Poem August 17, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
Contradictio in adjecto

most of us,

    it seems ridiculous now,

were there to save all life


                      from hostes humani generis


which we’d learnt,

      way back in week two of class

meant the enemies of mankind

Poem August 3, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
A starting wage

                         and we were all waiting

for that golden age,

                     of fourteen and nine months

and a starting wage


a paper route, stacking shelves at franklins,

or working checkout at the safeway

sweeping salon floors at the local mall

             (that was me, circa nineteen ninety-four)

Poem August 10, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
Wolf pack

                    we have determined

                    he, and he alone,

                                                            is responsible


                    as best we can gather,

                                         this one’s a lone wolf

Poem July 27, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke

we know all this,

      because we’ve done all this



                          sweet mercy,

                                  set them free

Poem July 20, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
The rate

caught skint

                    at the iga counter


frantic hands searching threadbare jeans

                    sorry, guess i’m short on change today

                    forgot my card

as you put the tampons, washing liquid,

and your pride


Poem July 13, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
Section 116

in grade eleven, our legal studies teacher

fired up the overhead projector


and fuzzy grey handwriting shone

                                        on the classroom wall


the constitution:

separation of church and state,

section 116


                    and finally, i felt seen

Poem July 6, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke

no one likes a politician


no matter how good you are, no matter

how hard the job, no matter

               how you serve the public

Poem June 29, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
Proportionate force

the president is tough on immigration,

    he is building the mexico wall


and the smell of despair is unbearable,

in the child-camps of customs and border


they say the collars of babes are coarse with cried salt,

they say more bodies than mattresses

        line the concrete floors

Poem June 22, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
Things about dying

in my home state, now, by law

                those leaving us can tread gently:

usher themselves towards the light

in the dignity they see fit


and i can’t remember all of their names

they and i were strangers

                but when i heard,

i thought of them

Poem June 15, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke

first, the Ministry of Truth doctored language

their words weaponry, loaded and aimed:

asylum seekers became illegals

they said detention centres, not jails

Poem June 8, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke

baked redbrick,

   in the darwin heat

dry palms whisper,

   in the stifling breeze


bloke says

               mate, we were sure it was fireworks

Poem June 1, 2019

Evelyn Araluen

Sis, I have a ghost story:

A river flows fat of bream and cod and perch. Here where the soil has parted for the belly of creators, the stones in the shape of the foot of god, the river ripples songs for their journeys through the land. Black bodies splash shards of golden light, there is enough and enough and enough.

Poem May 25, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke


                  all across the mourning fog



dark winter has descended