Stuart Barnes


Stuart Barnes’ poems have been shortlisted for major Australian prizes & published at online & in print journals & newspapers including The Nervous Breakdown, The Warwick Review & The Weekend Australian Review; others are forthcoming at Otoliths, in fourW twenty-three & Blasphemy. ‘Mother and Son’, creative nonfiction about his coming out, can be read at Verity La ( He edits PASH capsule (, a magazine of love poetry, & is working on the manuscript for his first book of poetry. Currently he lives in Melbourne, Australia.



Words witnessed, in traction, on Swanston St.

You fucking Asians
     Stuffing your yellow
faces with 

rice   Picking
     your Chinky noses
Yeah, that’s right, 

get your fingers
     right up there
Go back to China 

I hope you die
     today, bitch: I hope
a tram hits 

you   Thanks, Driver,
    have a great


(title an adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s ‘Words heard, by accident, over the phone’)






Jacqueline Buswell

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAJacqueline Buswell is a writer and translator, and has worked as a journalist and teacher of English as a second language. She recently completed a Masters of Creative Writing at Sydney University. Speaks Spanish, and is currently studying Italian. Her poems have been published in the Wollongong and Bundanon Poetry Workshop Anthologies, in the journal Five Bells and in other anthologies.





you are at ease in this landscape
of brown grey lines and twisting bark
gnarled deformities on old trees
all dry and crackling in the heat
fallen branches force you into detours
you get lost in the abstraction
you find a sunken billabong
hear the screech and laughter of the birds 

on a full moon night you watch the heavens
and shadows move around the shining bark
small creatures move in the rustling silence
you hear the plaint of the mopoke voice
a house was lost in a bushfire, you re-created
that destruction on a murky canvas 

dawn light opens on a granite rock and you see
the saltbush plain stretching west below
you realise  you have never seen these distances
and a kangaroo is watching you 

the valley turns with swathes of orange  settles to dun
the bird song ceases and you cast about for shade
you realise you’ll have to build it
you’ve seen the humpies, as a child you used to draw them 

you pull together branches, bark and leaves
brushing away termites and spiders
you lean logs against a tree
you never were a builder  but by midday
you are snoozing under your rustic canopy
inhaling eucalyptus. 

when you wake, you begin to paint –
that gold surround of pale blue
the iron red mountain
that mopoke night

                               After an exhibition by Elizabeth Cummings
                               SH Ervin Gallery 2012



Luke Fischer

Luke Fischer PhotoLuke Fischer is a poet and scholar. He won the 2012 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize (2012). He is the author of three forthcoming books: a debut collection of poems titled Paths of Flight (Black Pepper), a monograph on Rilke and phenomenology, and a book of children’s stories. His poems and translations have appeared in Australian and international journals, including: Meanjin, Overland, Cordite, Snorkel, Agenda (UK), Antipodes (US), and ISLE (US). He was awarded a PhD in philosophy from the University of Sydney in 2008 and has held academic positions in the US and Germany. Recently he returned to Sydney.




Les Grandes Baigneuses

   Cézanne, 1900-1905

The serious blue of dusk
pervades the forest and figures.
On the further shore a dense cypress
spires. To the left of the group
arranged as a chance constellation,
a woman with a trunk-like frame
trails a river of towel, the source in her hand,
while her head is submerged in blackened foliage.
Two women, kneeling on the bank like deer with
folded legs, watch a naked girl as she slowly leaves the water,
unembarrassed and contained. Her iconic profile,
ringed by a cumulonimbus steeped in twilight. 
To the right a tomato cheeked farmer with ample breasts
relaxes in cushioning arms and a sturdy physique
inclines with a tree. A seated woman between them
is feeling the texture of the earth while a russet head,
still bathing alone, rinses a shoulder, looking on.
Their skins shimmer––a moonlit lake
composed of refracted sky, woods, shore.
Beside the dark cat on a table of grass: 
a cane basket of fruits and a watermelon half.


After days of rain

After days of rain
       I go out for a walk
The air is hazy and bright like the mind of a saint
  coming to her senses after a vision    

threaded with polished jade and crystal beads
grace   the   breasts   of   trees
  anklets glint in the grass

Three lorikeets pass in a rush––
chirpy green-winged rainbows 

Entering the reserve
only now I realise the path
is a scar on the landscape
Now that the water
has made it a creek bed
and flows like a healing lotion

Downstream a fairy wren
twitches its blue-capped head
flicks droplets off its wings   departs

In my fine leather shoes from Berlin
I slink along the bank, the soles pressing
native grasses and purple stars

Is there no way we can enter a forest
other than by severing it––like drawing
a rusty scalpel across a patient’s skin?

And what about the footpaths and roads,
the byways and freeways, motorways and runways––
all the cauterised wounds scarring her back?


Michael Farrell

0Michael Farrell is the former editor of Xmas poetry zine, elves. His new book is open sesame (Giramondo) which was shortlisted in the Kenneth Slessor Prize; Michael also has a new e-book from Black Rider enjambment sisters present.



A Romantic Woman

Has sewn a bauble on her dress tonight
She thinks about the relation between
natural and artificial light as
she drives through the evening in a taxi
Doubt becomes her. If she were Catholic she
assumes she would’ve toyed with bishops …

agnostic it’s jackaroos that keep her
reading colonial fiction. Danielle
loves being twenty-nine (the pathos of
it) and dreams of an earlier name like
Muriel or Jean. She smooths the violet
sash her mother would say meant ‘die single
The country can be harsh like that. Next year
she might become a novelist, but for
now she’s happy with the magazine world
the hair and makeup boys, donuts on Fridays
She met someone online recently who
carves his own chess pieces and has a sandy
fringe, and she’ll meet Liam in the flesh tonight
Warm and soft, she said to herself warm …

soft. The night is floating with stuff: maybe
organic, but she thinks wearing a veil’s
underrated. I can’t wear a taxi
everywhere, she jokes to the driver who
doesn’t understand why not. Danielle thinks …

her friends, their brutal ways with men and how
successful such ways are. Men are afraid
she isn’t strong: yet she’s been known to eat
tuna from a can (to the right music
They don’t know what it takes to be her! She
wouldn’t be an editor for long …

Magazines were arcades for Danielle, not
stylish training manuals. Cigarettes
or insanity she would quip (before
she quit). Her therapist said she had …
Cinderella complex but Danielle – in
a rare fiery moment – retorted …

you have complexomania! Whereas
she was a deer of the forest …

Harriet Shelley without the river
bit, or the kids. Really, her mind was drifting

into inanity. The Melbourne traffic
wasn’t like a forest; she could surely
find better role models if she needed
them. She would never make anything happen
Danielle imagined Liam was probably
one of those soft, toilet-paper roll kinds …

guys with razor blades attached to the last
sheet. They love you until then. I have …
date with a bottle of gin, she thought …

a man on the side: a moment to cherish
cherish, cherish. She noticed that the clasp
on her handbag resembled a creature
with an unusual nose. She began
to conceive of a feature …

underrated beauty. She sat in the taxi
outside the party with the metre running
scribbling in her notebook while the humming
driver played a samba on the steering-wheel 


Blue Cat Repository

Of everything that goes on in this
small room that is the house. Every feeling
evokes or colours me. Other cats mime
monitors, or speakers. Bread’s being sliced
jam’s being spread. I’m in your lap …

I’m purring. I’m outrageously fluffy
The TV’s on. The emu eggs hang from
the wall. Today I caught a mouse. A lie …

fire burns, the kettle boils. There are stock
anecdotes; there are street anecdotes. There’s
extended family slander, swearing, shushing
Someone’s melting their kidneys, someone’s fleeing
from the room crying. If you listen

you build up a picture of a culture
a kind of play with endless exits …

comebacks. I listen. There are leghorn
chooks pecking at the doorway, there’s …

ineffectual dog, barking …

shaking hands. Someone’s going to get
corn, someone’s getting a boiled lolly or
a hard coin pressed into their palm. Attempts to
reroute the conversation are shouted
down. Margarine’s tolerated. Cake

vanishes. Who has indigestion
Who wants a pink milk drink? Our usually
empty, calm domain has become a place of
noise and tussle. There’s no respect for cat
beds or cat bowls. But I’m not fooled

… distracted: there are determinations
being made. I’m a bank and a banker
I’ve watched card games played on quieter days. Quieter
trades of emotion are made then. I
remember watching a queen fight with

a general. They were lovers. I
was like a weather vane. Lightning struck them
both and they smouldered in cold gold corners while
servants picked up bugs with ancient tweezers. They
would stand on the balcony and throw

cherries at the pigs, who barely cared
No one thought cherries food there or then
certainly not me. Yet here, now, they fight for
a slice of anything with a cherry
in or on it. They sing about them

as if cherries constitute a world


Eric Low

Eric LowEric Low works in the audio-visual industry, and lives in Shanghai.  He has had his poems read on radio and has previously been published in several print and online journals, like the Asia Literary Review, Shampoo, Santa Clara Review, and others.  He was the 2009 winner of the Singaporean Golden Point Award for poetry, and occasionally functions as an editor for Softblow.





Chinese Park Bench

It is rare to see a man smile
in his sleep, on a Chinese park bench,
in the unicorn-blue days after the snows.

He is smugly dressed. His Mao coloured jacket
betrays a North Face label, badly copied.
His pockets are flattened, no wallet bulges.
A tan line marks his hand where he once wore a watch.
Nothing of value protrudes from this being.

Perhaps it is the knowledge of this,
that lifts the curls of his smile,
and grants him the comfort
of sleeping openly, here in this country.


Darling, Lets Call It One Of Those Mornings.

Darling, lets call it one of those mornings,
when we wake before any of our alarms go.
Maybe because we hear birds singing. 

Rare, because this early on the 25th floor, only
suicides willingly squat it out on HDB ledges.
Nevertheless, what is there, is there. 

Tweeties arriving in pairs to the prospect of construction.
Nary the jackrabbit bores bearing down on our doors,
that shake dust from our roofs, and take

our wooden board floors in waves.  Instead coffee

sips through our gaps; the neighbour we all dream of hating,
is imitating my mother’s butter roasted grinds.
Yellow brick roads, ruby slippers.  Our pet topic.
Never mind what Rose K. said about not arguing at night.
We’ll remember them for our next big bout.
Right now, it’s all about
how well the sun shines through and yet not shine.


Milk Films Over Soup
On reading Richard Hugo’s Letter to Kathy From Wisdom

All first instincts were the search for compatibilities.
Who was who, the likeness of individual behaviours, as if
choices then, were as limited as they were now.
After that, promises, promises. That I would always keep this poem close
repeating the words as I sipped cold soup at the Yuyao Lu cafe. 
I am a liar of course.  But only you, would know how to call me out. 
Remember this place? Where we walked to for breakfast
after your first night at my house. I had to feel my way here then,
towing you along by your fingers. A blind man
with no cane, leading a girl only pretending to be blind.
Between now and then, one of us got smarter or duller.  I forgot which.

These days, I trudge here on base instinct alone and the Frenchman
who served us on his first week in Shanghai, once so eager and kind,
no longer recognises me as the man in the blue long sleeved shirt
with the teenage girl clinging to his arm, asking him about life in general.
Perhaps it is three, and he and his waiters are impatient
to go home for those small hours precious to them.

The milk that formed the base of my soup has turned impatient too.
A layer of film freezes over its surface.  I break it up with my spoon,
stirring to emulsify it back into liquid, but we both know,
nobody could drink this anymore.  Still,
stirring always helps.

I started laughing; at you, almost the Kathy of my own Hugo poem.
For hoping that one day as you break the road on your yellow bicycle
through those sanely acres of your farm filled world, washing
your feet in the creek behind your house, splashing
your face with their waters, still trying to shun all that is me and mine,
you might come to understand how much you, this deli, that poem,
even the Frenchman, matters.


Corey Wakeling

Corey WakelingCorey Wakeling lives in Melbourne. His poetry appears in Australian and international journals and anthologies. He is the author of chapbookGargantuan Terrier, Buggy or Dinghy (Vagabond Press, 2012) and Goad Omen (Giramondo, 2013). He is reviews editor of poetry journal Rabbit, and interviews editor of Cordite.





His hands silenced me, mute the epiglottis
made windowpane from which
and so disturbed by outside mania the hands
about others like dogs on a calf dog us.
More cuneiform plateaux without but
undisturbed since none live there surmounted.
All scrub rustles but binocular O’Casey
and the scramble, drifting lost for voice
but humming like turbines. Laburnum. 

Lantana. Drift, in pools. That was where, intermission
of steady passage to the wax arrangements,
most rent the voice thrown clatters
disturbed by chance from the plainness
of clock face in Carlton,
the plainness of crime at the site of the Russian
juniper. Orthodoxy too, one guesses. Won
garsons. Turnpike to the grotto at estuary’s
diminishment, but surprise reflection
of state Narcissus. 

Yours his hands steady, clockwork. Cur whelp to voice
in the juvenile zeit.

Jan Owen

Jan OwenJan Owen’s most recent book is Poems 1980 – 2008. A selection in Dutch, Der Kus, was published in 2010, and a New and Selected, The Offhand Angel, is forthcoming in the UK with Eyewear Publishing. Several of her Baudelaire translations will be included in a future issue of Modern Poetry in Translation.




Elusive as Derrida
at the eastern edge of absence,
the tiny beast came through more slant
than Emily D in Sunday black –
a slashed-off scrap of dusk,
Venetian appliqué round a mask
glimpsed at a window over the Grand Canal,
Vivaldi played two rooms away. 

Lobbed from nowhere onto the desk
in a shocking slippage of air,
grief’s gift paper sleeked its own dark nub,
a grinning foetus between the books and the cup,
myopically pulling itself together,
eerily looming, flumping towards me twice.
Then off to the frame of the Japanese print
to hang like disshevelled sci fi, gravity’s womb
or a scatological statement on art. 

I let it be all night through chittering dreams
but woke round dawn as out to the square world’s
inconvenient corners it veered,
tracking its own grace notes to where
at last out the fast thrown-open door
it took my breath away
like an exorcism,
that most intimate loss.


Outside the Museum

Against the traffic’s roar
some small pipsqueak was giving
its territory away
with five clear-glass notes here
and five more there
like memory echoes in
the stripped trees’ mid-December air
so twig by twig by twig
one naked plane was hung
with limpid silver baubles of sound
like a boutique musical pine 

with the unseen wren
so much ahead of itself
so much a sprung intention
it seemed the tree was plucking
the bird from note to note
from now to now
playing its flight in silver palindromes. 

Passing below
our trivial quarrel held its ground
with words like dead bells
melted down for guns
till aptly we went underground at Iéna
parting finally at a corridor junction
grey as a tunnel in purgatory
no buskers at any coordinate
of space or time.  



Terry Jones

TerryTerry Jones’ debut short collection, Furious Resonance, was published by Poetry Salzburg in 2011. That same year he was the winner of the Bridport Prize. His work has also appeared in magazines including Poetry Review, The New Statesman, Agenda, Ambit, The London Magazine, Magma, Iota, Communist Review, The North.




Let X be the sun:
between number and number the rage star burning; Xanthic helllight, Sunflower atom-pisser, imaginary
ghost flower.

                                                                    Starts with clot of ochre
     Impasto sun-mould the ur-text in outline paradigm mud-pat
                                                   A child’s sun isotope of yellow wax its surface storms 

Upstroke the sun’s sign
On papyrus whirlpool of x-rays

                         a violent flower at zero
                                                 Furious stalk the inferno uncodes and black it is black a black funeral

feather World-black negative dark flower Gamma plant blazer Anarchist icon
O common star Sulphur flower the light star’s dark grammar

                         Is hossanah breath and bone  swastika Solomon’s Seal

At heart it reads off Signifier Sigma
Sonne sunne A sol-fa
its energy a base petal pions’ spore Morpheme it flashes out

Struck flint Mi

 The dawn flower Alpha Aaron’s Rod Gospel gold-leaf
To liquid sets elixir the dusk rose Giaconda Will-o-wisp light text

Glows oil out plumes out

Marigold Madonna Yellow ink on paper

Its syntax figured
complex Flowering Kells Book wrought Of roots enchanted Carnival chromosome

Writhing writing Rag-and-bone strange rose Torch of anti-matter Old rope manuscript

Ultra-violet hieroglyph
but penned






Mark Roberts

Mark01Mark Roberts is a Sydney based writer and critic. He is currently editor of Rochford Street Review and P76 magazine. He was widely published in Australian literary magazines and journals during the 1980s and 90s and has recently emerged from a long hibernation. His book Stepping Out of Line was published in 1985.





Martyrs’ beach

the seaweed was blood red
we stood on the sand
and watched waves
hurl bleeding clumps
at the regenerating dunes 

at the local museum
we find  buried at the back
of a yellowing scrapbook
a reference to a seaside massacre
of aboriginals who had
‘trespassed on prime grazing land’

near the front door
a hand written label
in a wooden showcase
full of spear fragments
“little is known  of the way of life
of the original inhabitants of the area”


After arrival – storm at sea

running like children
past the old midden,
protected by a rusty sign,
we burst onto the beach to be confronted
by the stench of dead mutton birds.
they stretch in a decaying black line
along the high water mark.
others lie rotting, caught on the rocks
at each end of the beach.
we climb over the headland
to the next beach
to find the carnage even greater
a wall of feathers bones and maggots
piled high. 

in the general store
the talk is of pollution –
oil spills up the coast
or poison feed.
But in the bottle shop
an old woman
tells us of a storm at sea,
of birds dropping
exhausted into the waves.


Jo Langdon

jo langdon


Jo Langdon is the author of a poetry chapbook, Snowline (Whitmore Press, 2012). She lives in Geelong and is currently completing postgraduate studies at Deakin University.




We suck down saltless air and the light’s gone
strange—mountains hiding
their greenery,
           swallowing time.

In Vienna it was pigeons, feathers
slate-coloured and your camera full of them.
(Bodies filthy, grained and small
             in the instant.)

I want you to see it all,
as I remember: in miniature, like a snow-
           glass sequence. 

            Afterimages curved in crystal

of snow that does not melt, does not build
        in shape or artefact:     

not the tilting flowers, starry edelweiss;
         not bright air in singing hills, 

                     or the zigzag of ice between us.


Sonnenfeld 17

The kitchen lit with snow light
your first morning here

and winter somehow cleaner: air
low and blue on the streets. 

Deep in the night, trucks salt
the roadways; mountains lean in
on your sleep.  

You wake to find shadows
unpinned and shifting
in barest light— 

your face, a quiet hologram,
in looking glass that will not hold
melting garden snow.