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 lauramcpheebrowne.squarespace.com.

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.

Continue reading

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 megansfictions.com.

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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 http://adam-ouston.tumblr.com.

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.

Continue reading

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 (tincture-journal.com/subscribe) if you haven’t already.

Continue reading

Issue Thirteen Table of Contents

Issue Thirteen is available now from our website or the usual e-book stores.


Plum, by Gemma Mahadeo

Gemma Mahadeo emigrated to Australia from the UK in 1987. She has lived in the Philippines, and spent most of her time in Melbourne. Her work has appeared in local and national journals, in print and online. Most recent work includes a villanelle in Writ Poetry Review, and a sonnet in the Pozible-funded Tenderness Journal. She once gave the New Zealand brewers of Yeastie Boys fame a beer poem whilst they were all stuck on a tram together.

‘Plum’ first appeared in Issue Eleven. Please support our work and buy a copy today.



Sli-vo-vitz, you susurrate.

It already sounds alluring

in your Eastern European accent,

and mandatory to the tongue.

I recall snatches

of Williams’ frozen plums;

fairytale plums dusted

in sleet-glaze sugar.

You don’t need to check the icebox—

my blood-stained fingertips and

plump mucous membranes

will attest to the crime.

—after W. C. Williams’ poem “This Is Just To Say” (1934) <www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/245576>.


Suburban Songs, by Kathryn Hummel

Kathryn Hummel writes non-fiction, fiction and poetry, sometimes combined with her original photography. Her diverse work has been published and performed throughout Australia, New Zealand, the US, and Eastern, Western and Southern Asia; her debut collection Poems From Here (Walleah Press) was published in 2014. More details available at kathrynhummel.com. Kathryn’s non-fiction piece, ‘A Night Inside’, was published in Issue Eight of Tincture Journal and this poem, ‘Suburban Songs’ appeared in Issue Eleven.

Please support our work and buy a copy today.



Girl resembles toothpaste:

sensitive original.

Beware beware!

Read directions

before using.



Intensity has a bad rep.

Take away the cliché association with vaginas,

possessiveness, stalking, dead pets, death threats—

and you have pure passion

the kind that not only creates diamonds

but blasts them out of mountains.


Issue Twelve Editorial, by Stuart Barnes

Issue Twelve is now available from our website.


Cover image courtesy of Adam Byatt, copyright 2015

I started writing this editorial as Rockhampton’s jacarandas were beginning to churn their purple rain, and on the day that The Red Room Company announced the winners of its Poetry Object 2015: “a free poetry writing competition for students and teachers which invites young writers and their teachers to submit poems about objects that hold special significance to them”.

While walking beside the Fitzroy River the following day I bumped into two acquaintances who pressed me to remind them what I do for work—“Poet, poetry editor of Tincture Journal”—then declared “Poetry’s dead because it’s not taught in schools anymore”. I was delighted, then, to be able to direct them to The Red Room Company’s website (“our public projects and education programs have provided professional employment and creative opportunities for more than 700 poets and over 10,000 students across Australia and beyond”) and neutralise their too-cliché-to-be-repeated barbarity about Sylvia Plath.

Continue reading