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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.