Dear ‘Bring Back The Lash’ of Burnside

I wrote this as a social worker for a government welfare agency in the 90’s. I doubt much has changed.

Dear ‘Bring Back The Lash’ of Burnside,

What is it that you want us to do?

To witness for the children

(who live with the ‘monsters’

that dwell in the mysteries

of mythical ‘other’ suburbs)

while saving the Family?


To seek remorse from the children

of beating, beaten fathers

for spraying your walls

like strutting, rutting tomcats

prowling your memory lanes?


To firmly guide the child-mother

to the double-breasted state,

in the secret hope of confiscation

of the child-father’s heir

for replanting in the middle ground?


To guide the steps of the dispossessed

to the paths of committee righteousness

where the swords of primal anger

can be beaten into submissions,

the ploughshares of the damned?


To muffle black voices

and stumble into families

two hundred years in the breaking

and steal back their youth’s Dreaming

at two hundred k’s an hour?


To hear your rage in silence

as you birch us for our weakness

and hang us from the headlines,

while the raiders of the lost recession

brief QC’s from Majorca?


As we stumble to the millennium

doing more tricks with less,

we scan the darkness of your charity

and our own wounded, winding road

for a light to guide us home.

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