Two Hotline Poems

ron_cobb surveillance state 68

[Two poems I wrote eight years ago after the Australian government had introduced its so-called National Security Hotline. Here’s a taste of the current website: “Small pieces of information can help protect Australia from terrorism. Australia’s national security agencies are working hard but members of the public can help them complete the picture.Some of the best people to spot things that are out of the ordinary in a neighbourhood or workplace are those who are there everyday. As we go about our daily lives, we can keep an eye out for anything that may seem unusual or suspicious. Whether or not something is suspicious can depend on the circumstances. Look at the situation as a whole. If it doesn’t add up, call the 24-hour National Security Hotline.”

Great idea, worthy of the KGB or Stasi. No one protested. The strategy of the ruling elites is fairly simple: maintain a paranoid fear- and siege mentality, then you can almost do what you like in terms of expanding your own executive power. The Nazis and Communists did this well. Probably as old as the state as a warrior protection racket. Bye bye liberal democracy. The graphic is from the great Ron Cobb in 1968. ‘Pacific solution’: Australian government’s shameful ‘turn-back-the-boats’ refugee/asylum seeker policy; ‘Milat’: notorious Australian serial killer; ‘true blue’: Australian expression for ‘authentically Australian’; ‘Ruddock’: Liberal PM Howard’s minister of immigration; ‘queue jumper’ derogatory term for refugees/asylum seekers/migrants arriving by boat; ‘Lucas Heights’: site of nuclear research reactor near Sydney.]

Two Hotline Poems

1. Hello is that the Hotline?

Hello is that the hotline?
I want to report a case
I hear these voices telling me
my head is nothing but space

they tell me they love me
they tell me no lies
sometimes they wear hijabs
but mostly suits & ties

I hear them talk on talkback
I hear them when I’m in bed
I can hear them right now repeating
everything that I have said

they talk of Pacific Solutions
they talk of little Green men in the moon
they talk of anarchy & sedition
they talk of Moby’s dick-harpoon

one of them calls himself Whitman
the other two Shelley and Blake
I know the first one is for real
but the other two are fake

I can tell by the way they’re telling me
they’re really not seditious
o yeah, well then how come they want me
to go bomb markets in Mauritius?

Mauritius must be Muslim
coz it also starts with M
just like Mohammed, Mundine, Milat
& all the rest of them

bastards who run the government
run the Vatican & the KGB
pull the strings to get those terrorists
on bloody prime time for free

so please come & disappear me
lock up my voices too
can’t wait till I’ve been rendered
& painted my cell true blue

2. Turning Off the Lights

Hello, is that the hotline
I want to report a case
there was a guy in K-Mart the other day
& his tie was quite out of place

his suit was old & tatty
his cuff links were 20 carrot gold
his hair was parted on the left
his eyes looked 200 years old

his pants were creased, his shirt was red
I really was quite appalled,
he wore a brand of sneakers
that I didn’t know at all

he was reading the Communist Manifesto
maybe it was Leaves of Grass
his beard was as white as Ruddock’s face
when he puts his boot up some queue jumper’s arse

he put his basket down on the bench
fixed his one eye on the check-out chick,
cleared his throat of phlegm & smoke
& then politely asked:

‘Fräulein, do you know vot makes zis system tick?’

The check-out chick she looked at me
then gave me a little wink
‘Of course I do darl, it’s money, sex & mortgages
& pushing people like us to the brink

it’s guys & girls in sexy suits pushing dollars
round a screen, it’s jerks like Bush & Rudd
& Howard pretending they call the shots
while the bosses make off with the cream!

now shove over your GM-free tofu
& that carton of organic milk
but what’s this I see darl
right next to that certified pear

Jesus, it’s a block of bloody dark chocolate
that’s neither organic nor fair,
you just wait till I tell
all your bloody wives!’

So then I knew the guy was a Muslim
a Greenie & latte pinko too
might’ve been Karl bloody Marx for all I know
so I’ll leave the rest up to you…

(really appreciate you Gestapo boys
& that I don’t have to give you my name
so convenient & secret & Boys’ Own stuff
though I wouldn’t mind my five minutes of fame)

anyway her name is Tracey & his is Fred
& I’m sure you will agree
they’re both suspicious as bloody hell
so I’ll give you their numbers for free

I’m sure you’ll find fertilizer in his freezer
bloody poetry books everywhere
chardonnay in his mailbox & a map
of Lucas Heights pinned to his stairs

just don’t believe him when he whinges
& refers to his human rights
just do your great jobs & don’t ever forget
what all these pinko-green Muslim

bloody terrorists really want
is to turn off our bloody lights.


~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on June 14, 2015.

3 Responses to “Two Hotline Poems”

  1. 8 years ago…prophetic as usual, peter…sadly…

    • Thanks Kristi. Hope you’re having a good summer in Florida! Nice wood fires here.

      • hot in fl and the usual rainy season is acting strange…(shocking, right..o:)
        heading up to ky this week…hoping it gets chilly enuf for a wood fire in the evenings, but typically hot and humid during the day…
        have a wonderful summer yourself…

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