from Issue #8: Poetry by Page Sinclair

Photo (CC) laura.foto @ Flickr

Photo (CC) laura.foto @ Flickr


Grazie Italia

For the Roman sparrow who lent us his time
As we awed at the Pope’s palace in a crowd
Of two and for our moment by the Tiber
Green as the sycamore’s fresh summer rags.
For making us sticky in the heat as we fall away
Like ash into the noisy song lit twilight
And for the wine in worn out street corners
And marble foyers grand as an aging contessa
Slipping into the dark draped across the lanes
By the glamorous and impossible canals
Of my first time Venezia, where the night
Is an insistent daydream dressed for carnivale.

For the sun that razored the cooling Tuscan air
As Firenze stared down like a pantomine
Wizard casting a spell over its sleeping riches.
For the hidden church of gilded silence
That lost us all over again between the
Tourist party palazzos and wet diamond
Fountains busking for foreign coins.
For singing opera in gondolas steered
By poor boys in borrowed shirts.
For selling me enough glass beads
And Chianti to be dazzled by myself

Grazie Italia for being the best lover
I ever had the pleasure of leaving

And you make me wonder if we were
Ever sound in mind with our strong
Young bodies pulling us up the hill into
The arms of a legends appearing like a
Distant relative from the summer dust.
You make me want to sit in shade until
The money runs out and jump a train
Through fields of canola and sunflowers
And tiny churches blooming from the
Harvest, old as trees. You make me
And walk my streets in the rain
And falling churchbells, and sleep
Til Sunday noon in the spell of black
Silk and cobbled old women in the
Squares cleared in the stone forest
For the church, and wake to the rough
Hand of the artists in the piazza
Jewelled with their work, and breathe
Damp windowsill morning dreams.

I am a bird perched on a city
Lost in its own twistings and
The symphony of living on rooftops

And it’s all free

Italy you cheap whore
Soldering hearts together

I love your hairy upper lip
And swinging hips
And impatient loving
You big armed
Hold me together
So drunk and fed
That I forget to fall
To pieces under
The accordion light
And gypsy flowers
Worshipping in the
Dust of saint’s bones
And the grinning skulls
Strung with lace
And hot prayers.

Thank you for teaching a cold
White-bellied tourist how to burn
With the midnight candles.

Grazie for breeding greedy brave sparrows
To befriend the wanderers on a bridge.




An afternoon with Eliot, Dante and Steinbeck

There it is – your life – in a cage of rain. Impervious
As the clouds are to your wet feet. Too slow
Too slow the bird chimes from the bricked up
Chimney with the butchered shoots
Of the sage bush in its beak as the sun
Laughs at your turned up collar.
Galled by the world into the secrets
Under the dust and horse sweat,
Hiding with the mice in the haystack.
Lost somewhere in the powdered mist
Kicked up like a curtain hem
By the feet of the Hollow Men
There is darkness and a river –
Each the other’s nightmare –
And a journey into nowhere,
Through phantoms of the streets
And old frontier truths
To find the sky on a clear night;
To find the nothing in yourself
And your loves scattered like seeds
Onto the cool field of the stars.




PAGE SINCLAIR was born and raised in Sydney and completed a BA at the University of Cambridge in 2013. She is currently working on her first collections of poetry.


New Double Issue launch on 10 April!

Contrappasso Double Issue, April 2015

Contrappasso Double Issue, April 2015


Roll camera…

Contrappasso starts its 4th year with a DOUBLE ISSUE.

Writers at the Movies, edited by Matthew Asprey Gear and guest Noel King, brings together many kinds of artists who have been captivated by film: its imagery, history, personalities and political edge. Across essays, fiction, poetry, interviews and photography, the contributors are James Franco, Emmanuel Mouret, Sarah Berry, Barry Gifford, Michael Atkinson, Luc Sante, R. Zamora Linmark, Richard Lowenstein, Anthony May, Michael Eaton, Jon Lewis, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Scott Simmon, Clive Sinclair and the late, great Richard Hugo.

Companion issue Contrappasso #8 takes the journal’s adventures in international writing further and wider, with its biggest selection of new fiction and poetry, from nine countries.

There’s an interview with Filipino authors F. H. Batacan and Andrea Pasion-Flores, plus stories by Pasion-Flores, US authors Rick DeMarinis and Kent Harrington and, in a Contrappasso first, a long-overdue translation of Argentine modernist author Roberto Arlt (with translator Lucas Lyndes)…

…plus the most poetry in any Contrappasso issue, with work by Nicaragua’s Blanca Castellón (translated by New Zealand’s Roger Hickin), Spain’s Alicia Aza (translated by J. Kates), China’s Lu Ye and Geng Xiang (translated by Ouyang Yu), New Zealand’s Kerrin P. Sharpe and Mary Macpherson, the UK’s Bill Adams and Richard Berengarten, the USA’s Floyd Salas and J. Kates, and Australia’s Elias Greig, Philip Hammial, Travis McKenna, Sascha Morrell, Tony Page, Sarah Rice, Frank Russo, Page Sinclair, Alex Skovron, Paolo Totaro, Lyn Vellins, Luke Whitington – and one of the last poems by the late, much-missed Morris Lurie.

This Contrappasso DOUBLE ISSUE presents the most writers so far, across the widest range of fields.

And… cut.