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Tony hates lefty shirkers

March in March protestors in Byron Bay














this poem is about silence

words get in the way of silence
it needs a blank page
it needs space
in silence there can be longing
there can be anticipation
hostile intimate

you can hear it
in the pin-drop moment between bow and string

you can feel it between breaths

the inarticulate use of violence for expression
is this silence?

can you say the sharp sickle moon
that glows on a dark winter sky is silent?

when one turns their back in silence
silence is palpable
and what of a silence imposed in fear

silence can be loud

a silent protest
even without poster or placard is loud

when the powerless stitch their lips together
with needle and fishing line
is this silence
even if tears still fall

evil thrives under silence

a poem about silence
needs to be loud
to be heard

Colleen Keating


Our crisis

You let them cry
With no sympathy
You let them die
With no dignity
You trade their lives
For popularity
You trade their rights
Like they're property

You paint them as animals
They've bled as humans
You lock them in jail cells
Silencing innocence
You treat them as criminals
They're your wars' victims
They re-live their hell
When they need protection

You condemn their persecutors
You persecute them too
They're not our crisis
Our crisis is you.

Sarah George



There's a hint of resolution scattered on and off his face,
his aura's a disgrace, he awaits a revolution.
Better still, call it reform and apply a media blackout
and swiftly kick the hack out who would dare to question form

function, frame or dissolution. There's no grounds for appeal.
if you have sufficient zeal you can hide any obtrusion
on the body civic's mug. Spare a minister some change;
let not perspective range over policy in fug.

The PM's poker face flickers like a faulty switch,
he comes across as dense or kitsch when he obfuscates and dickers
and the government succumbs, falt'ring under weight of business;
Tony comes across as listless as he stuffs up stats and sums.

Hey there PM; keep your footing as the mess that oozes slickens
up your path. Abuse still sickens, but you have the bogans rooting
for the bottom line of comfort and indifference to others.
True, you give industries the 'smothers' but the cashed-up get the odd rort

and Australia for Australians is dog-whistled into mandate.
Keep your shoes shined and your part straight and you'll make hay from the aliens,
single mothers, uppity workers, bleeding hearts and pesky journos ...
Give it up. All the world knows Tony hates the lefty shirkers.

There's a hint of satisfaction in the monolithic scowl.
The 'drys' are on the prowl and the PM needs no faction.
By the bedside shrine to Menzies, the evaporated scriptures,
he plots against the fixtures and prepares his neo-con frenzies.

Get your righteous on, dear Tony; and feed all the forsaken
to your economic Kraken conjured by your faith a'phony,
knowing that your right to rule is your equal right to maim
and the discourse runs the same: the worker is a tool.

Barry Gittins



Colleen Keating headshotColleen Keating is a Sydney based poet. She belongs to the NSW Writers Centre at Roselle.


Sarah George headshotSarah George is a human rights campaigner. Her work has focused particularly on asylum seekers, modern slavery and homelessness.


Barry Gittins headshotBarry Gittins is a communication and research consultant for the Salvation Army and co-writes Eureka Street's monthly Book Chat column.

Image: March in March Byron Bay

Topic tags: Colleen Keating, Sarah George, Barry Gittins, Tony Abbott, asylum seekers



submit a comment

Existing comments

Tony's faith a'phony. It's almost enough to make me start humming Russell Morris' "The Real Thing".

Pam | 17 March 2014  

What a wonderful way to express such ugliness with powerful words.

Eveline Goy | 18 March 2014  

Thank you for these poems that touch the hearts of those who care. How can we move the hearts of stone?

Zia | 18 March 2014  

Someone (I forget who) said that it would be poets who saved the world from chaos. These three prove it. Thank you for sharing them. We must not be silent, not ever.

David Conolly | 18 March 2014  

When will he ever learn?

Mahdi | 06 January 2015  

i wonder why I open Eureka these days as it spirals to the left as an anti Liberal Government vehicle.

Brian | 06 January 2015  

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