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War on Television

February 27th        

we are watching the war on television

as if it were a show

baby faces crying

parents brothers sisters dying


we are watching while we fork through

gourmet dinners

that we learned to cook

from chef shows

or we can’t eat

cos we really must

get thinner

fit enough to squeeze into our

yoga pants

and food manna like HelloFresh

parachutes from heaven

and thousands surge

beneath the drop zone

like so many ants

we are watching for a second

before the next news item

serial rapist

smart suited with attaché case

and lawyer with a trolley

we are reaching for another beer

while headscarfed grandmas wail

with fear

we are reaching for another wine

another bong

another line

and sirens whine on distant shores

because there is nowhere to go

and ambulances ramp in vain

and all the medics are flat out

and men rush in all bloody

clutching children

screaming murder

to die alone

and unassisted

in windy corridors

of grief

from which there’s no escape

from annihilation

cultural isolation


we are watching wars on television

like we might’ve watched the camps

The Crusades

El Salvador

or the Reign of Terror

or Pol Pot

and we do not have a lot of time to spare

before the weather

which we really need to see

because the sea is at our doorstep

like the homeless

with no place else to go

and the sun is raining down

like brimstone

like punishment

for inattention

and fires are raging

in the forest

islands slip beneath the surface

species disappearing

like our conscience


we are watching wars on television

and we do not feel a thing

we are helpless

we are useless

we have seen it all before

and we will see it all again

if we get lucky

on repeat

The Cruel Sea

Dambusters and

Saving Private Ryan

Combat and


Sophies Choice

Apocalypso Now

we love them all

that Marty that Coppola

Steven Spielberg

Bigelow and Nolan

they make it look so pretty

and the soundtrack

nothing better

download now to listen later

while you bathe the kids

and chop the vegies

before the news at seven


and we are watching war on television

with all the trigger warnings

of the blood

and of the death

the madness

and the suffering



oh thanks

for that kind heads-up

I thought the news was all just

puppies, pussies and the King of Moomba



we are watching war on television

hand-held cameras body cam

are rushing with the snipers

so we do not miss a shot

we will catch it live and hot

and one year later at

the Logies

we will marvel at

the braveness

of the film crews

in the hard hats

bullet-proofed reporters

who brought us all the pictures

so we can

watch the war on television

in between

the fast food ads

and plugs for



cars and trainers

and some structure

for your hair

over there

in distant lands

they are huddled

round the dumpster

and the 40gallon drum

freezing boiling

in tent cities

crying mourning

keening softly

more’s the pity

while bombs

explode and

cities crumble

lives are shattered

nothing matters

we are watching

from safe distance

in our loungerooms

on recliners

watching the war on television

before it’s time for

Grand Designs.



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