Poetry Sunday 26 November 2017

Two more poems from Ali Cobby Eckermann


we fight as enemies
and when children die
we gather gestures of peace

bereavement is blindness
our grief like dense smoke
that stings our eyes

love is the protest
against the hurt inflicted
on everyone I love today


You have made me the child
I was always afraid
you would become

how will I forgive you
how will you forgive me
how do I forgive myself?

from The Aura of Loss
Little Windows Press, Adelaide 2017

MDFF 25 November 2017

This Dispatch is from 11 June 2013

Buenos dias,

Flag RaisingTrick or Treat.
In 1788 the Union Jack was planted at Sydney Cove.
In 1988 Australia ‘celebrated’ its bicentennial.

Tomorrow (12 June 2013) it will be exactly a quarter of a century ago that in 1988 Prime Minister Bob Hawke was entreated with a petition that became known as the Barunga  Statement.

His response: He promised Aboriginal Australia that there would be a Treaty by 1990


 Words are easy, words are cheap
Much cheaper than our priceless land
But promises can disappear
Just like writing in the sand

Nhima djat’pangarri nhima walangwalang
Nhe djat’payatpa nhima gaya nhe
Matjini … Yakarray
Nhe djat’pa nhe walang gumurrt jararrk gutjuk


The lead singer of Yothu Yindi passed on the 2nd of June 2013 from renal disease.  He was 54.

The promised Treaty has retreated into the mists of time.

 The assimilationists

Never seen the Northern Lights,
Never seen a hawk on the wing….

They will most certainly not treat Aboriginal Australia to a Treaty.

They won’t even treat Aboriginal Australia with respect…

If you disrespect anybody that you run in to
How in the world do you think anybody’s s’posed to respect you


I have a confession to make. I had no intention to write about Hawks. It is just that Houses, Health and Kites doesn’t quite have the same ring as Houses, Health and Hawks.

A flock of soaring birds of prey has been gracing Yuendumu skies for over a month. Never in four decades have I seen so many.

I asked my Warlpiri friends what they were and was told they are pula-pula. I was told much about their habits, but mainly that they turn up whenever there are bush fires. They are warlu-prinji. They hunt the critters that crawl out of their burrows to escape the heat.

Eventually I consulted Simpson & Day’s ‘Field Guide to the Birds of Australia’: “Black Kite Milvus Migrans- Attends bushfires. Flocks soar effortlessly with frequently twisting forked tails….”


A friend tells me that when the craziness and meanness in the world gets him down, he finds solace in sorting through piles of nuts and bolts.

These days when despair and despondency try to grip me, I gaze up at Yuendumu skies and imagine I’m up there with the pula-pula.

You may say I am a dreamer…


 Que les vaya bien

(Use Google Translate for foreign languages) 


Dying with Dignity

Last month was another shocker. I was watching Australia’s Funniest Home Video’s, waiting for the Footy Show. I always look forward to seeing Sam Newman. It’s funny how a man who is so angry and distorted with the plastic surgeons craft could be so amusing. But just as I was about to reach over and grab another packet of ciggies I had a thought. The price of ciggies is up again. The do-gooders have made the standard packet about 35 bucks, and a bottle of beer, (cannot afford beer so I go the cask)  is unnafordable. At Aldi, the Albertson’s Reserve is good value at 8.99. They’ve got a special on, you can get six cans of Corale Baked Beans on 5.95, and I’ve been told that next week, Camp Pie in the 250 gram tins will be on special for 2.95, but there’s a limit of six cans per person. Still it’s something to look forward to.

Can’t afford to go to the doggies this week, and with the emphysema, it’s hard to get off the mobility scooter when I get to the pokies. I don’t gamble much, say half my pension cheque, and what I got when I left the Ford factory keeps the roof over my head. Still, I don’t go to Bingo as often as I used to and since the home invasion last week, I’ve been having these blackouts. The doctor said it was not a consequence of being struck over the head with a blunt instrument, more just the accumulative effects of alcohol abuse. Accumulative effect? The pompous bastard. What would he know? Every time some dumb prick wanders into his office he gets paid. Probably has a farm somewhere, were he can cleanse himself from dealing with the great unwashed and probably indulges in a secret love of Rhododendrons. Pompous Git.


Couldn’t afford to go to the granny though the Tiges got up. They reckon though I’ve been a member for 45 years the requirement to keep the ballot open meant I just missed out. No such bar for the corporates, but I spose that’s just the way footy is these days. You’ve gotta be in it to win it, and I aint had much winning since Elsie died and the kids have all moved off.

Still there’s a lot to celebrate. Though my pension has been docked by Centrelink and I cant get the taxi vouchers like I used to, there’s the bus that comes along every week and takes us to Northland. I might chat to the checkout chick at Coles, if there’s not a big queue. Other wise I’ll just sit on that chair opposite the entry and might chat to the security guard.

State government says we can die with dignity. I’m glad about that. Thought of knocking myself off last week when they stopped playing test pattern, and I thought, “That’s it”! It’s time to get the Bex and the Dettol out of the kitchen cabinet. But now the cricket season is on I can watch Channel Nines cricket commentary and die slowly. Glad though that people can now die with dignity. That would be nice.

Great News for Adani.

Keep Out. No local Jobs. land, water, infrastructure for free. Invest in Australia and keep your profits safe from society.

It’s not often pcbycp gets in on a scoop, but this guilt edged investment tip-off comes hot on the heels of the Queensland Election. And the news is good. There’s no need to worry about the ‘Adani Effect’ upon the Queensland electorate. There’s nothing at all worth seeing on the coal mining front and opening up the Galillee Basin, because with China muscling in on the finances, there wont be a cent spent up front from the Australian taxpayer. And it’s all systems go for the biggest coal mine ever, and a monumental tick for business as usual in the Sunshine state.

China, and it’s coal financing, (whatever they want to call it) will finance the infrastructure. A huge tick for Adani. China, will also supply the material and the man-power to get the project running, another huge tick for Adani. And China, world leader in reducing global emissions will back Adani 100 percent and ensure that whatever the nay-sayers might say it’s a big tick for investment in Queensland. And a HUGE BOOST FOR COAL!!

Dull, boring open forest. The Carmichael Mine will bring progress to this patch of outback.

And there’s more, the follow on is that there’ll be nil job growth associated with the mine itself from local sources. That’s it folks, no jobs for Queenslanders. And with a bit of luck, cos the Artesian Basin comes entirely free. There’s no worries about water security. And the land, that comes for free also, courtesy of the Australian Government. And then profits derived from the mine, ploughed straight back into China and India, and those bits of Australia…that aren’t yet owned by China wont get a cent.

With Improvement, the patch of outback will look like this coal paradise in China. ( photo courtesy of the paradise papers).

That’s great news for the paradise papers…and great news for the freedom of overseas companies who don’t pay taxes here to make the full benefit of exploiting Australian resources. And that’s great news for anyone who hasn’t got anything top do with the Australian body politic. It’s no longer relevant. And whilst we’re at it keep selling gas to everyone else other than us. And any other resource you can think on, cos we want to let anyone other than locals know that we’re not going to put “Sovereign Wealth” at risk. We don’t know what Sovereign Wealth is, but it’s akin to giving your word that you’ll sell the kitchen sink as well at a knock down price, or just give it away. To prove your credentials as a good player in global economics. It might have something to do with the Queen, though she’s our sovereign she’s not a local either. So we spose it just makes sense.

And by doing this. selling off the lot for nuffink, we’re also demonstrating the overriding principle of Austrlaia, and that’s to be good sports and ensure that every business deal with overseas mega corporations is another little Gallipoli. As we take strength from defeat and make losing, our national ethos.

Queensland Politics Live. “The Power of One”.


Big mal. A man of Vision.

Dear reader, it is with some indignation we refute vicious unfounded rumour. We at pcbycp like to stand on principle. Some malcontents out there in the twittersphere have made some very uncomplimentary and derogatory comments about Malcolm Turnbull. This is not fair and befitting the status accorded to a Prime Minister. Malcolm is doing his very best. And suspending parliament for a couple of weeks is the right thing to do. Malcolm is not afraid of the renewed debate in the senate, he’s not afraid of his wafer-thin majority, and he’s not afraid to tell us how it is.

Little Mal, he came to this earth to make us more HUMAN

Cos Malcolm is a man of action. Never let it be forgot that Malcolm has created the “Ideas Boom”. And he’s about to deliver the most comprehensive globally competitive up to date communications initiative since Alexander Bell first went “brring”. And that is, to ensure that the National Broadband Network is up and running and delivering breathtaking speeds. Speeds that rival morse, semaphore and radio for sheer power and newishness. And that’s not all, it uses good ol locally produced, (but remanufactured in China ) Copper. That’s an affront to those who say we are just a mine and a Real Estate hoarding. We are more than this. We are clever. And just to prove how clever we are we have not one.. But TWO MALCOLMS’ in the running.

Thar’s right folks we’ve got Malcolm the Turnbull who gave us the Union Royal Commission and the suspension of parliament on really important second order issues, and we’ve got the other Malcolm, the little Dynamo from Ipswich. Malcolm, (‘Out of India”) Roberts. And if the big-un Malcolm aint big enough, the little-un Malcolm will prove that his bark is well and truly worse than his bite.

Little Mal was adopted by the species we call “Queenslander” as one of their own.

Little Malcolm, will win the seat of Ipswich hands down. Queenslanders like the little Malcolm, and why?; Cos in Queensland you get to be really liked if the rest of Australia, ( specially clever ones, ) HATE YOU!!!

And little Malcolm is spot on what’s good for Queensland. He loves big Coal Mines, Bigger than anywhere else in the world. He loves wiping out forests, more than they could ever achieve in the Amazon, and he loves species depletion. And what unites all Queenslanders? Killing off the Great Barrier Reef.

Little Mal has found love through HATE

So if you’re into heavy lifting, and if you think that Big Malcolm just aint doing enough to fuck up the country, vote a big fat ONE for Little Malcolm.

This bloke’s the best ever non-Australian aussie battler we’ve ever had, and he knows this, cos he tells us so. And on top of that, (can you effing believe it) he knows that the world is 100 percent dead, fucking Flat. And that coal is good for humanity, and if only the rest of the world thought like Queenslanders, we’d all be a damn side better off. And he knows all of this, cos he told us so.

Little Malcolm’s dad did a lot for Indian railways.

So get cracking vote for both Little and Big Malcolm and save Australia from ever thinking big again.

Poetry Sunday 19 November 2017

by Ali Cobby Eckermann

in my eyes I witness you
a patch of blue against the dark
the flash between light and thunder

you are the fairy wren
a promise that flits
an avatar in the garden

in guarded light you reappear
dancing your fleeting smile
warming my arid heart

fly to the kurrajong in my soul
build your nest inside my body
reclaim the debris of me

from The Aura of Loss
Little Windows Press, Adelaide 2017

MDFF 18 November 2017

“Gotcha” dispatched Armistice Day 2017.

आशीर्वाद मेरे दोस्तों

The acronym used by Australian Authorities to designate detected boats carrying asylum seekers bound for Australian territory, SIEV, is quite appropriate in that many of these boats do. Leak like a sieve that is.

SIEV stands for ‘suspected illegal entry vessel’ Declaring asylum seekers as ‘illegal’ is open to debate and a matter of opinion if not of political opportunism.

Everything can be made illegal by simply enacting legislation to make it so. Ethnic minorities often bear the brunt of such attacks on their freedom. The descendants of the First Australians know this all too well. They are not given the means nor opportunity to defend themselves.

Forty three years ago some young lawyers came to Yuendumu who had joined the recently formed Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS).

At the time an election was being held. The policeman’s wife sat on the saddle of her motor bike handing out how to vote cards. A certain part of her anatomy protruded invitingly. This was too much for a very drunk Japanangka, an affable gentle giant of a man, who couldn’t resist the temptation of grabbing her in an inappropriate manner. I’m not saying this was connected in any way, but Japanangka found himself sobering up in a Yuendumu police cell with two broken ribs to keep him company.

The young lawyers were jubilant, here was an opportunity to score a significant win over the constabulary, a veritable “gotcha” moment.

This is also when they struck one of many differences between kardiya and yapa world views, attitudes, values, priorities etc. They were (sorry for the ‘newspeak’) on a steep learning curve. Japanangka wasn’t having any of it: “ I did the wrong thing and I deserved what I got” end of story. Their “gotcha” moment proved to be ephemeral.

Some of these young lawyers went on to forge brilliant legal careers, their baptism of fire at the cross-cultural legal frontier stood them in good stead.

When Jakamarra and I went to Melbourne at the invitation of Concerned Australian, one of these lawyers “ducked in” (at Jakamarra’s request) on one of our planning sessions. In a blend of pride and nostalgia the High Court Judge re-told that when they arrived in the Northern Territory they scored some very satisfying wins over the NT Police. NT Police had got so used to having everything in court their way that they’d become slack and complacent. A new paradigm came to apply: defendants started pleading not guilty, questions were being asked, evidence and procedures were being tested and suddenly cases were being thrown out or defendants found not guilty. Magistrates admonished and criticized members of the constabulary, who became very antagonistic towards CAALAS lawyers.

When I told the Melbourne High Court Judge that these days CAALAS lawyers were so overworked and over-run that in desperation their best advice to their clients was to plead guilty, and that these days magistrates tended to err on the side of police prosecutors, the judge was horrified. All that good hard work back then, down the tube!

…¿ Que te ha pasado justicia? (Justice, what has happened to you?)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQm6U2zIQkUy al policia que era amigo, ahora lo tengo como rival … (and the police who was my friend, now is my opponent)

In a typical situation, a defendant is summonsed to appear in court on a certain day, and ends up sitting on the tiny front lawn of the $7.6Million Yuendumu Police Complex together with the other 50 or more defendants and their families and supporters. During the two day session a couple of CAALAS lawyers have an average of twenty minutes per defendant to receive instructions and advise their client and present their case in court, and that is if they skip lunch. Invariably if a defendant chooses to plead not guilty (possibly because he/she is not guilty) the case is adjourned. A month later the defendant spends from an hour to two days waiting to be called, only to have the case once again adjourned, unless in the mean time the defendant has changed the plea to guilty. When the defendant is due to appear for a third time, he (these are mostly young men) may have been delayed by a flat tyre, or the car he is travelling in is pulled off the road for being un-roadworthy and/or unregistered, this then results in additional charges being laid against the defendant or his friend who offered to drive him to Yuendumu to attend court. An alternative scenario is that the defendant considers taking part in ceremonies has a higher priority than turning up in court. Then comes the Police’s “gotcha” moment- the defendant has a warrant out for “failing to appear” is arrested and placed in remand. He gets to rue not having taken his lawyer’s advice to plead guilty in the first place.

Sad to say our friend the Melbourne judge, will again be horrified when I tell him the latest on CAALAS.

The Attorney General suffered a “gotcha” moment when he was addressed as Senator Brandarse (see previous Dispatch).

On 30th October, Senator Brandis delivered a “gotcha” letter to CAALAS of punch to the solar plexus proportions:

“ … The Australian Government is committed to ensuring access to justice for Indigenous Australians and improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people…” wrote the good Senator. Tell that to the countless incarcerated Indigenous Australians caught up in the justice system treadmill. Tell that to the hapless, highly committed, overworked, under-resourced, and underpaid legal workers and lawyers at CAALAS.

The good Senator added that: “… I acknowledge CAALAS’ long history in providing legal assistance services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Central Australia…”

The Torres Strait Islander people of Central Australia!!!!??? ¿Que?

And then the solar plexus punch, the “gotcha”…..

“…. I have decided to offer the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency Ltd. (NAAJA) grant funding under the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program …. NAAJA will be the funded provider in the southern region of the Northern Territory….”

Up yours Brandarse and your cohorts.

Again I feel compelled to quote from ‘Martin Fierro’  (a 19th Century Argentine classic):

La ley es tela de araña
en mi inorancia lo explico
no la tema el hombre rico
nunca la tema el que mande
pues la rompe el bicho grande
y solo enrieda  a los chicos

The law is like a spider’s web,
In all humility I explain:
the rich man fears it not
neither he that is in command.
The large beetles break free
and only the small insects are ensnared

केवल प्यार नफरत को हरा सकता है


PS- The dearth of musical links in this Dispatch is a result of the rather grim subject matter, so if you’ve persevered in reading this I offer some beautiful Indian music… to lift up your spirits http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6igYlWqhm-U&list=FLzDXp_nVsfFb9WlOUxysg5w

A Friday reflection

same sex marriage all sorted.

The good thing about the same sex debate is that it’s kept us all busy. It’s kept our minds off all the distasteful things that we’d rather not know about, and in between it’s united and disunited us over everthing else. Well almost everything else.

“Civilisation” This is what Queensland is famous for.

Just last week we found out (we’d been told before) that over 400,000 acres of Queensland forest had been cleared in just a year. This is fantastic progress. We also found out that at the current rate of bleaching, the Great Barrier Reef will be completely stone cold dead within ten years. And that’s the optimistic scenario. As a bonus, we know that W.A reefs are also buggerred, and the Murray Darling, once worthy of the “Mighty” moniker, is so buggered it’s seriously in contention for a part pension and 457 visa, provided it can satisfy the stringent Centrelink criteria. There’s still quite a few people rotting on Manus Island, 400 odd at last count, and there’s signs that they’ll be there for a lot longer, which must be a source of great inspiration to them. Good then that few of them will celebrate Christmas there as they’re not all that into Christmas in the first place. And that’s because they’re Un-Australian

Indigenous incarcertion is still sky high and shows increased returns to the private prisons. Wages have gone beyond flat-lining and are now going backwards. Prices are up across the board, and the kiddies who were buggered, broken and bastardised by clergy will have a long time to wait, along with the diasabled who signed up for the NDIS. The speeds of the NBN aren’t all that flash either, at a billion trillion dollars the network might as well have been morse, and possibly a little faster. But the Chairman tells us that “She’ll be Jake”. No-one is quite sure who Jake is, but there’s a message that it may be an anagram for Kevin Rudd, or some other bloke, (a Malcolm was mentioned) who’s responsible for the NBN.

But though the environment is absolutely stuffed no one is worried about it. Cos it’s a sort of existential threat, and that can mean only one thing. It don’t vote. If existential threats voted we’d be buggered, but they just haven’t got the grasp of reality TV, Kim Kardashian’s bum, or anything to do with the Royal family.

But is it gay?

Corey, proof that being conservative hurts.

They’ve found a new planet, Earth-like only twelve light years away, but the problem is, we can’t go that fast, and if we did, we’d probably look like protoplasm when we get there. Which gets onto the most important part of contemporary news. That they’re about to map the human body, cell by cell. Which is all very well, but they haven’t yet mapped the human body soul by soul, and until they do, Corey Bernardii’s proposition on the floor of Parliament that abortions should be banned is hanging there out in the ether. Bit like a particle of information on the broadband. It’s very expensive, and we’re all cheapened in the process. And in the long run, just like the environment, nobody cares.

Same Sex Marriage fatigue.

This bloke got SSMF during the Irish referendum.

We at pcbycp are deeply shocked at the way the same sex non-binding non-compulsory referendum has gone. Either way you look at it, the whole thing smells, tastes and feels like a disaster. There’s no two ways about it. We make no bones, and must draw the line in the sand, and say unequivocally, without contradiction, that this whole same sex marriage fiasco has gone on way way too long.

Visible signs of SSMF

For instance just the other day I was waiting to catch the tram and I could see it on the faces in the street, SSMF, ( that’s Same Sex Marriage Fatigue). If you look closely, street lights, electricity poles and even major building structures show signs of SSMF. They’re all drooping. Where once they stood tall and upright, they’ve all got this langorous sense of lassitude. It’s all a bit Dali- esque, and I’m sure next time I look at Flinders Street Station’s famous clocks, they will all have that droopy look. The tram driver, was sullen and ashen faced, he was monosyllabic and gruntish when I greeted him with a courteous ‘G’day’. Same with the ticket inspector, as they filed onto the tram checking all the exists were blocked for would- be fare evaders. I saluted them and clicked my heels and all they could do was offer a curt repy, “show us your ticket please”!. Another clear instance of SSMF.

The police officer who pulled me over for riding my bicycle without a helmet, showed visible signs of SSMF, and according to the latest statistics, the incidence of work related stress in the police Force has gone through the roof. Another sign of SSMF.

Ex Qld premier now Official bank suck-hole with SSMF, and BDS (‘Bankers Droop Syndrome”)

Then, just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, the bloke at the petrol station wouldn’t even look at me as I paid for my petrol. The checkout chick at Coles, ignored my “have a nice day” and the final straw, was when the lollipop man at the school crossing just grunted, when I greeted him in all his hyper-orange finery, “have a nice day”.

The school kids are sullen, the dogs and cats in our neighbourhood wont bark or meow, and the postman when ever he does come by wont even leave the junk mail in the box. He just tosses it out into the garden, almost as if he didn’t care and I wasn’t there.

Her Majesty. Turned alcoholic through SSMF

This must cease, deleiver us from the SSMF that’s ripping the life blood out of our community, and save us for the entropy of ever having to make a decision that’s non binding. And for Christ’s sake, save us from Tony Jones and his non- debates on Lateline. We’ve had enough and don’t want to be distracted from the real issues facing this country.

What real issues you say? Record de- forestation of Queensland, knocking off the Great Barrier Reef, the rise of the kleptocracy, andf the non governance of Turnbull, Shorten, and and all their cronies. And the fact that we are neo feudal, at the high water mark of the neo liberal experiment.

None of the above. Bring back Guy Fawkes.

It was fun. And made sense of politics.

Seriously afflicted SSMF sufferer. Is there a cure? We plead.

Commmunity, the irony free zone.

Photoshop, it’s everything and yet absolutely nothing.

Dear reader, I was flicking thought the Guardian, and reading an article about squats in inner London. The artcle paid particular reference to the Aylesbury Estate. I remember it well, I took a wrong turn whilst pushing a pram in Elephant and Castle with my young son in it, and found myself in an alternate reality. I’d stepped beyond the tourist bubble.

The article demonstrated what Melboune would be like before too long. That is to become a place of extraordinary contrasts. Between the uber wealthy and the indecribably poor. I gleaned from the images that all these poor bastards, shown in squats, in parks, hanging about in car parks, any piece, any fragment of open space they could find and utilise as “free-space” were happy. They were hanging about, broke, penniless, and bereft, but they had one thing, a sense of community. Under threat from developers, government and opportunitsts. They make these spaces live and breathe, as marginalised “others”, the proverbial cockroaches, and  survive in “improved” urban environments, as an affront to “respectable gentrified society’.

Respectable gentrified society whether it be in Melbourne, London or Mumbai have a way of turning life dead. Ossification is what happens when you establish a monoculture. Searching for a reason I found one. It’s all of us. It’s the same with Trump. It’s what made Hillary unpalatable. Whilst we allow it to happen it rolls on. But there is one element which really irks, Photoshop.

In the Guardian article, there’s a vast slab of Southbank, (the one in London) that is being transformed into luxury apartments, another gentrified “ gated “ community. Another urban transformation, a “loss of grain”, as the planners would say. Another “metrocentric enclave”. But its more than that, there’s something much more sinister, and its all revealed in the image.

It’s Farenheit 451 bought to you by Photoshop. It’s not real. This is the beauty of computer generated images. It distills the complexity of the real world into simple logo-ised icons, and they’re incredibly revealing.

Take a look at the picture. It’s full of terribly successful enterprising females, (No Harvey Weinstein’s here). They clutch designer handbags. They agressively wear suglasses that cost a weeks wages. And they’re all incredibly fucking busy. Even when they’re walking. And they have water bottles. If you’re really important you clutch a water bottle. The same you imperiously slurp out of at business management meetings, and framework scoping meetings. And you’re always in between gym gear, pilates gear and some formal casual hybrid. And the only indicator of what stage of dress or formality you’re at is the label. Which proclaims; “Jeez, this tracksut cost me five hundred pounds, and some poor bastard in Bangladesh got pais five pence for it”.

It’s a gated community. It’s a bubble.

This is the Brave New World. We are all depleted. It’s an irony free zone in which each of us is worthless, and yet terribly conscious of our place in the greater scheme of things. Irony, humour, insight, memory and humanity are not measured in metrics or on photo shop.


Humanity risks being deleted.