on our website and all the usual e-book stores. Buy the single issue.

Here’s what’s inside:

  • Editorial, by Stuart Barnes
  • Moederland: Part Two: Memorable Humiliations, by Johannes Klabbers
  • Volta do mar, by Felicity Plunkett
  • Political Reflections: Part Two: Trump’s Inauguration, by Alexandra O’Sullivan
  • Ode to Mortality Composed on the W90, by Jill Jones
  • Mounting Sexual Tension Between Two Long-Time Friends; Tom Knows That Ant Is A Spy But Ant Doesn’t, by Elizabeth Tan
  • Apology, by Liam Ferney
  • The Real Ryan O’Neill, by Dave Drayton
  • Judith Arundell Wright, by Dave Drayton
  • The Waxworker, by Nick Marland
  • Interview with Cher Chidzey, by Cher Chidzey and Daniel Young
  • Queen Victoria Market: an extract from Ken’s Quest, by Cher Chidzey
  • Beetroot, by Irma Gold
  • The Lady in the Bottle, by Rozanna Lilley
  • Mother Tongue, by Eda Gunaydin
  • Reality Check, by Peter Bakowski
  • The Back of My Father’s Neck, by Anna Ryan-Punch
  • Portrait of the Artist Dressed as His Mother, by Craig Billingham
  • Conjugate, by Mark Ward
  • Silly Money, by Craig Burnett
  • Corymbia / Evergreen, by Andrew Galan
  • Cul-de-sac Back, by Kevin Del Principe
  • Property of Holloman Aerospace Medical, by Benjamin Dodds
  • Beijing, by Stephen Smith
  • Objects, by Catherine Vidler
  • Candle in the Wind, by John Sheng (translated from the Chinese by Ouyang Yu)

 

Venus, by Grace Jarvis

Grace Jarvis is a second year university student in the throes of an arts degree based existential crisis. She was the recipient of the Queensland Theatre Company’s Young Playwright’s Award in 2015 and feels she needs to mention it constantly as it’s the most impressive thing she’s ever done. You can find her on Twitter @grace4jarvis.

This poem first appeared in Issue Seventeen of Tincture Journal. Please support our work by buying a copy.

There is a very beautiful girl sitting opposite me on the train. I am openly staring at her and she looks uncomfortable. I don’t mind. Locks of purple hair fall unrestrained onto her forehead as her eyes restlessly sprint around the carriage, looking for something to land on besides my beady gaze. I am almost pleased when she chooses the chipped remnants of black polish encrusting her jagged nails. Her lipstick is bleeding. There is a thick layer of grime coating her cuticles and her nervous fiddling continues to distress an already significant hole in her tacky fishnet stockings. I picture my mother scolding me for wearing laddered tights under my godforsaken school kilt and I picture this girl’s mother: dead somewhere, a gutter. My attention, much to her chagrin, returns to the girl after the train’s sudden stop nudges my briefcase against the scuffed toe of her dilapidated Doc Marten. I scowl at the girl and she tucks her violet hair behind her punctured ear and seeks refuge behind a battered copy of The Bell Jar.

I wonder if she knows she is a cliché.

I wonder if she has a boyfriend.

I wonder if she looks this terrified when she fucks.

I get off the train.

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The Need for Poetry, by Mindy Gill with Jeet Thayil

Mindy Gill is a Brisbane writer whose work has appeared in Australian Poetry Journal, Voiceworks, Hecate and elsewhere. She writes for Peril Magazine.

This poem first appeared in Issue Seventeen of Tincture Journal. Please support our work by buying a copy.

is old, very old, though not venerable. Imagine

a picture of an old man, his shirt open,

his big belly full of pork and rice wine,

asleep on the road, scars all over him, his hands

for a pillow, imagine the untended whiskers

on his face, his staff thrown some distance away,

not yet stolen, his dirty feet, now imagine

the moon above the man, the chaos it bestows

on the ocean, which could pluck it like a pear

from the sky in one cold metallic wave,

and in that wave imagine the fish discovering

the myth of the other world, a world not preserved

by salt for air, without the elegance of jellyfish,

and here is where they realise how our sky

begins with black while theirs begins with light,

now imagine our sky sliced from a bigger sky,

a universal sky, tiger-striped with planets

and space stations, now imagine the scientists

on those space stations using equations to find us

another, gentler star to call home, and what

are homes but places to keep things we love

that we destroy and leave? Now imagine

the man who drew the picture, who waits

for the old brawler to awake so he can tell

another one, a quick story to start the day.

Moederland, Part One: I’m Not From Around Here, by Johannes Klabbers

Johannes Klabbers is a Dutch/Australian writer and posthumanist therapist, currently living in Europe. He is the author of I Am Here: Stories From A Cancer Ward (Scribe Aus/UK 2016), which tells the story of an academic in the Australian outback who takes a voluntary redundancy and reinvents himself as a secular pastoral worker in the largest cancer hospital in the southern hemisphere. The Australian described it as “wonderfully insightful”. His website is johannesk.com and he tweets @johklab, is on Facebook @johkla and blogs on Medium @johannesk.

Johannes Klabbers is thinking through what it could mean to write postfiction. This is the first of four postfiction pieces to be published in Tincture in 2017. See also postfiction.space.

I

Belonging can be fleeting. I feel it for the first time briefly, six months after moving back to Europe, in the baker’s on Christmas Eve queueing for a tulband cake—as especially requested by Moeder who never asks for anything, almost always refuses everything, and only ever gives you what you mostly don’t want.

I’ll bring a stol too, I tell Moeder on the phone.

—Oh no, I already have two.

Yes but this one is from the best baker in town. Yours are from the LIDL, two for the price of one? And no extra charge for the E202.

—What’s E202?

It stops mould growing.

—Oh I should get some for the bathroom!

That deserves an audible giggle. I dutifully oblige.

Maybe you should keep your stol from the LIDL there!

I can tell she’s smiling from her voice.

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Issue Seventeen Editorial, by Daniel Young

Daniel Young is the founder and editor of Tincture Journal. His work has been published in Hello Mr MagazineMascara Literary ReviewSeizureRochford Street ReviewVerity LaantiTHESIS JournalThe Suburban Review and more. He recently finished his MA (Writing) and is slowly reviewing all the novellas at allthenovellas.com. You can find him on Twitter @jazir1979.

With the long hot Australian summer still burning fiercely here in Brisbane, it’s hard to think of this as the Autumn issue, but here we are. A few months ago, while reading submissions, I tweeted: “the skin as map / body as landscape metaphor feels very overdone”. Images came to mind of black-and-white cinema advertisements tracing a body’s contours in close-up, making them look like geographical formations in order to sell moisturiser (or something); or slightly more obscure references like lyrics from the song ‘Cardiac Atlas’ by June of 44: “he finds his way with a map of arteries / he makes camp just above your heart”. So yes, it felt overdone to me, but I was quickly forced to qualify this with another tweet: “but I’m reading a piece by someone who’s doing it well, so who cares?”

Who cares, indeed. I was tweeting about the opening of Charlotte Adderley’s non-fictional ‘Ethanol, Eschar’, which executes what could be a tired metaphor so beautifully that the first few paragraphs left me breathless. This is not cliché, it’s great writing. Beyond that, it’s the harrowing story of a burn victim and the advanced treatments offered by the Queensland Skin Bank.

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Issue Seventeen Table of Contents

Issue Seventeen is available now. You can now buy a copy online.

  • Editorial, by Daniel Young
  • Some Days, by Rebecca Jessen
  • Moederland: Part One: I’m Not From Around Here, by Johannes Klabbers
  • Political Reflections: The Day Trump Won, by Alexandra O’Sullivan
  • The Need for Poetry, by Mindy Gill
  • Water Lily, by Douglas W. Milliken
  • Ethanol, Eschar, by Charlotte Adderley
  • WWJD? by Nathanael O’Reilly
  • Compass, by SJ Finn
  • Plum, Flower, by Eileen Chong
  • Shoes That Go Krtz-Krtz, by Tamara Lazaroff
  • Beach Road, by Thom Sullivan
  • Great Expectations, by Denis Fitzpatrick
  • Avid Reader, by Rosanna Licari
  • Running Away from the Circus, by Philip Keenan
  • Spider, by Ailsa Dunlop
  • From ‘Autobiochemistry’, by Tricia Dearborn
  • Our Mate, Cummo, by Dominic Carew
  • “I can be tight and nervy as the top string on a violin”, by Mark Roberts
  • Venus, by Grace Jarvis
  • Last Post, by Aidan Coleman
  • Fighting for Breath, by Paul Threlfall
  • Combination Soup, by Pam Brown
  • You Are Cordially Invited, by Sean Gandert

The End of the Pier, by Louise Slocombe

Louise Slocombe lives in Wellington, New Zealand, city of shaky ground, challenging topography and amazing views. She has been known to write fiction and has had work published in The Yellow Room and Takahē Magazine, but these days she writes mostly non-fiction about nature, places and journeys and how we experience them. She is currently writing about birds, both living and extinct.

This creative non-fiction piece first appeared in Issue 16 of Tincture Journal. Please help us on our quest to pay the writers and buy a copy.

Princes Pier, Port Melbourne, Victoria. All images by Louise Slocombe © 2016

You come to a pier.

Let’s say you’ve been strolling along a beachfront, somewhere you’ve not been before. You’ve seen it from a distance, an indistinct line over shifting water, and it has caught your attention. Your step may have quickened ever so slightly as you got nearer. Without consciously realising it, you’ve made the pier into something to aim for. At the pier you will be able to make a decision of some kind—a decision about your stroll, or the rest of your day, or—who knows?—even the rest of your life. But this thought has not quite crystallised in your mind. It does not need to, not until you reach the pier.

And now you are here. The pier is long and straight, a timber boardwalk, the boards bleached grey by sun and salt. It extends out over the water, narrowing into the distance, its length regularly punctuated by lampposts.

You walk along it. Of course you do. You have to.

You step from the footpath onto the boards. At first, the pier runs across the beach. As you walk, you can look down over the railings onto the sand. But soon enough you reach the beginning of the sea, where the waves break onto the shore. There are scattered shells, and tangled clumps of seaweed caught up in the constant surge and pull of the foaming water. And there are gulls standing motionless, watching, on the smooth wet sand that in patches reflects the blue of the sky. And then you are walking out over the sea. You are aware of it swirling giddily beneath your feet through the gaps between the timbers. There might even be holes where the timber has rotted and you can glimpse the barnacle-encrusted piles down below, and you wonder—but only very briefly because it won’t stop you going to the end—just how safe this pier is.

As you progress along the length of the pier, you can look back towards the land that you are leaving behind, or across the water at the boats, if indeed there are any boats out there. But most of the time you are looking ahead to where you are going, fixated on that sensation of heading towards an end point, that might even become a sensation of watching your destination move towards you, becoming ever closer and ever clearer, as if you are a participant in a movie of your own life.

And so we are drawn to the end.

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A Sequence by Timothy Ogene

Born and raised in Nigeria, Timothy Ogene has since lived in Liberia, the US, Germany, and the UK. He holds degrees from St Edward’s and Oxford Universities. His first collection, Descent & Other Poems, appeared this year from Deerbrook Editions.

This poetry sequence first appeared in Issue Sixteen of Tincture Journal. Please support our quest to pay the writers by buying a copy.

Every work of this kind is necessarily a cry of anguish—of the root extending its branch of coral, or corals extending their roots into each living hour; the swell of the silent sea, the great heaving dream at its highest, the thunder of splitting pods—the tears scatter, take root, the cotyledons broken, burgeons into laughter of leaf; or else rot into vital hidden roles in the nitrogen cycle. The present dream clamoured to be born a cadenced cry: silence to appease the fever of flight beyond the iron gate.

—Christopher Okigbo, from the introduction to Labyrinths and Path of Thunder

On chance occasions—

and others have observed this—you can see the wind,

as it moves, barely a separate thing,

the inner wall, the cell, of an hourglass, humming

vortices, bright particles in dissolution,

a roiling plug of sand picked up

as a small dancing funnel. It is how

the purest apprehension might appear

to take a corporeal shape.

—Geoffrey Hill, The Triumph of Love, No. IX

1

Sometimes, not sure what to say,

I sag my lungs, my vocal chords,

I count the bubbles on my tongue.

There’re words that thrust, roll themselves,

like tines of quick snakes;

those words I’ve heard, hauled,

held dear as joeys

in a pouch.

But this day, frail, I let them drop,

hit the ground. I hear them raising dust

as they race the streets

of this cold void.

2

I prefer silences and sighs,

have been made to prefer both;

for this caprice, what to say, where to start,

ensures a crash of the lungs,

of my vocal chords.

The flesh is avuncular, cut from the same sheet.

The fate of speech, spiced

or lacklustre, ends

with a putrid dash on granite floors.

If this then is hell, the worst of your youth,

this lash, unease,

why ask for rum

when you can run through woes

with your tongue?

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Stuart Barnes, interviewed by Daniel Young

Daniel Young interviewed our poetry editor Stuart Barnes for Issue Sixteen of the journal to celebrate the release of his debut poetry collection Glasshouses.

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DY: Thanks for being a part of out interview series, and congratulations on the recent publication of your debut collection, Glasshouses. Could you start by telling us a bit about your background and how you started writing poetry?

SB: Thanks very much, Daniel. Chuffed to be here, chuffed that Glasshouses is out in the world.

I was born and grew up in Hobart, where as a kid I met poet and librettist Gwen Harwood, who encouraged me to read and to write poetry. In 1996 I moved to Melbourne to study a Bachelor of Arts at Monash University (I majored in Literature). Towards the end of 2005, severe anxiety and mild manic depression peaked; my boyfriend at the time gave me several notebooks in which, at his suggestion, I wrote everything that dropped into my head—none of it poetry. I started to write poetry seriously, i.e., confidently, ambitiously in 2009. I moved to Rockhampton in 2013, which is when I became Tincture’s poetry editor (thanks!), with three close friends who grew up here. In 2015 my manuscript The Staysails won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize, resulting in the publication of Glasshouses (UQP, 2016).

DY: Can you remember when and where your first poem was published? What was it about?

SB: 2009, in MCV (Melbourne Community Voice), in Letters to the Editor. It was a criticism of a very short-lived club that drew, in my opinion, a very pretentious gay crowd; somehow the men who established it monopolised Melbourne’s best house DJs! In 2007 the very long-running, diverse and inclusive Q&A (Queer & Alternative) closed and, much to my horror, Melbourne’s queer scene’s golden age disintegrated. In 2000, a kind of poem (three lines, not a haiku) accompanied my then-boyfriend’s RMIT assignment. In between this and 2009, I penned lyrics for an electronic ballad written by a friend of that boyfriend and me.

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