Full-Body Goosebumps

Listening to the dulcet voice of my generation cooing

At the crying child of our future doing an impression of nature

I wear a bespoke suit of full-body goosebumps.

My eyes would overflow their eroded banks if clean water weren’t an issue

But it’s 2018

And it is,

And my blood would spill outwards a free mosquito banquet

If someone else didn’t own that too.

Every day more horrendous acts in the name of reason and science

And only art to dress the wounds:

A little girl crying in her room googling how to make her skin thicker

How to build a mask out of dead cells and crazy glue

We’re all artists!

Especially when we least realise it

Because the best art is uncontrived and flows naturally in and out of the heart without conscious effort

We are all artists and that may be the only redeeming face we wear

The only thing worth leaving carved into this blue planet

With the strip mines and potholes

As if the earth were ivory pre-1989 and free to own, sell and scar

Businessmen are lauded as artists for excellence in their field

Tools of devastation are considered works of art

A murderer practises his sordid art

We name our kids after artists

And we name our art after disasters

Because everything horrendous still must have a name.



A Thimbleful of Tears

There’s enough pain

In a thimbleful of tears

You could extract the DNA

And make a human

That only cries

And can only feel the ache of life

And if we could isolate the H20

There’d never be a drought again

And then maybe we would’t feel so guilty

About crying

Propaganda Department 

I want to work for the government in the Propaganda Department

And manipulate minds

Like a sadistic computer technician

Engineering consent for horrible crimes

I want to paint dead kids in the hue of freedom

And fill factories with labourers

Who think we need the bullets

Because the only way to safety is through the sternum

And between the C1 and C2 vertebrae

With bayonets of strong rhetoric

I want to work in the Propaganda Department of the next Total War

Punching out death sentences on safe white paper

Because life has been dishonest to me and treated me poorly

And now, true to form, I want revenge

Not détente

I want to perpetrate the same crimes on another

That I am bruised with

And condemn them to the same treatment I’ve received

Feeling superior as I watch them suffer


I can be happily blind to my own hypocrisy

I will have successfully indoctrinated myself

Into the world


…And then I will be an asset



Photo by Camille / Kmile on Unsplash

Bespectacled Wisdom (just repeat: “we are in control and know what’s best” until your lips bleed)

Here is a vitriolic poem that wasn’t accepted for publication. Me at my most angry and impotent. Here’s to an oil-black future and a barren tomorrow. Cheers.

A big fist shadowed the sea,

Reached over the shores it dwarfed and plucked through the tree’s leaves,

Took a eucalyptus to chew, as it ruminates, between its teeth

And finally sunk its fingers fatally down into the Great Barrier Reef

It stirred up muck and silt and interstellar debris

—the ocean is like space in its limitlessness and zen secrecy

It had calloused fingers and dirty nails—coal eclipses

And its money line was long and strong with endless fallow ridges,

—a polluted river carved into the palm that glowed black and viscous

And on the wrist was

The time, on a Patek that drummed down the minutes to midnight so listlessly

Reflecting the sun of wealth in technicolour ads so bright it dazzled our vision’s ability,

So when we shook hands over ground or ocean it was a forgone decision to break bread

With multinational companies— corporate citizens who want their shares

Brokered by white men in blue suits with Cheshire Cat smiles and every politician’s high fore-headed white hair

Who won’t live until the destruction he’s ensured arrives on a Gulfstream and is right here and everywhere,

And smokes off on the horizon where it can’t be redeemed by tireless effort or appeals to faulty rhetoric

And kids will grow up knowing only levelled horizons and fallacies and personal attacks and straw man arguments

They’ve learned from watching politicians bicker about tax breaks for corporations we’ll pay for without asking us

When we can’t even get a ‘here here’ and shaken fist to fund crisis housing or renewables or public welfare

Kids knowing only of acid rain on black sands topping up a bubbling tar pit of mesothelioma and well wishes gone decrepit

And flowers on the sandstone graves where coral once freely grew in splendid colour

Until notions of Progress become our father and we look around seeing we’ve progressed ourselves to endless squalor

Praying everyday an Our Father to scientific materialism and for political elites to take us farther

Past our pastures, people and pets chopped up for lazy appetites and stored until out of date in our larders

Looking at those big clouds of pollution riding cattle class to well-researched disaster

At the top of the triangle is money then the people who lend it then private property then you and me

And I hate to sound like a commie

But we need a change from money=power=worth which defines what life you can lead

And who you are with a cursory look between rushed meetings at your CV

How do we develop infinitely in a world being treated like a consumer good at worst and replaceable at best?

Human arrogance, we developed medicine and munitions and that gave us some power, now we think that we can out-design death

That we can tread heavier on the Earth because we know what’s best and that there’s, well, definitely some resources left

And then when they’re gone repent, point fingers at each other’s desperate faces as the night lengthens

We’ll teach the next generation (if it comes) that our calculations were right and the world did us wrong

Pulled the calfskin rug out from under our dress-shoe’d feet’s strutting song

When our greed has led us into the ocean’s deep and there’s no one left we can dispossess or take from

Because we’re all in the same oil rig with our lying pants on fire and no saviour from the situation

Until the petrochemicals disappear back into their belched curse

One of the wonders of the natural world

The coal mine everybody came from overseas to observe

The national mascot we need for jobs and growth, and the unhealthy fate we probably deserve

The last viable tourist spot on Terra Australis’ once blessed earth

And now we keep the lights on selling tickets to see it in its titan slumber

Presiding over a dead sea where fossils are the only remaining worthwhile things you can come to visit

We’ll catch passing clouds and bring them down to drill into to produce our power plant’s vital numbers

Until the sky is blue and empty like the bodies the Aussie flag covers

And it’s numbed and we’ve hopefully stolen new tech someone else had discovered

The earth melts and we subsidise jobs and industries long-supplanted and compost-condemned

And argue with one another if the facts actually establish global warming’s real or just a trend

Here’s a new fossil fuel: grab a drum and fill it with cash to burn for warmth for you and all your friends

Because soon money won’t matter, there’ll be no one left to think it’s real

And the brute fact of a destroyed world will glow in the depths of space as a cautionary tale of hubris and human greed

When we still can’t fucking realise we’re living in the middle of a miracle that the universe has maybe never before seen

And enslaving all this possibility to little bits of paper-waste that don’t produce oxygen despite being green

We grew like a mould on this rolling stone, gathering moss but wanting more to eat not caring if we’re eating up our home

And in our DNA is death, and now instead of killing each other, we’re killing each other and ourselves and yes

It’s evolution just occurring, we’re moving over for whatever, whoever, will come next


After all you can’t stop progress


Image courtesy of business insider