Crush Hour

Countless minnows swimming upstream
never connecting for fear of reprisals
Suits and hoods and Mardi Gras stragglers
an old man next to the window
drifts away into methylated sleep.

A tattooed man with eyes of flinty stone
just paroled at Her Majesty’s leisure
as always with his back to the wall
He is shoehorned next to a nightclub Queen
in a feather boa, jewels in his beehive hair.

A knot of women in Burqa shrouds
shepherd children past
disembarking for the Western line
A school of private blazers takes their place
the arrogance of youth in a fleeting flare.

Half a dozen penguins rise together
clutching brief cases, in Italian leather shoes
edging past the great unwashed
I-Pods hidden from the thieving hordes
they rush to the gentrified northern shores.

A working girl saunters down the aisle
Darlinghurst’s a mud flat in the rain
All fishnet stockings and spray on tan
she hums Vivaldi like an understudy
while everyone pretends to divert their eyes.

Finally they reach their destination
and the metal Anaconda spews its prey
Onto the platforms the minnows spill
fanning out across the river
they somehow find their way back home.

Copyright Suzanne James 2019

Bail Out

The Airport Road went straight to Hell

the day that mighty Baghdad fell

Sand and shrapnel raining down

as the Coalition went to town

Saddam holed up in a desert cave

while soldiers drink at a compound rave

Blood money stashed, a pile of loot

if it bloody moves, then bloody shoot

Several million refugees

they bring the country to its knees

A hundred kids dead in one day

but the US swears its the only way

The mountain shepherds take up arms

try to protect their meagre farms

No Taliban were ever here

now all that grows is smack and fear

A US tank hits an IED

that’s something no one wants to see

A soldier killed by friendly fire

so the rebels sell his guns for hire

The UN tries to set up base

but the border’s closed to help the chase

Is he in a rat hole or palace den?

They’ve lived in caves since don’t know when

They find Saddam deep underground

but the Taliban are still around

Can’t leave yet Sir, we’re not done

now we’ve got Osama on the run!

Baghdad, Iraq, Afghanistan

a shame Bush had no exit plan

So many souls so far from home

don’t speak the language and die alone

The next election’s like a civil war

had never been like this before

Then a black man in the White House chair

his 2IC a maiden fair

Obama says he’ll close The Bay

and make the factories lift their pay

He says no soldier walks alone

but he never says if they’re coming home

More tracer fire in the desert sky

a thousand more civilians die

Another speech in a steely tone

but he never says he’ll bring them home

The world slides into GFC

the bailout list you had to see

While flag draped coffins are named in stone

seems the only way to bring them home.