from Issue #6: Poetry by Les Wicks

Photo (CC) Beau Giles @ Flickr

Photo (CC) Beau Giles @ Flickr



He sees a woman, his daughter,
fly away.

Knew this fluff bundle this
totter of feathers she flew then fumbled
as do all gristle to the
adolescent mill when bodies
mystify & mirage so
certain about nothing it’s
almost grown-up.

Lost her somewhere around year 9. They became poles,
the magnets spun their unchosen roles
chalk & chilli.

He knows he’s no authority, no man, no failure
despite. These are the deaths each were promised
eat joylessly a caged lettuce
but need as they
think climb
but decline
into wisdom itself
a fraud one can’t discuss.

Lords of fix or fragment –
she the stubborn, judgemental,
opinionated little brat (just like her old papa).
Forgive him
this not-enough
more to come
bungled but unconditional love.

In awe he watches her name, she
builds a sturdy thing with broken eyes,
the School of Scars
has made something impenetrable to him but a
smile’s worth of trouble.
Friends are salved, worthied the mend with days.
Networks emerge newborn from her fingers,
her business busies (that shop in Newtown)
while managing two children (Grandpa’s quarterly visits
those tiny, priceless strangers).
She strides through
a lush crop of episodic
light & sails.

The father leaves life for those who are ardent, their
petty thrills of territory.
But one thing wanted, waits (for her) unfinished
sucking sense from a regretful river outside
always outside
the Last Iconoclast Saloon
at the end of a train line..


.Hindered by the Hearth

Leave our doors
with weight
stop on a tickle
check the mailbox (you do know
it’s the middle of a long weekend?) back upstairs
to verify the heater is cold have you
got your wallet this
leaving will take a while,
maybe have a cup of coffee?
We work hard to fill the question.

Jowled sky
about the courtesies of coal
you say the day is leaden
leading nowhere
the whimlost winter,
this breeder of night,
is subtle. I will convince myself.
Our tracksuits are smeared with belief.



Les Wicks has been published across nineteen countries in ten languages. His eleventh book of poetry is Sea of Heartbeak (Unexpected Resilience) (Puncher and Wattmann, 2013). This year he will be performing at the World Poetry Festival (Delhi), Beyond Baroque (L.A.), Austin International Poetry Festival (Austin), Brett Whiteley Studio (Sydney), Struga Poetry Evenings and RhiZomic (Sydney). He can be found at

Contrappasso, Issue #6 – launching in September 2014

Cover image "DSC02603" (CC) Vincent Lou @ Flickr, altered from original

Cover image “DSC02603” (CC) Vincent Lou @ Flickr, altered from original


New Issue. New Authors. Contrappasso 6 is launching soon! This issue explores still more possibilities in international writing, bringing together work from nine countries in four languages, by more than twenty authors who are appearing in the journal for the first time.

Their work leads from snowy streets in Montana to packed train stations in Tokyo, from Hong Kong horse races to Sicilian passion-plays, from the Coal River Valley to Manila shopping malls, and from an iron lung to The Raft of the Medusa.

This issue features interviews with Australian poet Judith Beveridge, veteran American crime writer Lawrence Block and Filipino novelist Jose Dalisay. It presents new fiction by Japanese novelist Mitsuyo Kakuta (translated by Aoi Matsushima), Chilean Álvaro Bisama (translated by Megan McDowell) and from the USA, Jon A. Jackson and R. Zamora Linmark. The poets are Elizabeth Smither, Iain Britton and Stephen Oliver (New Zealand), Flora Delalande (France), Penny Florence (UK), Ouyang Yu (China/Australia) and Richard James Allen, Stuart Barnes, Jamie Grant, Siobhan Hodge, Frank Russo and Les Wicks (Australia).

Watch this website to sample the work this all-new ensemble of writers. They travel far.

The Editors