1.

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

2.

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

3.

Closer to home, a woman is dying in another hell, a mere 3000k 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.

4.

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.

5.

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
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 Yasmin, respond with dig­nity and fer­vour and grace
But we will not be silenced.

6.

They say justice is blind but I can’t help feel she’s blind­folded right now,
Held to ransom as random injustice rains down on us — and it’s a hot rain,
a muggy rain that stick in your craw and chokes you with the stench of it.

In a week where we take one step closer to our very own Stasi on our door­step,
with our newly minted Home Office ready to raise its Aussie combat boots
and place them down ever so gently on the neck of our del­icate demo­cracy;
in a week where the ice caps melt inex­or­ably towards a day where they can gambol
on warm shores with scores of dead fish; in a week where the ersatz leader of the
so-called free world slimes his way through yet another woman’s dig­nity;
in this week, when we need good people so des­per­ately, it is in this week
that we lose Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam from par­lia­ment
And the sheer unfair­ness of all of it comes crashing down around my ringing ears
and my numb hands which I find have crept into fists again; my aching shoulders
have found them­selves tight around my ears again and my teeth hurt from clenching
and I am numb numb numb because I cannot let myself rage or I will break

One week after she was born, the law changed.
Surely you get some kind of pass for that, for stating what you did in good faith.
Surely there’s some sort of waiver for babies and chil­dren, but there’s the crux of it,
Isn’t it? If we waive the case for these two, we might need to acknow­ledge the inno­cence
Of the 179 chil­dren we’ve locked away in sticky-hot camps off our shores; we might
Need to let all those Amer­ican Dreamers claim their rights on that sticky-hot
Florida shore where their par­ents landed all those dec­ades ago, because it is
All con­nected, it is all one hot sticky mess, and leads us right back to Dutton and his
Dirty back-room riot where the police force is sleazing up to the mil­itary and they’re all
Leering at the hot sleek weapons cache they’re going to get their sticky fin­gers on next
Because lord knows it’s a pounding coming to anyone who thinks oth­er­wise
And don’t you forget it in a week where we dis­covered the legacy of men who visit
Evan­gelist churches just often enough for someone to drink in the sick hot mes­sage
That viol­ence is their birth­right and we all better learn to submit, amen.

The first day of term and my daughter’s school was on fire,
Like it knew that there was no point trying to edu­cate anyone
In a world such as this, crum­bling, des­troyed
And without its cham­pions.

7.

There’s a sleazebag born every minute in La La Land and for some reason
We’ve all been forced to read in minute detail about Harvey and Louis and Kevin
And how they got away with dec­ades of groping and creeping,
choking their tiny tur­keys in front of cap­tive audi­ences or
Turning up in bath­robes freshly lub­ric­ated for job inter­views.
Mean­while men every­where acted entirely shocked
Except for the ones who shiftily made excuses because we can’t ever be sure,
Right, Matt Damon? Much better to gas­light a whole country live on air.
After all, this is the good old US of A where white men every­where proudly voted
For the man who prom­ised to make America great again by grabbing it
By the pussy. Incred­ibly, the fact that rich white men in this
born sexy yes­terday fantasy land har­assed rich white women
Magic­ally made real what the rest of us had been saying
since the dawn of time and as a result, dear fellow women, I apo­lo­gise but
it will be neces­sary to flay yourselves alive once again.
Since the out­pour­ings of pain from #YesAll­Women in 2014
Failed to smash the pat­ri­archy in any tan­gible form, you will be required
To retrau­matise your­self in the newly extended 280-character limit,
And please don’t forget #MeToo.

Closer to our own back­yard, Don Burke was finally revealed to be
That Person We All Knew Was A Creeper but Never Said Any­thing About
And it’s such a relief so say it, you know, because there’s just no way,
Anyone could have known or done any­thing about it over 30 years
Because cap­it­alism, you know, and pat­ri­archy, and power.

We’ll believe it’s made a dif­fer­ence when the next jock rapes someone on campus
And nowhere in the art­icle the next day does it say any­thing at all
About his sporting achieve­ments. Or when Desiree from accounting
Can con­vince her man­ager to take it ser­i­ously when she reports that
John from HR has been demanding blow jobs for every pay rise
For the last 10 years.

8.

It is all a charade, weasel words thrown around in rari­fied cham­bers
While men on Manus dig for water and endure sticky hell
For the fifth Christmas in a row. Peace on earth, they say,
And good­will to all, except for those with the auda­city to seek a life
Free from bul­lets and maybe arms to sink into at night, hope
For a future, for a child. Face­book com­menters lit­er­ally end vile rants
Telling people to go back where they came from with “Merry Christmas”
Seem­ingly unaware of the teach­ings of their own prophet,
That middle eastern brown-skinned refugee Jew
Who loved and for­gave and min­istered to the poor.

9.

In the last days of 2017, Ahed Tamimi slaps an Israeli sol­dier
In her Palestinian front yard,
two years after her brother was in a head­lock,
Days after her cousin is shot in the head.
In response, oth­er­wise respect­able upstanding
Israeli journ­alist Ben Caspit says there should be retri­bu­tion,
“In the case of the girl,” prefer­ably after dark,
Without wit­nesses, without cam­eras,
Where no one can see. She’s 16.
No one blinks.