Anzac Day Howl (2015)

As my nation turns to revere the ghosts of its war dead
(remember its somehow OK when we do it at Gallipoli, never, for them, at Yasukuni),
my thoughts move to the perversion of our Prime Minister deploying troops in Iraq
for a centenary edition of chasing phantoms in the wastes.
I remember, too, those who privately questioned the wisdom of attacking the Dardanelles,
but cowered before their colonial masters and surrendered to their fate,
who dreamt themselves heroes, raising flagons in the Kingdom of Valhalla, or else shahid,
and whose bones adorn a dusty ditch,
who stole beads from the tombs of Egypt and mailed them home
in exchange for knitted socks.
who arrived on the beach and charged Hill 60 with great enthusiasm
and found themselves cut down before the high-tide mark,
who made enemies of others
just to be sure of who they were themselves.
who invoked the name of g*d for power, asserting their right to stone gays, adulterers,
and deliver hellfire missiles to wedding banquets,
who lived for little, believed in nothing
and died for even less.
whose salty lips came together in the sea
only to find themselves spluttering in the surf,
who reached with their tongues for their lips once more
and found them searing, bubbling—or entirely missing—smattered with hot lead
in the vast desiccation,
who giggled through footage they had recorded on their phones
of brazenly-observed airstrikes on villag—militant positions—and swelled with pride
in their devastation,
who brought photographers to games of golf in Hawaii to stand, zombie-like in awe at their new colonial master—
look upon his sand-wedge-drive, ye lowly vassals, and despair,
who sat, themselves, in vast expanses of sand
watching the sunset, surrendered to utter powerlessness over their destinies,
who reached out for butterflies in the murk
and got butterfly-shaped holes in their hearts instead,
whose last sound was a strange, distant clicking, overhead or underfoot
and found apotheosis in dismemberment,
who spun biblical narratives about apocalyptic death cults
then stalked the deserts seeking converts,
who told the nation to “get some guts”
and spent the next years spilling them in Iraq,
who studied the lessons of The Past
yet still doomed themselves to repeat them,
who howled in inner, mounting rage and indignation
at the insanity of it all.

25 April 2015

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