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06 June 2016

When the campaign is Donne

Because halfway through an election campaign is as good a time as any to get metaphysical. 

When next the visage of the moon
Turns coyly from the Earth to wane
In Southern lands, a mournful tune
Plays soft to endeth this campaign

Two foes, hast did declare their troth
As means to quench a powr’ful thirst
One side intendeth jobs and growth
The other, putting people first.

What trigger’d such a grand event?
A solemn vow to disagree
‘Til twice-dissolved, our parliament
Restored not the ABCC

For fortnights twain a battle fought
Continued twenty-eight days more
We sit upon the rowboat’s thwart
With battens placed for what’s in store.

What promises are made thus far?
What quarter shall our champions give
To childcare, tax, the NBN
And gearing in the negative?

As rivals gloat and bluff and boast
It matters not what happens hence
The policies that matter most
Seem nothing much of consequence

Of marriage just, nor refugees
Spake neither glori’ed bureaucrat;
More time and swathes of journalese
Apportioned to a blessed rat.



30 December 2015

Two Thousand and Fifteen

Because 'tis the season to write lists of things.

In December I remember
Everything that’s been;
Listed tersely and diversely,
Here’s my two-zero-fifteen:














15 December 2015

The Twelve Days of Poxmas

Because we have a vaccine now. 

Some parents think holding "pox parties" to deliberately infect other people's kids with chicken pox - a usually mild but very uncomfortable disease with long-term complications - is preferable to having a quick jab. Perhaps they think the vaccine is more dangerous than the disease (it isn't). Perhaps they think it'll all be over in a week or so (it won't). Perhaps they think nobody ever dies from chicken pox (they do). Perhaps they don't think. 

Anyway, Pox Party Parents: this little festive jingle is for you and your poor kids. 

On the first day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
A flatlining E-C-G.

On the second day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the third day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the fourth day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the fifth day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the sixth day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Bleeding disorders
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the seventh day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Weeping pus-filled blisters
Bleeding disorders
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the eighth day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Febrile convulsions
Weeping pus-filled blisters
Bleeding disorders
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the ninth day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Nausea and shingles
Febrile convulsions
Weeping pus-filled blisters
Bleeding disorders
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the tenth day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Encephalitis
Nausea and shingles
Febrile convulsions
Weeping pus-filled blisters
Bleeding disorders
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Bloodstained sheets from scratching
Encephalitis
Nausea and shingles
Febrile convulsions
Weeping pus-filled blisters
Bleeding disorders
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Viral pneumonia
Bloodstained sheets from scratching
Encephalitis
Nausea and shingles
Febrile convulsions
Weeping pus-filled blisters
Bleeding disorders
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

16 August 2015

Scat.

Because poos ain’t poos.

Sooner or later, every Facebook discussion turns to shit. Yesterday, my friend Jo, who is a nurse quite familiar with the workings of the bowel, practically dared me to write a pome about the brown stuff. I so seldom get the chance to take up a dare these days, so I thought I would re-invent The Bristol Stool Chart in rhyming ploplets. 
You know. 
For shits and giggles. 




One is separate rock-hard lumps, and very hard to pass.
Two’s a lumpy sausage shape, a strain upon one's arse.
Three is like a chocolate bar, but cracked (not hard or knobby).
Four is smooth and serpentine, an easy-going jobbie.
Five consists of clear-cut blobs that don’t require a push.
Six has fluffy edges, ill-defined and boggy mush.
Seven’s got no shape at all; a watery suspension.
If you’re not doing threes or fours, your tummy needs attention.


Illustration by Jo Thornely (a completely different Jo)

23 March 2015

Good government starts today.

Because we need to start a conversation about "good" and "today".


On Monday 9 February, Prime Minister Tony Abbott faced the media after emerging mildly victorious from a spill motion and announced: 

"Good government starts today."

But, like with everything the Prime Minister says, there has been some confusion. Given that, during the six weeks since his claim he's sidelined indigenous Australians, patronised Irish Australians, attempted to destroy the reputation of the Australian Human Rights Commission, brushed off allegations of physical and sexual abuse in our offshore detention centres and eaten a raw onion as if it was a sane thing to do, I think we need a little clarification about what constitutes "good government" and "today".

I asked the Prime Minister to come up with his own explanation in no more than six rhyming quatrains, and he was remarkably obliging: 

Good government starts today. Hooray!
My standards won’t fall beneath
The era of steam or the Pot regime.
(But first let me clean my teeth.)

Good government starts at half-past nine!
I promise I’ll try to be
Much less of an arse to the working class.
(Once I’ve had this cup of tea.)

Good government starts right after lunch!
Our policies shan’t be feared.
I’ll do what I ought with the Moss report.
(As soon as the plates are cleared.)

Good government starts this afternoon!
I’m certainly going to do
A much better job for the native mob.
(Beginning at ten past two.)

Good government starts at dinner time!
I’ll show nothing but remorse
For all of the brawls and the captain’s calls.
(Right after the seventh course.)

Good government starts at beddy-byes!
There’ll be no more pain or sorrow.
That’s a firm guarantee from my team and me:
Good government starts tomorrow.

11 March 2015

Lifestyle Choices

Because some choices are more difficult than "which tie will I wear today?"

It's becoming increasingly clear that the only way our Prime Minister Tony Abbott can avoid saying ridiculously ill-informed things is to shut his privileged gob altogether. The latest morsel of mindlessness he dumped on the Australian population he clearly loathes was this: 

"What we can't do is endlessly subsidise lifestyle choices if those lifestyle choices are not conducive to the kind of full participation in Australian society that everyone should have."


What does he mean by "lifestyle choices"? He's not talking about overseas holidays, wearing cycling gear to the office or buying a European town car. He's talking about infrastructure, support and schooling in remote indigenous communities. 

Sure, they're just words. And yes, it costs money to provide basic infrastructure to remote communities. And ok, life would be simpler if everyone just moved to the city and got a job. Whether you happen to think funding aboriginal communities is a waste of money or not, basing your argument on the premise of choice seems idiotic, even for a Prime Minister who has turned Being An Idiot into a form of public art. 



If you choose to have your parents send you off to private school,
And you choose to be born rich and white and straight;
If you choose to manufacture copper wire or fossil fuel,
Then we’ll spend our money on you, ‘cause you’re great.

But

If you choose to live in shelters, outback towns or on Nauru,
Or you choose to come by boat or break a bone;
If you choose to lose your grant and join the unemployment queue,
Then you’re going to have to make it on your own.

Sure

You use vouchers for your groceries and your clothes are second-hand,
And your bruises speak much louder than your voice,
And your lack of reading makes the dole forms hard to understand,
But our hands are tied – you’ve clearly made your choice.

  

01 March 2015

Old Wives' Tales

Because scaring the bejesus out of children can be fun.


Jonathon got a strabismus for Christmas;
He pulled a face once and the wind changed its tack.
Eleanor’s Mum’s out of action, in traction
Since Eleanor carelessly stepped on a crack.
Beelzebub’s stolen the soul of young Olaf
‘Cause nobody blessed him right after a sneeze.
Stephanie went out exploring, ignoring
The cold, and returned with a deadly disease.
Libby has square shapes for eyes; no surprise though –
She spent half her days watching kids’ TV shows.
Tom’s nostrils aren’t where he kept ‘em; his septum
Caved in when he wouldn’t stop picking his nose.
Tales such as these may seem flimsy, pure whimsy,
But what if they’re true? Should you just pass them by?
Writing them off as mere fancy is chancy,
So do what you’re told, or you’ll probably die.





Note: I must credit The Digital Cuttlefish once again for this verse form. It's almost impossible to steal something from a cuttlefish.