(With thanks and gratitude to Robert Borden)
2017 was a good year for fear, a good year for screaming
Not like some other good American years but it slid out of
A year of celebrity death and televised suffering that we were all
Only too happy to see the back of
And in a year where somehow no one noticed how utterly idiotic it was
To actually include your opponent’s name on all your placards
as if “love trumps” wasn’t as far as everyone got in the age where no one
Ever read to the end, just click and share and definitely do not check the facts
We are six weeks in to this long, hot summer of 2017 – not even 100 days
And we are all already heartily sick of the knee-jerk fear
The airports are jam-packed with crowds and ordinary people committing atrocities
Somewhere there is a five-year old boy in handcuffs and another room
Contains a grandmother who hasn’t eaten in 20 hours. Her tormentor
Is just obeying orders and has so quickly succumbed to the bland banality of evil
That I can only imagine the concourse reeks of sulfur and the heat is unbearable
Closer to home, a woman is dying in another hell, a mere 3000 kilometres off the coast,
And if everyone just waits long enough, she and her baby will slip
Ever so quietly away and out of the headlines, off the front page,
And into a grave, a silent grave, a wailing grave,
Always and forever an Australian grave, don’t mistake for a moment
The gravity of this egregious error, the enormity of this outrage
That a woman escapes from one horror, still somehow dares to create life
Inside her, to nurture it for this long in such conditions and that
Faceless cowards of men condemn her as a lesson to others,
Lest we forget for a moment that we were baptised by fire through war
This young nation, so proud, our boundless plains we share.
Melissa McCarthy is imitating Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live
And it’s all anyone can talk about; well, until next week, when
All they can talk about is the machismo power play posturing as
Poster boy Trudeau wins over Trump’s own game with the tug-and-wrestle
Handshake as if this micro-analysis of schoolyard boys is somehow
More important than the children who are still starving in Syria
But definitely can’t get through American airports to safety
As if today’s revelations about Trump and his ties to Russian spies
Is just another moment in some John Le Carré novel and meanwhile
Back home, our good old boys pass around a lump of actual coal,
Laughing, may as well be singing, This’ll be the day that I die…
Because you better believe it, if we were all the way with LBJ then
You can for sure lump us with Trump, and we have to ask, Malcolm,
How are you sleeping at night? There was a strange day when you & Kev
Showed off your awkward bromance on Q&A with your leather jacket on
And half the country contorted itself into paroxysms of admiration
And now you are nothing but an empty husk of a man.
A million women are marching all over the world and I am not there.
They are wearing pink knitted caps and I am once again watching
Through a screen, which is all I do these days, and on my screen,
Women are singing, somehow, they still have beauty in their throats,
And they are singing.
They sing: I can’t keep quiet.
They sing: A one woman riot.
They sing: I have to do this, I can’t keep still.
And it’s true, here in our deepest fears, we are not cowering away.
We are gathering together in our thousands
We are crying together in our lounge rooms
We are creeping out together in our pink caps
And taking to the streets in our madness and our monstrous forms
We are linking arms together wearing purple for refugees
And we are knitting our lands together against the gas companies
And we are raising our voices in song and in anger and in love
Because it’s what we know and because words are what we have left
Because we talk too much and because we don’t know when to shut up
Because of all the times we’ve been locked up for speaking our minds
Because of all the wise women in history who knew too much
We are connected in our outrage and our despair and our hope
For all of our sisters everywhere, for each step forward,
For each Malala and each Bhutto and each Golda Meir and each Emma Goldman,
For each step back, when Lambie attacks Abdel-Magied on live TV,
We will, like Yassmin, respond with dignity and fervour and grace
But we will not be silenced.