Invasion Day 2018

Settler Colonialism

False Muse

what is this verbose cotton wool
but suffocation of truth?
sentinel poet effuses verse
for privileged settlers
descant to daily injustices
chorused in white racist media
relentless revisions of theft and denial
endless rights and return betrayal
triumphalism of patriarchal curses
veiled advice to contaminate resistance
normalise collaboration
embrace post-colonial defeat
tender submission to ongoing genocide
for security of invaders
boot must sink in hard
negative peace sucks the bones
such brave generous poetry
healing to conqueror spirit
a noxious complicity with drones
rubbing noses of oppressed
in the misery of their predicament
with hubris of beauty and art
escaped red lines revealed
in anodyne alliterations
and poetic capitulations

January 26, 2018

Invasion Day


January 26, 2018

Related Links

“The new campaign to deny the Aboriginal genocide, led by Quadrant, was taken up in the Australian mass media by a chorus of right wing columnists with records of antagonism to Aborigines and “leftist” supporters, and easy access to a wide public.”

In Genocide and Resistance in Southeast Asia by Ben Kiernan.

‘Even within the realm of literature, political writers and readers knew that their enemies were active. In 1956, Richard Krygier, head of the local arm of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, established Quadrant, explicitly intended, as he put it, as ‘a counterweight to the kind of leftism so evident in Meanjin.’ The founders of Quadrant liaised about their project with ASIO and Prime Minister Robert Menzies; their funding came primarily from the the Congress for Cultural Freedom.

Yes, that’s right – Quadrant, that scourge of tax-payer funded arts organisations, owes its existence to money secretly siphoned from American taxpayers courtesy of the CIA.’

‘ After a series of exposes and repudiations of the CIA connection, in 1967 McAuley published a careful response in Quadrant admitting the funding from the CIA was ‘deplorable’, but no more than ‘a well-intentioned blunder’. His defence that he had been an unwitting recipient of CIA largesse has been restated by the new editor of Quadrant and by its previous editors. Yet how was McAuley so unaware when Clem Christesen knew the money came from the CIA as far back as 1956? How was it that the editor of Quadrant had shown so little curiosity as to the source of money being so liberally handed out? A quick perusal of McAuley’s editorials give the flavour of the invective he would employ should the editor of a left-wing magazine discover he had ‘unwittingly’ been receiving 40% of his income from the KGB.’

‘THE conservative magazine Quadrant has accused the Australia Council of political bias after its annual grant for next year was cut by 30 per cent, from $50,000 to $35,000.

Quadrant’s editor, the historian Keith Windschuttle, a key protagonist in the history wars who denies that the removal of Aboriginal children from their families was racist or deliberate policy, has written to subscribers saying the decision by the council’s literature board was ”patently political”.’

‘The troubles Quadders has with Ozco funding might suggest that they would have an easier time returning to the CIA as their main funding source. But wait – in Cassadnra Pybus’s The Devil and James McAuley, we learn that the Congress for Cultural Freedom (the irony-free CIA front set up to pay for magazines like Encounter and Quadrant) repeatedly warned the magazine’s early editors that it was too politically strident, and not publishing enough of genuine cultural worth.

Got that? Even the CIA thought Quadrant didn’t publish enough good poetry.’



I tried to throw out my favourite trakkydaks
Gift to the flag irises and bromeliads
Forty years’ comfy wear, that’s the facts
A couple of holes, easily mended yet sad
100 percent cotton, washed out pale green
Hung off my frame faithfully, concealing
Lumps and bumps, a warm inner bogan
Uncaring of yobness before social ceiling
Robbed pleasure from non-objectified self
With trakkydaks now a secretive fetish
For this wannabe neo-primitive wood elf
Stuff the wankers, I’ll keep them, be selfish.

June 2017

Easter Bunny

Easter Monster Bunny

Shall I sample the ears of the Easter bunny first, or nibble at his legs?

Bite by bite, I will eat the body of the patriarchy,
absorb it, obliterate it, reclaim my destiny.

He won’t even squeal as I devour him,
and his violence, obscured by a smirking cuddly facade,
shall be ended.

The Lindt rabbit my husband gives me
has but a brief life and its sweetness nourishes my revolt.

April 2017

In Trumpenland

When you are a CEO,
there’s no place higher to go,
collect your options and cash them in
let them hate, while you grin.

For the coffers are secure
and our system must stay pure,
make them hate on da Jews
while we create alt-news.

Ruling class left fridge door open,
planet’s boiling, gyre is broken,
money’s not mother of invention
all are victims of capitalism.

Jinjirrie, February 2017

Peacock Capitalism


Mr Grabbit Has a Poetic History

C. J. Dennis

Unearthed from my library, this satirical poem by celebrated Australian poet, C.J. Dennis (aka “Den”) was published in his 1913 anthology Backblock Ballads and Other Verses – with its piercing, remarkably relevant political humour, it might stand up proudly today as a live slam performance.

The Martyred Democrat

A Recitation (with directions)

(Begin breezily)
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room, where float the strains of Brahms,
While cultured caterpillars chew the leaves of potted palms –
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room, upon a summer’s day,
The democrats of Toorak met to pass an hour away.
They hearkened to a long address by Mister Grabbit, M.L.C.,
While Senator O’Sweatem passed around the cakes and tea.
And all the brains and beauty of the suburb gathered there,
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room – Miss Fibwell in the chair.

(With increasing interest)
Ay, all the fair and brave were there – the fair in charming hats;
The brave in pale mauve pantaloons and shiny boots, with spats.
But pride of all that gathering, a giant ‘mid the rest,
Was Mr Percy Puttipate, in fancy socks and vest.
Despite his bout of brain-fag, plainly showing in his eyes –
Contracted while inventing something new in nobby ties –
He braved the ills – the draughts and chills, damp tablecloths and mats –
Of Lady Lusher’s drawing-room: this prince of Democrats.

(Resume the breeze)
Upon a silken ottoman sat Willie Dawdlerich,
Who spoke of democratic things to Mabel Bandersnitch;
And likewise there, on couch and chair, with keen, attentive ears,
Sat many sons and daughters of our sturdy pioneers –
Seed of our noble squatter-lords – those democrats of old –
Who held of this fair land of ours as much as each can hold;
Whose motto is, and ever was, despite the traitor’s gab:
‘Australia for Australians – who’ve learned the art of grab.’

Good Mr Grabbit spoke his piece ‘mid glad ‘Heah, heahs’ and claps,
And Willie Dawdlerich declared he was the best of chaps.
Then the lady organizer, dear Miss Fibwell, rose to speak.
A fighter she, tho’ of the sex miscalled by men ‘the weak’.
And, tho’ they hailed her there and then as Queen of Democrats,
They privily agreed that she was something choice in ‘cats’.
She was, in truth, a shade passé a trifle frayed, but still,
She was an earnest Democrat who owned a sturdy will.

(In cultured tones)
‘Deah friends,’ began Miss Fibwell, ‘you – ah – understand ouah league
Is formed to stand against that band of schemers who intrigue –
That horrid band of Socialists who seek to wrest ouah raights,
And, with class legislation straive to plague ouah days and naights.
They claim to be the workers of the land, but Ai maintain
That, tho’ they stand for horny hands, we represent the bwain.
Are not bwain-workers toilers too, who labah without feah?’
(The fashioner of fancy ties: ‘Heah, heah! Quaite raight! Heah, heah!’)

‘They arrogate unto themselves the sacred name of Work;
But still, Ai ask, where is the task that we’ve been known to shirk?
We’re toilahs, ev’ry one of us, altho’ they claim we’re not.’
(The toiler on the ottoman: ‘Bai jove, that’s bally rot!’)
‘Moahovah, friends, to serve theah ends, they’re straiving, maight and main,
To drag down to theah level folk who work with mind and bwain!
They claim we do not earn ouah share, but, Ai maintain we do!’
(The grafter in the fancy socks: ‘They’re beastly rottahs, too!’)

(With rising inflexion)
‘Yes, friends, they’ll drag us down and down, compelling us to live
Just laike themselves – the selfish elves, on what they choose to give!
Nay, moah, they’ll make us weah theah clothes – plain working–clothes, forsooth!
Blue dungarees in place of these …’ ‘Mai Gahd! Is this the truth?

(With fine dramatic force)
A gurgling scream; a sick’ning thud … a flash of fancy socks –
And Percy Puttipate went down, felled like a stricken ox –
Crashed down thro’ cakes and crockery, and lay, ‘mid plate and spoon,
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room one summer afternoon.

(With a rush of emotion)
A scream from Mabel Bandersnitch broke thro’ the ev’ning calm
(The cultured grubs, alone unmoved, still chewed the potted palm).
Strong men turned white with sudden fright; girls fell in faint and swoon
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room that fateful afternoon.

(With tears in the voice)
But Puttipate? … Ah, what of him – that noble Democrat,
As he lay there with glassy stare, upon the Persian mat?
What cares he now for nobby ties, and what for fancy socks,
As he lies prone, with cake and cream smeared on his sunny locks?

(With appropriate mournfulness)
Good Mr Grabbit took his head, O’Sweatem seized his feet,
They bore him to an ambulance that waited in the street.
Poor Mabel Bandersnitch sobbed loud on Dawdlerich’s vest;
And lo, a pall of woe fell over all – Miss Fibwell and the rest.
A settled gloom o’erspread the room, as shades of ev’ning fell,
And, one by one, they left the place till none was left to tell
The tale of that dire tragedy that wrecked the summer calm –
Except the apathetic grubs, who went on chewing palm.

(Suggestive pause, then with fresh interest)
There still be men – low common men – who sneer at Toorak’s ways,
And e’en upon poor Puttipate bestow but grudging praise.
But when you hear the vulgar sneer of some low Labor bore

(With fine dramatic intensity)
Point to that pallid patriot who weltered in his gore!
Point to that daring Democrat, who, with a gurgling scream
And flashing socks, dropped like an ox into the clotted cream!
Point to that hero stricken down for our great Party’s sake,
His sunny locks, his fiery socks mixed up with fancy cake.

(With bitter contempt)
Then lash with scorn the carping wretch who sullies his fair fame,
Who, moved by fear, attempts to smear the lustre of that name.
Great Puttipate! The Democrat! Who perished, all too soon,
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room, one summer afternoon.

(Finish with a noble gesture, expressing intense scorn, bow gracefully and retire amidst great applause)

C.J. Dennis
‘Backblock Ballads and Other Verses’