Poem January 25, 2020

Ellen van Neerven
Paper ships, many fires

I know what you’re thinking

           how can we save the world?

                when we have barely

                      just survived it

when we have been disposed of

     raped and murdered

           erased and orphaned

                 and lost 90 per cent or more of our kin

Poem December 14, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke

the prime minister has

killed the department of the arts

                and is rolling arts in with rail and roads


all of us have encountered

  enough art

                     to know


         the devastation,

in this symbolism alone



                     as if nothing beautiful

      ever reached into his chest

and, beyond all logic,

                                        moved him:


        an exquisite string of words never

turned his world upside down,

                           or back upright again

Poem December 21, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
When the decade broke

             the stroke of midnight,

december thirty-first, nineteen ninety-nine,

    was going to end the world


at the hospital,

     they brought generators in


even the food service staff

were kept till late evening


none of us would get to


at the most expensive fireworks on earth,

        lighting up a new century:

Poem December 7, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke

my grandma, she loved diana:

                    the people’s princess, after all


she’d say

                          that was no accident;

                  how convenient for the royals


squinting knowingly into the distance

in her eerie seer’s way

                  the princess more adored than royalty

                              and her brown sweetheart,

                                                              out of the way



history tells us

         british royalty are accountable

                                     to none

Poem November 30, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
The panther


and poor-visioned,


sumatran rhinos

      (unless raising young calf)


                to live alone


in solitary ease,

                   and singing their shadow

Poem November 23, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke



the redhead

         on the matchbox

is all charcoal lash




she wears a do it smile,

like eve’s

                   to adam

Poem November 16, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke

the blood-truth is:


it’s much less about the camera

           and much more to do with the body

that it’s worn on


the body with the baton

hanging from its belt, the body

in blue, the body on the cop beat

clenching fists around a point-blank

pepper-spray can, the body

who holds the rein, that rears the riot

horse, the body trained

to wield

                         the gun

Poem November 9, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
Waltzing Matildas

a lot can go down

along the 200 red burning

      metres of track

between the victory lap


         and the starter gun

Poem October 26, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
Last Octobers

then it’s full-bloom calendar-crash



tired-in-the-bones tinsel

in the aisles choose your tree

early here we go round the

                              trick or treat

Poem October 19, 2019

Maxine Beneba Clarke
Jacqui’s law

they say the people’s senator

        from tasmania

has the deciding medevac bill repeal vote


so, quite simply, we are asking:

                     does senator jacqui lambie know

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 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