The other New Zealand literary journal

Tag: John Downie

Issue 56 Supplement: The Only Time

Below are full colour reproductions of four paintings by John Downie which appear alongside their texts, in black and white, in brief issue 56. To mark the transition, we have also included a further poem and image by Downie here: Black White Colour.

John Downie’s book, The Only Time: an autobiography in twelve pictures, is forthcoming from Steele Roberts this year. (Click images to view them in more detail).


The only time
Black and white changed
Into colour
I was in the very room

A forward sense of myself
Had sneaked me
Through a broken back-window
Into the Magic Theatre
Convinced I alone could manipulate and mix up
Puppets, masks, light
With disputational voices
Into the reality
Of an illusion


The apparatus already had its own ideas
About the polychromatic possibilities
Of the spectacle

In which as many lives
As were seemingly being lived
In every scoured quarter of the Earth
Could be elided through past and future
Into a perpetual present
Pixellating pure motion
Incessant song
Agonies of the heart
Ecstasies of commodification
Bleeding scarifications of the political will

All together

Into vibrant, cool
Illusions of a reality
Available, night and day
With no more required effort
Than the restless flicking
Of opposable thumbs

Without any need at all
For my feverish monochrome adolescence
To help animate them

 John Downie: BLACK WHITE COLOUR 1967

John Downie: BLACK WHITE COLOUR 1967


John Downie: UNIFORM 1943

John Downie: UNIFORM 1943

CHE 1967

John Downie: CHE 1967

John Downie: CHE 1967

BED 1970

John Downie: BED 1970

John Downie: BED 1970


John Downie: ASYLUM 1989

John Downie: ASYLUM 1989

The accompanying text for these paintings appears in excerpt from The Only Time, which appears in brief issue 56.

Brief issue 55

Brief 55 Cover

brief 55

Edited by Olivia Macassey. 144pp.

Featuring work by: Ivy Alvarez, Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor, Nick Ascroft, Victor Billot, Iain Britton, Isaac Brodie, Brent Cantwell, Stephanie Christie, Mary Cresswell, Brett Cross, Makyla Curtis, William Direen, John Downie, Doc Drumheller, John Geraets, Michael Giacon, Rata Gordon, Dale Johnson, Robert Kempen, Sid Khanzode, Rosalie Liu, Caoimhe McKeogh, joshua morris, Michael Morrisey, Janet Newman, Piet Nieuwland, Andrew Maximillian Niss, Keith Nunes, Vaughan Rapatahana, Sahanika Ratnayake, Jack Ross, Lisa Samuels, Carin Smeaton, Michael Steven, Fiona Stevens, Richard Taylor, Denys Trussell, Richard von Sturmer, E Wen Wong, Mark Young.

Reviews: Jen Crawford reviews Excerpts from a Natural History by Holly Painter and The Burnt Hotel by Olivia Macassey.

“an isle of amusements, mysteries and wonders…”

A supplement to the current issue is located here.
A supplement to issue 55 is located here.

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