Issue Fifteen Table of Contents

Issue Fifteen is now available. Buy a tincture here. Here’s what’s inside:


  • Editorial, by Daniel Young
  • Making Noise: Part Three, by Megan McGrath
  • Saving Daniel, by Lucie Britsch
  • Slingshot, by David Adès
  • I Dream of Marie, by Christina Tang-Bernas
  • Fragment: Tuesday Evening, Waitan, by Ella Jeffery
  • Whale Song, by Ben Armstrong
  • Bonbon, by Joe Baumann
  • Chiang Mai, by S. K. Kelen
  • Too Big to Hold in Your Heart, by Rachel Watts
  • Carnival Flesh, by Elisabeth Murray
  • The Wild West, by Anthony Lawrence
  • Seventeen Ruminations About Bottles and Other Matters, Some Weighty, Some Frivolous, by David Murcott
  • Ethic, by Chris Lynch and a rawlings
  • The Lollipop Lady Who Liked Order and Balance, by Martine Kropkowski
  • Confusion and Showgirl Tunes, by SB Wright
  • What Happens in Indiana, by Ellie White
  • The Holy Foolishness of Punk, by Susan Bradley Smith
  • The Juniper Tree, by Vivien Huang
  • When I Meet the Zhou Family, by Mindy Gill
  • Roadrunner, by Liam Lowth
  • Fullas, by Ramon Loyola
  • My Boy Dalya, by Jov Almero
  • Morphology, by Scott-Patrick Mitchell
  • The Gift of Books and the Night, by Lachlan Brown

Making Noise: Part Two, by Megan McGrath

Megan McGrath is the author of the novella, Whale Station, and winner of the 2015 Queensland Literary Awards Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award. Her acclaimed short work is published in literary journals and anthologies including Griffith REVIEW, Meanjin, Seizure, Tracks, Writing Queensland and Tincture Journal, among others. Follow Megan on Twitter @megansfictions or visit her website

This is the second in a three-part series of columns on literary jealousy. This part appeared in Issue Fourteen and the rest will appear in the journal throughout the year. Please support our work and buy a copy today.

The Paper-House

I’m pushing along with the novel at a rate of two thousand words a day, buoyed by a weekend writing retreat that unlocked a few plotting secrets and changed the way I’ll write forever. It helps too that I’ve been reading rubbish books. Popular books by mid-career authors who have found a way to publish their mediocre writing about mediocre characters in mediocre towns, and I think if I can just keep going I might be able to break the back of this stupid long thing I’m trying to write. I think that if I can finish, maybe, I’ve got a shot at being ordinary, too. Somehow I’ve managed to make myself believe that being just OK and published is good enough.

But then I realise I don’t much feel like settling anymore.

When has OK been good enough for me, or for my writing? I realise I have 30,000 words of rubbish writing and an express ride back to uncertainty.

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from ‘The Ghost and The Machine’

Catherine Vidler’s poems have appeared in journals including Sport, Turbine, Quadrant, Blackbox Manifold, Antipodes, Takahē and Southerly. Her collection of poems ‘Furious Triangle’ was published in 2011 by Puncher & Wattmann. A chapbook, Canberra Poems, was recently published by Ginninderra Press, which will also shortly publish another chapbook of her trans-Tasman poems, The Window and the Tree. In October 2016 a chapbook of 28 visual poems made out of and in response to ‘chaingrass’, a word from Bill Manhire’s poem ‘Falseweed’, will be published in electronic form by Jazz Cigarette. Further chaingrass work, in the form of chaingrass ‘patterns’, appears or is forthcoming in The New Post-literate, Otoliths, Overland,, RENEGADE (an international anthology of visual poetry and language arts edited by Andrew Topel) and on Catherine’s website A large collection, including both chaingrass patterns and the original set of 28 visual poems from which they were made, is to be published by STALE OBJECTS dePRESS. Catherine is editor of trans-Tasman literary magazine Snorkel.

This sequence of poems first appeared in Issue 14. Please support our work and buy a copy today.

By sammydaviddog (Flickr) CC-BY-2.0

the ghost wanted more than he expected


to write a book

the exact opposite

to be acknowledged and/or released

to get married

to marry her

none of that early pressure

a birthday cake

a particular cake

to see him just once

fresh breath

to be in the group photo

to dance on stage

to share these memories

your house

a new place

true love


a halloween costume


his love to join him in the castle

to play poker

to talk to me

to play with them

my attention

to frighten me

to talk to him

her as a replacement

to repair and heal

to talk to everyone

to have a sleepover

some pie too

to be captured on film

everyone to leave

to let us know that it left us the tiny flowers

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Her Last Detox, by Laura McPhee-Browne

Laura McPhee-Browne is a writer and social worker from Melbourne. She is currently working on what she hopes will be her first book, a collection of ‘homage’ or ‘echo’ stories inspired by the short fiction of her favourite female writers. More stories in this series can be found at Overland and Verity La. You can find her at

This story first appeared in Issue 14 of Tincture Journal. Please support our work and buy a copy today.


—for Lucia Berlin

Carlotta woke, on the first afternoon of a thick and haughty heat wave, in the detox clinic on Eleanor Street. Her legs were feathery familiar when she placed them on the sticky laminate floor and walked towards her very own toilet, done up with skin-coloured paint and holding bars. She didn’t wonder what was for breakfast.

Six days it had taken. Four days last time, two weeks the time before. They knew her when she called; placed the phone down and yelled for Brian who knew her the best, his smooth voice guiding her back into bed each day that he told her there were no vacancies yet. On Friday, yesterday, Brian had been sick, and a woman who said her name was ‘Gloria’ in a voice like salt had told her that she was ‘in luck’, though it didn’t quite feel that way. She’d been careful not to begin on her own this time; had drunk four mugs of white in the kitchen that night after she’d showered, draped herself in her biggest pair of pyjamas and packed a small bag full of underwear and framed photographs—one of each of her boys, one of all of them bundled on the porch of a holiday house back when she could go on holidays. Then she’d climbed into bed, called all four of them on her cell phone and tried not to sob as they told her they loved her, and that they knew she could do it this time. No one, not even herself on the morning of a big and brutal hangover, believed that anymore.

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Issue Fourteen Table of Contents

Issue Fourteen was released on 1 June 2016. Buy a tincture here!


  • Editorial, by Daniel Young
  • Making Noise: Part Two, by Megan McGrath
  • Her Last Detox, by Laura McPhee-Browne
  • What’s to Be Remembered, by Anna Kerdijk Nicholson
  • The Pact, by Regan Lynch
  • it’s an interest, by Ben Walter
  • Pidan, by Deb Wain
  • Carnage, by Joshua Kemp
  • Evolutionary Lap, by Rosanna Licari
  • Last Night in Tokyo, by Kali Myers
  • Bath Scenes, by Nathanael O’Reilly
  • Silver Lining, by M.J. Mounsey
  • Blue, by Kim Waters
  • How to Disappear Completely (in the Middle of a Staring Competition), by Craig Mills
  • The Day Before Australia Day, by BN Oakman
  • My God Complex, by Denis Fitzpatrick
  • Newborn, by Emily O’Grady
  • Personal Growth, by Paul Threlfall
  • A poem by Dave Drayton
  • Begin, Again, by Jodi Cleghorn
  • Thank God for Gravity, by Tee Indawongse
  • A Compressed History of Sound, by Tom Albert
  • from ‘The Ghost and The Machine’, by Catherine Vidler
  • Vine e Panini con Michaelangelo, by Mark William Jackson
  • Early Spring, by Mark Frank
  • A Small, Leftover Hex to Be Undone: charting trauma landscapes and physical patterns, by Jonno Revanche

Making Noise: Part One, by Megan McGrath

Megan McGrath is the author of the novella, Whale Station, and winner of the 2015 Queensland Literary Awards Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award. Her acclaimed short work is published in literary journals and anthologies including Griffith REVIEW, Meanjin, Seizure, Tracks, Writing Queensland and Tincture Journal, among others. Follow Megan on Twitter @megansfictions or visit her website

This is the first in a three-part series of columns on literary jealousy. This part appeared in Issue Thirteen and the rest will appear in the journal throughout the year. Please support our work and buy a copy today.

I was in a foul mood when I went to buy Dave Burton’s How To Be Happy. The relentless heat had forced me away from my West End independents and into the air-con at Indooroopilly Shopping Town. In Dymocks, the book wasn’t shelved in YA or Australian Biographies, so I asked the elderly shop-clerk where it might be. I followed her to the Children’s Non-Fiction section where a few copies were squeezed between the DK history books and a make-your-own-skeleton kit. “Weird place to shelve it,” I said. She looked at me like I’d never read a book in my life. And worse, like I really needed this one.

At the counter she looked me in the eye and said, “You take care, OK?” Take care? I was reading the book because it won the Text Prize and Burton was a local artist doing great things for our community. Take care? I didn’t need to know how to be happy—I was happy. Three months ago I got engaged in Paris. Two months ago I won the inaugural Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award (QPYPWA). Last month I hiked the Grand Canyon.

OK. Maybe, to steal the first line of How To Be Happy, I’ve lied to you already. Maybe I wasn’t reading his book just because he was a talented local artist. Maybe I was jealous.

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Non-fiction by Peter Papathanasiou: A Century on, a Modern Refugee Disaster Unfolds in Northern Greece

Peter Papathanasiou was born in a small village in northern Greece and adopted as a baby to an Australian family. His writing has been published by Fairfax Media, News Corporation, The Pigeonhole, Caught by the River, 3:AM Magazine, Litro, Going Down Swinging, and Visual Verse, and reviewed by The Times Literary Supplement and The Huffington Post. He has been profiled as a feature writer in Neos Kosmos and is represented by Rogers, Coleridge & White literary agency in London. He divides his time between Australia, London, and a small village in northern Greece. He tweets @peteplastic.

This story first appeared in Issue 13 of Tincture Journal. Please support our work and buy a copy today.


The last time this many refugees trekked through Northern Greece, it was my grandfather fleeing for his life.

I’m aboard a train in northern Greece travelling west from the city of Thessaloniki to the small town of Florina where I was born. There’s an Orthodox priest with a thick iron-grey beard playing on his iPhone. A stranger leans across the aisle to offer some homemade baklava. Apparently her mother made too much and she doesn’t want it to go to waste. Riding in a baby capsule, my infant son is sleeping, the gentle rumble of the train on the tracks having worked its magic to the welcomed relief of his parents.

Every time I make this journey from Australia to see my family and ancestral home, I am reminded of the trek my refugee grandfather Vasilios made nearly a hundred years ago. But today, the trip has extra poignancy. On the other side of the mountains, millions of mainly Syrian refugees are walking roughly the same route as my grandfather in 1923. The parallels weigh on my mind. Today, Greece isn’t the final destination like it was for my grandfather. Instead, the promised lands are in central and northern Europe. But Greece remains a country on its knees, struggling to cope with a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions.

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Auguries, by Adam Ouston

Adam Ouston is a writer living in Hobart, Tasmania. His work has appeared in places such as The Canary Press, Southerly, Island Magazine, Voiceworks, Crikey, The Lifted Brow, The Review of Australian Fiction, and the 2014 Transportation anthology. He is the recipient of the 2014 Erica Bell Literary Award for his manuscript The Party, which has also been shortlisted for the 2015 University of Tasmania Prize. He tries to maintain a blog at

This story first appeared in Issue 12 of Tincture Journal. Please support our work and buy a copy today.


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nb6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Be3 0–0 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. 0–0–0 f5 10. h4 fxe4 11. h5 gxh5. A notorious theoretical position. One that is, I think, much better for black. My opponent has work ahead of him. Until now his moves have come quickly; my hand has barely recoiled and he’s making a note and reaching for the white. I’m the wrist and he’s the whip. Perhaps that can be attributed to the well-known pattern with which we’ve begun. 12. d5. There’s a pause before he does something that is new to me: 12 … Ne5. Then: 13. Bh6 Nec4. I might have looked at Rf7, but I did not like the fact that after Rh5 the knight is attacked with tempo. Imagine: 13. Rf7 14. Bxg7 Rxg7 15. Rxh5. Disaster. Ask any good player and he’ll say the key to winning is in being able to peer into the future. Although young, I am experienced and by now practically a soothsayer. I know what he’s going to do before he knows it. 14. Qg5 Rf7. The only move. I note it down and play again. 15. Bxc4. This one by me is questionable, all things considered. My opponent is a world-class grandmaster, after all. Not to mention the fact that he’s rated 100 points above me, in trouble and therefore capable of anything. Also, it’s the Moscow Aeroflot Open, which by 2009 is the strongest open tournament in the world. One worth winning. Objectively, though, my move is fine. I do not have to look at him to know that this is the first time he looks at me.

The superbolide meteor exploded 23.3 km above Chelyabinsk at 9.20 am 15 February 2013. As the shockwave headed for the city, O stood motionless in her office, having just put down the receiver. The direct line. She’d been speaking to X: the wife. X said she knew, and not only did she know, but her husband had admitted it. Admitted everything: what he and O had been doing and for how long. Four years. Four years, she’d said down the wire. Long enough for a lie to become the truth. Long enough to make the marriage the lie. Now it is me, said X to O: now I’m the other woman. I’m the one who has been forgotten. When you’re together I vanish without a trace. For her part, O could barely speak. Only yesterday, the fourteenth, Valentine’s Day, R had said that everything was coming to a head, that soon he’d be free. Promise. And now this. X had given her husband an ultimatum: her or me. X would stay if he stayed. She could handle the humiliation—she’d wear it like a tattoo and punish him with matrimony and curfews and weekends with the children. Would punish him with the love she still saw in him. Yes, X told him she would stay and she’d repeated this down the telephone in her broken radio voice to O so that he couldn’t, so that she could get there first and deliver the facts, straight and unadulterated. A man with facts is a corkscrew that can do nothing but twist. There was to be no manipulation. These were the rules. Alternatively, X explained to O, she could have him, but he’d never see his children. This, she said, would ruin him, and when you take a man you take his whole life and not just the parts that fit. And when you take a life it soaks into your bones and alters your future as well as your past. If you take him, X had said to O, you will turn into me. And in the end you too will be nothing, not even a ghost. Consider this a forewarning, for your own sake. I won’t cause you any damage: he will. He will make you disappear completely. With barely a word more O had hung up with both hands. Instinctively, her right hand shot to the ring on her left, yesterday’s gift, so new it was still cold. And she was still running it around her unsteady finger when the sky exploded.

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Issue Thirteen Editorial, by Daniel Young

Issue Thirteen is available now from our website. Please support our work and check out the journal today.


As I pack boxes and clean this tiny rental like it’s never been cleaned in the past six years, preparing to farewell Sydney and return to my home in Brisbane, it seems appropriate that our thirteenth issue buzzes with a strong sense of place, particularly in the non-fiction. The cover photograph, taken at La Perouse early on a late summer morning, the first to really feel like summer might end and give way to autumn, stands as a tribute to one of my favourite cycling routes—albeit one that has to be ridden at dawn before the cars that rule Sydney’s roads regain their dominance. Tincture Journal was born in this tiny Kings Cross unit, but its electronic nature and online communities have always allowed us to garner writers from all across Australia and the globe. Long may this continue! In 2016 we’re finally offering yearly four-issue subscriptions at a discount price, so please do head online and subscribe ( if you haven’t already.

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Two poems and an interview: Alison Whittaker

These poems are from Alison’s debut collection, Lemons in the Chicken Wire, and are reproduced in Tincture Journal with thanks to Magabala Books. Interview questions by Stuart Barnes and Daniel Young.

The interview and poems also appear in Issue 13. Check out the full table of contents here and consider supporting our work by buying a copy.


O, Eureka!

A scalp-scab burnt and straw-haired woman

spoke to me a revolution

that roared within my belly, only once it were ate

after years of pushin’ it round the plate

and when I realised what she knew

and what I missed—O, Eureka!

Nan sliced her finger on a crossword

and wrote with that a dissertation, then she

browning, spoke to me

her contested trinity

the messianic, and the self, and the

blades of grass that pierce the pulp

of weedy toes, that the world should meet you

and wound you as you wound it

made Descartes wrong about that split

O, Eureka!

And O,

the first time I said

a long white theory word

she yarned stiff to impress me

like, with that word

came authority, and with it, fear

that she had been misunderstood

her praxis clumsy or unheard

O, the weaker!

And then, at every drawn goodbye

like a choir, leaning each to the other to hold a clap

my nan clasps my hands and whispers to me

decolonising epistemology, and

critical autonomy, and

affective phenomenology.

And what she says is:

remember yourself, and call me once a week

on which I ruminate

O, Eureka!

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