What I Saw When the Aliens Abducted Me

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[Poem about Australia from my first book The Post-Man Letters and Other Poems (Picaro Press, 2010). The ‘Winnebago’ is a camper-van popular with retirees (aka ‘grey nomads’) doing their final round-Australia trip.’Chockas’ is slang for ‘chock full of’ and ‘blocks’ are divided plots of land for building. Sharkey and walwicz are two Australian predominantly satirical poets. Took the poster photo in a shopfront in a country town called Braidwood.]

What I Saw When the Aliens Abducted Me
(for Michael Sharkey and ania walwicz)

Yes, the swans were black.
The crows flew backwards
creaking romantically like iron roofs.

Funeral goers wore board shorts,
smiles like mouth-guards, bosses,
ministers all had first names

or kiddie ones ending in -y, -ie or -o
like cricketers, admen, school mates
all just over for a beer or ten.

Yes, a vast place
most people had never seen
nor wished to

except in a Winnebago
because they’d worked
hard all their lives.

The soldiers were inordinately brave
and elsewhere, the bridges made of steel,
roads, poles, opera houses concrete

men beat up their women,
each other, themselves
on a regular basis

before or after pubs
and flannel-free cricket
because they were mates.

Everything was the best
in the world, absolutely
world class or shit-house.

Yes, at the end of the day
the swans were black
the soldiers inordinately brave

everything wide and constricted
desolate, friendly
chockas with blocks, empty.

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~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on August 21, 2016.

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