Poetry in the Time of COVID19

Feeding the Chooks

Schadenfreude

For decades they sneered
at us backward banana benders,
behind by 50 years they reckon,
we endured Bjelke’s curses of faded kitchen curtains,
daylight farm slaving and cow’s milk curdling,
fly with the crows, you get shot with the crows
as he fed the chooks, gloating.
Well, birds fly south for the summer,
and not this time, we’re roosting up north,
safe on our parochial perches.
Who’s laughing now? eh eh eh?
We already have your footballers
locked in our hubs –
yet laugh too soon, maties, and the boot
can be on the other foot in a few days …
Pride is the deadliest, most subtle sin.
Plagues follow science, not rhetoric in tabloid beatups,
thrive on denial, superstition, conspiracist ignorance.
Fertilised by desperation, selfishness and carelessness,
the toll is belling for us all.

Jinjirrie, August 2020

Apoemalypse

Flame Tree

Lostralia

The Not Good Network has crashed again!
What will we do without Netflix and Nintendo?
Stare out the window, gaze at the clouds
Till the kids beg us to read books to them out loud.
We cook up the mince and tear out our hair
And Grandma hides out in her flat downstairs,
What’s the pollies doing except for themselves
While our lives are becoming a living hell,
You’re surplus workers and we don’t need you,
Go get infected in a Centrelink queue,
It’s a brave new world for us all to explore,
And frankly, my dear, that’s no metaphor.

Jinjirrie, March 2020

Panic Payback

And there’s nooooo toilet paper again!
Just expensive tissues and paper towels,
The dunnyrollheads are driving us round the bend
And there’s a mighty bellowing in our bowels
That won’t be purged with a wash in the shower,
We’ll have to get up at an ungodly hour
And interview the dunnyroll queue
To ask politely ‘from where are you?’
And if they’re not from round here,
Lock ’em in the loo, till they learn not to fear!

Jinjirrie, March 2020

Under The Coronavolcano

Already I miss the parties, all our friends,
We’re a party for two without foreseeable end,
I ache for ping pong nights with our local group,
Now it’s stay at home or be carried off by hazmat suits.

We’ve been lucky, us two, we always rub by,
Yet with Scummo’s ineptitude we gaze at the sky,
Wondering when humans will be safe outside our place
And we can hug and kiss them again on their face.

Jinjirrie, March 2020

#Scummo Years

For these are now the Scummo years
You can’t eat dirt, you can’t drink fears
Stand up against the ruling class boots
It’s us or them, pull out their roots
Tears only overflow their cup
Never give in, never give up.

Jinjirrie, May 2019

From the bush on the Sunshine Coast, where even the local stupormarket is out of toilet paper again today.

Useful Resources:

WHO COVID19 info
Info on how long the virus survives on different surfaces, the virus half life, how to clean and more.

Domestic Inconsistencies

Golden Bunnies

I

She made me do it. She didn’t get the hint.
Obviously I didn’t want her anymore.
Simple things change. It didn’t feel right.
There have been others. I owed her no reason.
Whether too old, too bright, too cosmic,
She wouldn’t accept it.
She came to take her furniture.
After all I’d done for her. I needed it.
She stood her ground.
Her quietness was the spur.
It invited me to strike.
The barbed truth prodded my hands
to encircle her neck,
grab her thin body and throw it
like a curse across the room. Who would have thought
she’d be so light.
She bounced off her old table, fell against the lounge,
head cracking.
I nearly laughed.
I pushed her from my house.
Threw her bag after her.
She provoked it. Henry the Eighth got away with it.
Everyone says there’s two sides.

II

He dropped the blade on our love,
laughed when he dismissed me.
Kept my furniture. To compensate for
all he’d done for me.
So I visited to ask for it, my heater to keep me warm
now I was alone.
Like Anne Boleyn on the block I
meekly placed my head.
He pushed me. I flew across the room, ricocheting
off the table, hitting my old lounge.
My head rings still.
My injuries added to his insults.
Once he called me his gentle rose.
Excuses are words not blows,
certainly not the black marks on my body.
I wanted to salvage my belongings,
remake my tattered life,
to extract the thorn and release the angry pus
in private.
Everyone says there’s two sides and
asks whether I provoked him.
I stood my ground, wept, now
weep no more.

Jinjirrie, 1993

The Seed Collector – Guest Poem by Beth Townsley

The Seed Collector

Your mother wasn’t born
but made
a slick pillar of stiff salt
when she looked back
as women will.
And whatever went on nights
in daddy’s glistening tent
staked hard and tight
in the red sand of your story
you have now brought forth
those seeds into our village
collected
into the long pockets
of your sweat soaked robe
to be brought out
like secrets
set out like plants
watered like cacti
handed, given, released
to me
one by one
where like Crassulas
they flower
in the shade of the fickle catalpa
which barely survives this desert.

Even with the harlot of war discarded
brimstone fails to rain
or char the traffic in women
or sear those neat rows of tents in Zoar
or parch the shepherds amidst their flocks.
Destruction locked like a cedar door
at the top of your throat
opened
could bring down cities
to ashes and dust.

Genealogies carved
on the long side of your bones
are buried
fossils
in the dry death of sand
to be preserved
for ages untold
along side the seeds
of our garden of mysteries.

My hoe strikes
the ground. My spade turns
it loose and open
to take the seeds
gathered there
and alter history.

© Beth Townsley, January 2019.

Plastic Backlash in the Trashy Country

Snailafact

Yesterday in the Stupormarket (a throwaway poem)

People’s heads overflow with plastic crap
Disposable thoughts
Bags
Lives
Wasted
Thrown onto the global garbage heap
To choke other species with trash
And then their own
The final backlash
Don’t care is made to care
when there’s none left to do the caring
Gobble gobble gobble
They can’t be bothered to remember to bring
Recyclable bags to the stupormarket
Eyerolling addicted octogenerians
Bubble wrapped the future
A plastic floating continent
On expansion of forgetfulness
Parasitical capitalism breeds
Superfluous boastfulness
of having so much
You can afford to discard
Without a thought or care
Trolley rage goes national
Surging through rigid brain aisles
Even the checkout boy complains
Take take take
Tupperware mentalities
Consume consume consume
Chuck the leftovers into the ravine
To poison the oceans and streams
Buy buy buy oblivion
It’s what civilised humans do
The way it’s always been they say
Nimby nimby nimby numbskulls

Jinjirrie, July 2018

Deakin University’s Centre for Employee and Consumer Wellbeing behaviour researcher Dr Paul Harrison the disconnect had to do with “the difference between an attitude and a behaviour”.

“People can say, ‘I like the idea of having to bring my own bags’, but people struggle with those things. You can say you’ll do something but whether you’ll do that are two different parts of the brain,” Dr Harrison said.

“Getting into neuroscience, the prefrontal cortex says, ‘Yes of course I can do that’, but the prehistoric brain says, ‘I’ll just keep doing what I’ve always done.'”