Poem


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
Asylum

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

                                 away


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
Entitlements

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
2019

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
Ricochet

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
Unreckoning

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
Winter

silence,

                  all across the mourning fog

 

 

dark winter has descended