Justin Lowe

Justin Lowe was born in Sydney but spent large portions of his early childhood on the Spanish island of Minorca with his younger sister and artist mother. Completing his schooling back in Sydney, Justin gained a BA in the Central West of NSW and then spent several years in Europe working odd jobs and honing his skills as a writer. On returning again to Sydney, Justin settled down with his partner in what was then a fairly crusty Newtown teeming with disparate souls where through the course of the 1990’s he published more and more of his poetry and collaborated with some of Sydney’s finest songwriters such as Tim Freedman of The Whitlams and Bow Campbell of Front End Loader and The Impossibles, as well as editing seminal poetry mag Homebrew and releasing two collections, From Church to Alice (1996) and Try Laughter (2000). In 2001 Justin moved to the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and has since published one more poetry collection (Glass Poems, 2006) and two verse novels (The Great Big Show, 2007 and Magellenica, 2008).


Will Oldham


her nape

smells of the earth

where I will hum my one, long note


in the powdery dawn

when the crocuses are budding

and the quicksilver in their irises


speak of poor choices

a fatal misreading of the times

though if there are limits


to the limitless

they are drowned

in the banquet trill of the magpie


and she turns

so slowly, anyhow

she barely troubles the creases


where I have let my hand travel

like God’s cold eye

along the ragged exodus


feeling out the green, ticklish spots

the gentle frost that never lifts

the hmmmm of the little girl stuck in her throat


and the question always asked

when the end is slowly dawning on us

crisp and golden in the lattices


baby, what time is it?




hers is the beauty
old prophets once exhorted
too long in the desert
pining for that cold touch


what some call purity

others a blade

the idiot wind

how many times how many times


but I am already

turning this poem on its head

for she is not one of those

ice maidens of sepia


the fog light tavernas

of the mud-caked generations, the ashen-faced:

the gods have not been kind to her

but nor have they played their usual games


she had a good man

a good, sweet, honest man

and he stuck by her

the Lord alone knows why


for she sang of him

but never to him

sang so long and loud of him

that all the nameless suddenly had a name


all the faceless had a face
all the silent stirred like crumpled paper
while all the blameless suddenly confessed
and all the heartless wept
and this good man drowned lonely in her throat




Patti Smith                                                                                                          

his was the first instinct
to protect his own
and so he did
and so
the pinched face stares up
and the pinched little fingers scratch at the sun
and the line crackles
and I am back there as he cooks
buttering over the thousand silences
so I assume
she cackles as at a name
she does not like
water with oil
the absence of hesitancy
is the absence of humour
a dry cackle
some ancient enmity
neither has the time to explain
or perhaps because
he clutches his pink little fingers
at the myriad whispers, the opaque face
high strings
and a lonesome baritone
and every river gurgling down to the sea
the salty death in his tiny mouth
where the gulls hover hungry
and the sun feasts on the eyes of everything






if by a gypsy you mean

a man skirting the hearth light

the spastic dance of the tv


then I am your gypsy


I have a home, Johnny

but it is not of this world

whisper of traffic on a rainy Sunday


I am that hunch you see

on the stone plinth in the trench coat

with the eyes of tarnished copper


the stiletto wind on Canal street

the echo of your guitar in the old farriers

like a tap dripping steel in the old farriers


I hardly know you

why do I bother trying

to cut this cloth for you?


tapping away on that fretboard

like the ghost of a factory child

humming my heart and soul over and over


time is not our currency –

is that what you’re trying to tell me?

live short and punchy, Steven


make shapes of their hours