Poem October 12, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
The Gospel of Peter

 a poem constructed from the words of Peter Dutton


african gangs have taken over the streets,

melburnians are afraid to go out to eat


                                     and asylum seekers are having


anchor babies … armed with pro bono lawyers

          trying to leverage migration

Poem September 28, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke

so hear us out,


        we invite that australian guy:


the PM with the big head

who loves god, and hates migrants

Poem October 5, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
Spring break

the bell rings at two thirty,

an hour too early:

playground a-teeming,

kids whooping with glee

Poem September 21, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke

              on fridays,

our children are bursting train carriages

backpacked full of hope


wielding placards bedroom-made

from flattened cornflake boxes

    and upcycled tomato-stakes


Poem September 14, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke

no rain in sight,

                     all hot south-westerlies




grey smoke, coiled

                      around the cowering

sunshine coast

Poem September 7, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
Home to Biloela

it chilled the blood


             it felt different, this time

when the deportation vans arrived



they lived next door

         and were just like us:

Poem August 31, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke

september germinates,




                     all sure-quiet-beautiful

and fern and jade unfurl

Poem August 24, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke

There once was a shock-jock, annoying:

foul-mouthed, sexist, racist, not-toying.

He got his last warning,

the public were scorning.

And the sponsors, they walked – that was buoying!

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 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 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 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