orderly queue

we have forgotten history, world war two
footage of allied skeletal soldiers in rags
marching single-file, the brutal beatings, shouts
− or jewish citizens smuggled out of ghettos
escape long lines in concentration camps
taken to the sea, find asylum, settle, raise a family

six hundred thousand rohingya form a ragged queue on the skyline
cross the border, villages burn behind them, smoke clouds the sky
blood soaks the grass, they overflow tents on muddy ground

deals made with brutal regimes, a costly border force
stop the boats, those asylum seekers who did not drown
‘jumped the queue’ at sea, held hostage as deterrent
detained for years, kept prisoners in png
immigration minister’s propaganda − ‘had basically their own
personal butlers and cleaning maids up there’

hands on heads, men on manus form orderly queue, march to transit buses
pet dogs beaten to death or thrown from the bus window
refugees who fear violent locals with machetes, are arrested, handcuffed
some dragged kicking, beaten with long metal poles, forcibly moved
to a construction site, their futures undefined

jenni nixon


jenni nixon is a Sydney poet and political performer. Her publications include café boogie (Interactive Press 2004), Agenda! (Picaro Press 2009) and swimming underground (Ginninderra Press 2015). Her anthologised poetry is included in Spineless Wonders, Southerly, Overland, First Refuge, Writing to the Wire, Just off Message.

© 2018