Sometimes emotion overwhelms John and he can’t write in prose what he is struggling to express. Opening lines come to him and niggle him for days, or weeks at a time. Occasionally the opening line is all he’s left with but at other times a poem emerges, sometimes in minutes more usually over a couple of days. Poetry is a better vehicle for expressing emotion, both love and hate. Here you will find lots of both.
I left Straya in your hands. I was only out of communication for 3 weeks. What happened? You toppled the credibility of Malcolm our saviour. The entire edifice of Liberal fascism has been eroded. Corporate capitalism has been shattered. Those wanting to torture asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru are rightly worried. Where are the […]
Written in 1998. Fair Tax “I weep to see thee fade away so soon as yet the early rising sun has not attained its noon.” Australians for a Fairer Tax is a front for business cracks; big business tell us that they care and they want a tax that’s fair: fair to them but not […]
I visited a land of broken dreams someone said “all’s not well it seems the country’s splitting at the seams. Asylum seekers on boats are pouring in and we can’t find any room for them.” I went to the national capital and spoke with the leaders. They call themselves parliamentarians and they make the laws […]
First published in Union Songs 29/4/2004 http://crixa.com/muse/unionsong/u230html also published in Al-Moharer Issue 176 18/5/2004 http://www.al-moharer.net/mohhtm/john_tomlinson176.htm Collective punishment around Fallujah leaves hundreds of Iraqi civilians dead while working class US troops are dying for the chance to escape poverty. Is there no better way to peace? Go Bush, Go. Yes! Just!! Go!!! How do you […]
Written in 2008 not published. I die of hunger so you can feel good driving your car on bio-fuel made from grain.
We say we’re guarding our sovereignty by towing boats back out to sea stopping asylum seekers trying to flee, flee from tyranny we tow them to within 12 miles of shore and clip their ears and increase their fears what’s more. We’re going to scrap the carbon tax and give existing social welfare the axe. […]
Written before the 2013 election We will: stop the news about the boats. Praise the rich. Blame poor folks. We will: scrap the tax. Ignore the facts. Wield the axe. Build a carbon sink to fool all those who try to think. Deny climate change and drink the Grange. We will: act with haste to […]
“Veracity, honesty, truthful” are not words which would prove fruitful when referring to our prime minister. Rather I would prefer you stuck to “dissembling, sinister venal, xenophobic” and such like. Written but not published 2004
Written in 2008 not published. Looking over my shoulder as I’m getting older with 20/20 vision I can see a long way back. The future’s looking hazy the politicians are all crazy I think it’s time to go.
Unpublished written in 2013 God is dead and living with my mother. Does that make him a reverse-necrophiliac or just another mother fucker? Walk the walk and talk the talk. See you babe when I’m in New York.
Wave the flag and hide your brain sing in praise forget their pain we’ll decide who’s welcome here and which were those who fled in fear as for the others – not a tear. The unemployed and single mums can sit at home and suck their thumbs lift themselves by their own boot straps take […]
written 2011 Julia Dullard and Tony Rabbit ran away. They ran away together. They ran away because they were ashamed. They were ashamed because they had contributed nothing to Australia and the world and the people were saying that when they opened their mouths they detracted from the sum total of human knowledge.
What lessons can we learn from Baton Rouge? What message can we take from Dallas, Texas? Could it be that training people to be soldiers, and teaching them how to maim and kill has potential downsides? That the right to bear arms makes nobody safe? That turning local police into paramilitary thugs does little to […]
And in the light of Judas I saw an angel shining bright who asked “will you lie with me tonight and be my warm delight?” written 2006 not published
I want to be a pigeon and fly up in the sky and shit on every racist I see, as I pass by. Written but not published 2004
He has all the foresight of a Blind Worm …..squirm He is as attractive as a constipated mite. This was my 2005 description of John Winston Howard.
Bonny Ponce Charles you’ve not got a chance even John Howard says you got ants in your pants with your bloody big ears and your bloody big mouth you’re not going to be the King of the South. written 2006 not published
I sent this poem to Borbidge in 2003 and he complained to Vice Chancellor Dennis, who wrote to him saying he would expect lecturers in social policy to have and express opinions on racism. He also wrote to me telling me to refrain from writing personal poems to politicians. I wrote back and thanked him […]
First published Union Song web site 15/10/2007 http://unionsong.com/u554.html also published in Al-Moharer same day http://www.al-moharer.net/mohhtm/tomlinson262.htm Chorus: Aung San, Aung San; Aung San Suu Kyi Aung San, Aung San; Aung San democracy. I went to a Buddhist country where the nights are never cold where saffron robes cannot protect and the truth cannot be told. […]
written in 2006 not published Whenever Yankee soldiers die I cry, I cry with sheer delight because I know without a lie we’re getting closer to the end of night. It does not seem to matter who they invade or who they shatter or how many civilians have to die or how many mothers […]
written Dec 2015 not published Dear George Pell I write not to beseech you, nor to beg forgiveness, nor to commiserate with you. I don’t write to plead a special case. I haven’t any exceptional insights and I can’t be of help to you. You have an all seeing, all caring, all knowing, all powerful […]
Written in 2004 One does not have to be a pacifist to abhor killing. One does not have to pull the trigger to be a killer.
Knowledge is power. Powerful people oppress It’s oppressive to find out about things. Is it better to sit in the dark with your eyes closed or watch the powerful with your eyes wide open?
I remember that smell, from when I was a good German. I had a lovely uniform, with lightning strikes on the collar – I was stationed at Buchenvald. I too, can remember that smell I was a guard at Auschwitz. I remember the sad faces of the frightened, hungry children. I also remember that […]
first published in Union songs 14/3/2005 http://unionsong.com/muse/unionsong/u294.html also published in Al-Moharer Vol.217 30/3/2005 http://al-moharer.net/moh217/j-tomlinson217htm also published in New Community Quarterly Vol.3 No.1 p.49 You screwed the single mothers and raped the plain for grain polluted mighty rivers drenched towns in acid rain denuded pristine forests for woodchips’ venal gain devastated habitat for suburbia’s domain. You manufactured conflict long hours and […]
ChainsPDF2 To see book of songs, click on the ChainsPDF2 file above. Publisher’s note to the 2019 reprinting Reproducing this songbook from two rather battered and incomplete original copies has taken an immense amount of work, most of which has been carried out by Penny Harrington. We are immensely grateful for the way in which […]
You’re 26th in the queue and we’re ignoring you we don’t care what you think for we are Centrelink. If you’re unemployed or poor you can wait outside the door if you drink or have a bet we will get you yet we’ll raise a robo-debt making sure that you regret annoying us with your […]
Malcolm Turnbull is prime minister now you know that that’s not sinister. Don’t want to bore ya but he was first a lawyer before he became a merchant Banker. As you know it rhymes with wanker. He set up a loyal commission to ignore any omission and overlook people’s submission. Cause we must trust the […]
If we’re going to build a new world from the ashes of the old the first thing we have to do is ignore what we’ve been told. The workers and the workless, the young and very old will celebrate their union and join the common fold. We will need to talk to people and to […]
Drafted in 2005, finished in 2016. Not published. We could have done it better we could have done it nice we could have done it earlier which would be twice as nice. We might have listened to the elders we might have listened to the young we might have woken up much sooner and included […]
Wobbly Press, Darwin, 1974. The story of the missing “e”. I’m often asked why the title of this book uses “Opiat” rather than the normal spelling of “Opiate”. There are several possibilities for this – the first being that the author is concerned about the over use of the letter “e”, and fearful that such […]
Written in 2011 not published Dear Gina Rinehart this is where we part. When you were just a miner and me a constant whiner it didn’t seem to matter much at all. But now you want to tell the fourth estate whom it is that they must love and whom that they should hate. You […]
A collection of Poems looking for a publisher if interested please write to John Tomlinson, John@johntomlinsoncollectedworks In the meantime leftist non profit agencies feel free to use them Pinkenba You are charged with abducting children and taking them by car to Pinkenba, How do you plead? Well your worship it’s plain to see […]
First published in Al-Moharer Vol. 194, 20/9/200 http://www.al-moharer.net/mohhtm/j-tomlinson194.htm also in New Community Quarterly Vol.2 No.3 Spring 2004 p.46 Pennies sit on sunken eyes pearls around your neck, your mouth is stuffed with silver with gold on your wedding finger. The triumphs of a lifetime buy a coffin lined with velvet in a home down by […]
She spent nearly twenty years wandering in the land of the lost, that wilderness pinioned between students’ incessant demands and academics’ obstinacy. Somehow she survived sane, even when surrounded by: confused counselors, pedantic psychologists, somnambulant sociologists, hysterical historians, and even social workers. Students are going to miss her sympathetic advocacy of their needs. Staff are […]
Don’t tell me you were with us when we dumped the Boston tea. Don’t say that you supported Welenska’s Solidarity: or that you joined the struggle for East Timor to be free. Don’t pretend you were with us in a solid unity. But there’s still a chance to join us to fight injustice everywhere, it’s […]
written in 2013 don’t know if it was published I shot an arrow in the air a drone fell to earth and I don’t care the military can stand and stare but that drone is beyond repair.
First published in New Community Quarterly Vol.7 No.2 Winter 2009. p.51 I know you want to be a Tarragon of virtue but you’re really a bit of a Dill – Australia’s Basil Faulty. I heard you say that you wanted to be a Sage and you think that your brain’s worth a Mint but in […]
written in 2007 not published Let it rip let it roar protect the rich stomp on the poor. Go for growth, economic cancer, pray at the shrine of the old Joe Dancer.
written in 2005 not published You claim that you’re efficient, the economy’s ant’s pants, that you’ll make us rich and powerful, our reputation you’ll enhance. You say we’re acting with compassion when we keep our borders closed, that it is the Aussie fashion – then please tell us why we’re on the nose. Mandatory detention […]
First published in Green Left Weekly 8 December 2004 p.22. I stand with the people of Fallujah as they try to repel the Yankee murderer. I cry with the children and their mothers as they stare at the bodies of their brothers. I walk through the ruins of their houses and watch while the wives […]
Politics in the Pub, ah – there’s the rub at Shorncliffe sounds like a hillside set to by a mad shearer. And the pub was called the Sea View- not that you could see the sea from it. But it was in Pier Street- which sounds like an invitation for voyeurism. Not a very auspicious […]
Fire in my belly. Chilli on my tongue. There’s still many battles left to be won. Written in 2016.
First published in Green Left Weekly 15/9/2004 p.21. Vol. 598 also in New Community Quarterly Vol.2 No.3 Spring 2004 p.16 We all want an FTA with the USA. We’ve got lots of money to give away. Don’t worry about the jobs we lose, sacked workers can hit the booze. Australian intellectual property rights will only […]
First published Green Left Weekly 28th January 2004 Chorus: This is a song of freedom of a people brave and strong, a song of Australia’s freedom; it won’t detain you long. Many came here as convicts when they escaped the noose. The privilege of the gander would really suit the goose. Aborigines forced from their […]
Put behind you the things that divide you let’s see what we share, let’s show that we care and please let me sit down beside you. Written in 2005 not published.
First published in Blue Mountain Union News 19/7/2005 http://www.bmuc.blogspot.com also in New Community Quarterly Vol. 3, No. 3 Spring p.49 also in The Woodstock Journal CMFEU Tasmania under the title of “A Note from Little Johnny” page 5. December, 2005 Vol.35. We lied to you about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We weren’t entirely honest about the GST. We […]
The boss copped the profits. The bank took the farm. I had to get by on the strength of my arm. The pollie said it hadn’t, hadn’t done any harm, that it would trickle down; he spoke with such charm. The union won’t wear it they’ve raised the alarm. So if we join together- stand […]
Written in 2013 Scott Morrison said that whenever asylum seekers were released into the community on bridging visas their neighbours, the police and health departments should be notified. His statement followed one asylum seeker being charged with sexual assualt. The Canberra Times reported the next day that asylum seekers were 45 times less likely to […]
The feckless and the restless the useless and the old; those we sold for silver and those we bought for gold. Written in 2001.
written in 2012 don’t know if it was published Dear Gina Rinehart this is where we part. When you were just a miner and me a constant whiner it didn’t seem to matter much at all. But now you want to tell the fourth estate whom it is that they must love and whom that […]
The global problematic I’m sure is axiomatic all you need is axe and mattock and you can sort them out.
Written in 2008 not published. If Jesus was the shorn lamb and Joseph the forlorn lamb and the Holy Ghost was really Mary’s son and God was just a dealer the one who stacked the cards is that how we got three gods in the one? Who gave the benediction at Jesus’ crucifixion? Pontius Pilot, […]
I joined Bush’s War of Terror enjoying each and every horror. I supported queen and country did nothing to the contrary. I sang for god and holy ghost, drank the wine and ate the host. I massacred for the Tsar and slaughtered for the Shah: I followed the Ayatollah and a Mullah in Ramallah. I […]
Written in 2011 Wild horses can’t drag me, and you’ll never tempt me to get into line and pretend you have the truth – the answer: I’ll resist you to the very end. I’ll not praise your lying jugglers presenting half lies and distorted images as fact. You’ll not hear me rabbiting on about people […]
written in 2011 Please ignore my words for what I say may offend. Don’t listen to me because I may be wrong. Don’t become a follower because that would make me a leader and leadership might be the problem. As the poster says “When the people lead the leaders will follow.” Search for answers elsewhere […]
published in Green Left 2014 In every one of the 1000 editions you stayed true to the Left’s traditions filled with ideas and radical renditions you provided the intellectual munitions to confront haughty right, defend the poor and return lost sight saving forests and other eco-fights confronting government’s leading lights. To you Green Left I […]
From the Bush crusade to foreign aid, Iraqi sanctions to the world’s arms trade; from the threat of globalisation to social welfare in this nation you tore through the tissue of lies- 500 issues they despise. Street sellers in the rain, it was worth the pain and we’ll do it all again. Your pages shone […]
Seize the minute seize the hour seize the prize take the power people together will show them how join the fight to get what’s right end the hunger end the pain and learn to love again and again.
Seize the minute seize the hour seize the prize take the power people together will show them how join the fight to get what’s right end the hunger end the pain and learn to love again and again.
We’ll have Howard on the run when the lie detector comes have Howard on the run when the truth inspector strums the people will sing there’ll be whistles and drums we’ll be closing the camps when the lie detector comes. There’ll be voting in the morning, voting through the day when the people finally send […]
Untitled poem writen circa 2005 not published I don’t want to build my wealth on the dispossession of others. I don’t want to create my health at the expense of others. My liberty can’t emerge by subjecting you to tyranny.
In the Land of the Lost I heard two cowards praising each other’s bravery. In the Land of the One Eyed King I saw the blind. First Published Al-Moharer 30/5/2006 http://al-moharer.net/moh243.htm also published in The Woodstock Journal CMFEU Tasmania Vol. 37 June 2006 p.1
Every dark night has a dawning a wondrous golden morning when lovers wake up yawning and salmon go a-spawning. Every long day has a sunset a dew that’s glittering wet a sight you won’t forget and a sleep without regret. First published in Al Moharer Vol. 203 No. 213 1/12/204 http://www.al-moharer.net/moh203/j-tomlinson203.htm also published by the […]
I did not see it. I do not know. I can’t recall. I do not have a clear recollection. I know nothing. First published New Community Quarterly Vol. 4 No. 2 Winter p.52
Written in 2008 (but not published) after watching this 4 minute video http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11799.htm Who’s the man behind the gun? Is he every mother’s son? Does he think this war is won? Who’s the man behind the man? Who’s the one who’s in command? What is it he doesn’t understand? He’s the man who makes the […]
A couple of thousand years ago lived a man they couldn’t command a couple of thousand years ago they we at a loss- so they hung him on a cross. Every day 40,000 people die, withered by malnutrition. Sometimes I want to cry when I think about their death but then I’m not close enough […]
Poem written just prior to 2004 election John went out on a chilly night, He prayed for voters to see him right, For he’d many a trick to play that night, Before he reached the Lodge-o, Lodge-o, Lodge-o, He’d many a lie to tell that night, Before he reached the Lodge-o. He fibbed til he […]
First published Al-Moharer Issue 179, 4/8/2004 http://www.al-moharer.net/moh179/j-tomlinson170htm I’m Manuel from Kirrabilli I know nothing. I lost my mind, I’m rather silly I know nothing. Of the children overboard I know nothing. How I became your overlord I know nothing. Or of the prisoners in Iraq I know nothing. Why refugees are sent back I know […]
Written in 2010 not published. And the rates he charged on bank loans are called usury one and two he’s charging me the one and he’s charging you on two. Cause as Woody Guthrie told you he is a Jolly Banker and he wants back two for each one he gives you.
First published Al-Moharer 28/11/2006 Vol. 251 http://al-moharer.net/mohhtm/tomlinson251.htm Being driven down a super highway on our way out of Cape Town past housing with high walls topped with razor wire then past 14 kilometres of that other walled city which is home to 1.2 million poor people. The white driver boasts that now in Khayelitsha most […]
Howard had a revelation which will save our mighty nation. Without a doubt he’s made a big mistake, he says “Workplace Choices now are so unfair that they will have to go”. It’s a pity he didn’t ask the workers – they could have told him so. He’s making television ads with $5 Mil of […]
On the way to meet my maker I met a mover and a shaker not humble nor a Quaker more a conman and a faker. I asked why he was selling coffins he said he was the undertaker I asked how many florins and enquired if he buried boffins and if God was a woman […]
written 2016 When those in power won’t listen and their policies no longer glisten you can say OK or you can walk away you don’t have to stay the course you can leave without remorse. It’s the leaders who need followers without them they are wallowers drowning in a sea of indifference in a struggle […]
Written in 2005 about the Australian Wheat Board’s shenanigans in Iraq and the involvement of Woodside and Iraqi oil. Not published. I’m just a snazzy bagman going from Kurd to Kurd doing one night shows at Woodside Rodeos. Don’t call me a badman That really is absurd Our Johnnie stands behind me Please, not another […]
Written 2002 There’s a light. There’s a light on the hill. It is shining still; and it always will if you and I believe, don’t let them deceive. Let’s keep it shining bright to guide us though the night.
One day I awoke and no one spoke but words said to me it’s harder to live for peace than die for freedom. Written 2002.
written in 2005 not published A broken down man with an out of tune song stumbling, bumbling tumbling along one of life’s victims neither right nor wrong.
Tony Rabbit had a son ei, ei, oh he had a son that wasn’t one ei, ei, oh someone else had shot the gun firing blanks was all he’d done ei, ei, oh and in the end it wasn’t fun ei, ei, oh. Written in 2005 after Tony Abbott thought he had discovered he had […]
Frozen food firm locks out workers. Written 2004 not published. Ah McCain you’ve done it again scabbed on the workers caused uncertainty and pain you’re a bunch of shirkers we’ll make you explain you bunch of swindlers we’ll make you explain we’ll send in the auditors then see who’s in pain.
Doctors have discovered Kerry Packer needs a heart transplant. John Howard suggested Phillip Ruddock donate his. Ruddock replied he couldn’t because everyone knew he was heartless. Written in 2001
written in 2007 not published “Pink sky at night – a shepherd’s delight” the angels are dancing but they’re all out of sight politicians have answers that will make us uptight the people will struggle to make it all right. “Red sky in the morning – a shepherd’s warning” the devil is singing and the […]
The love of greed and caprice, of green and shaded lanes, of prison cells and private hells is running in your veins. Strong hate of distant others, sharing dreams with passersby I know but cannot share it, I won’t believe the lie. I love a sun-burnt country with black bodies on the plain, and the […]
written 2011 not published Give me Nembutal or death you god-fearing right-to-lifers. You should be called supporters of suffering or prolongers of agony. When life becomes intolerable death becomes preferable. Please try and suspend your consternation my death is not likely to rock the nation.
written in 2012, not published Don’t withhold my Nembutal when the final time has come I’m going soon, I’m going well. So, don’t withhold my Nembutal. I don’t need your morals lesson nor your totally empty gesture it’s the same road to heaven and hell. There comes a time in every life when we hear […]
Written in 2015 There are no jobs on a dead planet no song in a deaf man’s ear no laughter in starving children’s eyes no arm strong enough to save all those refugees from drowning, sinking in a sea of indifference. There is too much love in a mother’s breast too much joy in a […]
Written 2013 not published When it comes to asylum seekers I don’t want to talk to people who hear. I really want to speak to the deaf. I don’t want to point the way for those who see. I want to sign for the blind. As a country we’ve lost it. As a people we’ve […]
Four and twenty blackbirders camped by a billabong, Jack went up the hill chasing someone daughter. Mary had a little ham it tasted rather salty. Manuel had a hamster whose name was Basil Fawlty. Written in 2004 not published
Justice and humanity are what will set us free. Free…. (long) Free…. (long) Free, from Johnny. Peace of mind and liberty First for you, then for me. Free…. (long) Free…. (long) Free, from Johnny. Without hate and tyranny We can be We can be Free, from Johnny. Written but not published in 2004
Huge boulders clog the rivers. We let the dust congeal and dry where the Ok Tedi River flows into the Fly. Where landowners’ rights are trampled in the rush to mine the earth. Where fish and prawns are smothered and Papuan children die at birth. BHP Billiton runs and hopes to score again And all […]
Written in 2011 I live in a place called Redneckistan* where the mean, the greedy and ignorant rule where the obscene, the sleazy and perverts drool where politicians are lacking an attention span. Where there’s no room for honour, justice or truth where many are unpleasant, uncaring, uncouth. Asylum seekers coming by boat are detained […]
Written in 2011 Armed Kopassus kill peaceful West Papuan protestors and you stay silent, cowered by your personal fear. Members of Indonesia’s Brimbo units bash villagers (all the villagers had done was to feed separatists) and all the while you do nothing to help. But then again in 1961 you did nothing when Sukarno threatened […]
We can beat the bastards. We can stop the war. There is no need to bomb the kids to bathe in blood and gore. But each of us has to act as one to join in common union; oppose all war for ever more and seek just resolution. writen in 2003.
Let’s clear away the bullshit, let’s cut straight to the chase are Australians now prepared to rejoin the human race? Can we learn to say “sorry”, to the Stolen Generations? Be prepared to take our place amongst the league of nations? Can we make a proper home for asylum seekers here or are we content […]
Wobbly Press People’s Poems & Songs of Struggle Copyright John Tomlinson, August 1999. ISBN 0-38808-3909 This book is copyright. Indigenous, peace, anti-racist, environment and community organisations have permission to reproduce these poems provided appropriate acknowledgement is given. Acknowledgments I am obligated to the many comrades who took time over the last 40 years to explain […]
Published by Wobbly Press in August 1999. Indigenous, peace, anti-racist, environment and community organisations have permission to reproduce these poems provided appropriate acknowledgement is given. Acknowledgments I am obligated to the many comrades who took time over the last 40 years to explain their struggle and help me with mine. This book would not have reached […]
Written 2011 Please end the Intervention and stop the condescension restore the Racial Discrimination Act make racism an outlawed fact not broaden the racism to include poor whites.
Written in 2013 Dissemble lie distort disguise equivocate mislead obfuscate that’s how I like my government.
written 2013 When the prison gates slam open and the executioners disappear I’ll walk the iron-barred corridors and live my life without a fear.
You and I are citizens of the Pragmatic Republic. Our leaders betray us with their every breath. They ban euthanasia because compared with listening to them it is something to look forward to.
At Qana Jesus turned water into wine. At Qana Israel turned children into blood. written in 2007 Not published *In the Gospel of John, Jesus is said to have performed his first miracle of turning water into wine at Cana. Some Christians, especially Lebanese Christians, believe Qana to have been the actual location of this […]
I ran into a neutron bomb somebody told me it was a star I was in the middle of telling them that I did not believe them when I was sucked into a Black Hole which took my breath away. 19/2/18
Written in 2001 The future’s just behind us and the past is straight ahead. I asked George Bush about Caring Conservatism and whether the people on death row were getting a fair go. He said “You should understand, my lad they’re black and poor and useless they’re sad and bad and mad.” He said his […]
Published in Darwin, 1966. Reflections of a Fool The shrunken body, oozing pain but feeling nothing. Shunned by those I loved, tormented by the people. I have given almost all. There’s still my life, the final heathen offering. Not troubled by yearnings: ideals have died. There is only body: my mind is dead. A shrunken […]
Written in 2007 prior to election not published. For now he’s riding high but soon we’ll see him cry when he looses the seat of Bennelong. I’ll give you a clue ‘twill be Maxine McKew who captures the seat of Bennelong. Oh for heavens sake we have done with yellow cake with a waste […]
By screwing the workers we’ll increase the profits we’ll increase the profit line we’ll say we’re increasing productivity we won’t mention that the share of profits going to capital is going through the roof we won’t mention that workers share of profits is at an all time low. written 2014 not published
written in 2006 not published Let’s run the Liberals out of town if you see one, then run ‘em down they’ll steal your job and make you frown so let’s run the Liberals out of town. Rights at work are worth preserving but all the Liberals are self-serving in their lust for greed they’re […]
Written in 2013 Save me Jesus from your followers. Save me Jesus from your friends. I‘m just a diver who stayed too long save me Jesus from the bends. Save me Jesus from your followers. Save me Jesus from the legislators who evoke your name in vain. Save me Jesus from your followers Save me […]
written in 2011 don’t know if it was published Fukushima. Day-night screamer. “Nuclear power can save the earth” just forget Three Mile Island disregard Chernobyl turn away from Nagasaki turn your back on Hiroshima. Fukushima!!!!
Written in 2002. Well I’m sitting here in downtown Balmain thought for a moment I was going insane. Saw a man with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier he had it in a suitcase with its head sticking out. He was waiting for a bus, I’m sure our dogs would feel inferior. I just looked, I didn’t […]
Silence is the golden thread we weave and weave: we weave in silenced dread. You spoke the soft words of reason to their ears it sounds like treason. We fear to speak even in a whisper, while soft voices float like the smoke from a lone fire on a still morning. And yet I heard […]
Written in 2013 Neither Simpson nor his donkey will be awarded a VC so say the brass of Australia’s gallant military and for that they are applauded by the army’s hierarchy. Simpson didn’t want a war – he didn’t want to fight but he and his donkey tried to do what’s right they retrieved his […]
Written in 2005 Not Published. I love the sight of the first shafts of light reflected from the razor wire at Baxter. I’m overjoyed when I hear ministers warning asylum seekers against presuming on our compassion and humanity. I’m heartened when I think of the deterrent power that the drowning of 353 would be refugees […]
You don’t have to handicapped to be different. Everybody is different. If everybody is preoccupied with the economy then none of us are concentrating on the important things of life. Written in 2009 not published.
The thump, thump, thump of batons against plastic shields; the silence of soldiers and police doing up buttons on their shirts. The rummaging of politicians shuffling pieces of paper on their desks before they rise to justify the indefensible. The muffled cries of protesters who lie bleeding in the gutters while the tears of their […]
First published in Al-Moharer 20/2/2004 Issue 162 http://www.al-moharer.net/moh162/john_tomlinson162.htm In my country we abandon asylum seekers to their fate, but we are lucky with Amanda, Ruddock and Wilson Tuckey. We have a Ship of State and a Shit of Hate: the latter is John Howard, and as is often heard, his title is: “Prime Turd”. […]
written in 2014 I am a citizen of the world, one of the privileged ones. I am a citizen of Australia, it’s where I was born. This gives me certain rights and the right I cherish most is the right to criticise my government when it does cruel things: to those who are Indigenous to […]
Written in 2005. Not published. Gone is the sound of laughing Kookaburras and the gentle rustle of bandicoots in the grass; the camp fires of Aborigines have gone out and cars rush past on the concrete overpass. In large brick houses on little blocks bored housewives watch soap operas. As night falls workers scurry down […]
Australians all let us forget that we are young and free there’s no need for us to ask who shot the Aborigine. Those who survived we rounded up for our sweet tyranny. When we tire of punishing the remaining poor Indigene we can at last turn our mind to asylum-seeking refugee. For those who […]
Rise up, rise up and see the dawn. Rise up, rise up and greet the morn and hold the hand of the forlorn as they try to confront the crown. Written in 2010 not published.
Written in 2014 In our government we’ve got an Abbott and a Bishop but no decency. Some humanitarians have decried this government’s exploitation of asylum seekers for venal gain others have blamed it for causing pain. Some have criticised it for standing in the way of gay marriage claiming women and women and men and […]
Published in several places in 2007: the last time in the 300th edition of National Indigenous Times. The Senator says it looks ramshackle. Well Senator, it is a tent It’s asking white Australia to pay the bloody rent. They told the bully boys in blue to pull it down in ’72. But Aboriginal activists just […]
The bottom-line is mighty fine if you’re a big multinational but right here today letting the market hold sway is something that’s hardly rational. Written 2005 not published.
First published New Community Quarterly, Vol.3 , No.2 Winter 2005, p.55. also in also in New Community Quarterly, Vol. 3, No.3 Spring p.53. Amerikan globalisation wants to fill the valleys of third world poverty with the mountains of rotting garbage from the first world. Amerikan militarism wants to smother the third world’s anguished cries for […]
I’ve been thinking about all sorts of things, like what happens when all the butterflies in Brazil refuse to flap their wings. Will the world be still? Will love and humour be the norm? Will hurricanes refuse to form? When sparrows refrain from passing wind until after the sun sets and the dead walk and […]
Written 13/9/2001. Star Wars will save us. The armed forces will save us. The nuclear arsenal will save us. Retribution will save us. Economic rationalism will save us. So long as we remember the simple truth that: peace, humanity and solidarity are the enemy.
First published in The Word, April 2006 He looked in the face of Jesus stared into the eyes of God walked on the rock of ages where a million feet have trod. Held the hands of the dying listened to the lying tried to avoid the sages ’cause they’ve never understood. Wondered why the living are […]
Written in 2003. He was at a bit of a loss hanging on the cross shouting: “Soldier this wine’s sour. Now I know where it’s at, but I don’t like the hat and tell me what goes the hour?”
John Howard has had an inkling in the war against the welfare weakling that his mutual obligation has rocked the foundations of the nation shocking those with ideas above their station he’s slowed the economic pace to put us in our place the coming fiscal down turn will make us yearn yearn for fairer times. […]
Standing beside a crystal stream, with its clear waters, running over mossy rocks. Years ago I lay on your banks with my first love. Now I am alone and the sound of the cascade just makes me want to pee. Written 2002.
Donald Grump and Recom Pence planned to build a mighty fence to enable Amerika to hate again have the Ku Klux Klan rule again to keep the Mexicans and the poor from trying to enter by the back door. Seems they can’t get enough Norwegians but they have Africans by the legions, and El Salvadorians […]
It was known as the Ratsak election once voters found out their Prime Miniscule wasn’t just an ill informed fool they quickly demanded correction. Written in 2004 not published
Written but not published in 2008 They died for us on the beaches of Anzac Cove. They died during the battle of the Somme. They perished on the Kokoda track. They expired in the forests of Long Tan. They were slaughtered at Passchendaele. They took their last breath at the siege of Tobruk. They died […]
Written in April 2012 In Australia there is ANZAC Day on which politicians hide behind patriots. They talk about the sacrifice of war someone else’s sacrifice some other family’s sacrifice. They talk about Gallipoli and the Western Front with young men marching off to the trenches. They recall the Somme and the Dardanelles. They talk […]
(Participants attending the ‘Beyond Poverty’ conference in Auckland in March will probably recall John Tomlinson, our poet-academic friend from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. John’s stay with us coincided with the visit of Sr Connie Driscoll from the US, and he felt inspired to pen the following lines, which we decided to share […]
Parody written in 2009 not published. It was a phantom of delight when first it flashed upon my sight; a lovely apparition sent to be a moment’s ornament. Fair pension cheque I weep to see thee fade away so soon for yet the early rising sun has not attained its noon. Gas bill, gas […]
I lie here with the other crazies spending our time pushing up daises; we shouldn’t have listened to what the newspapers said when they told us that we’d be “better dead than red”. Instead of lying here in my cedar bed there were better things we could have done instead.
I promise that you’ll never experience the fear of freedom. I bring you the comfort of certainty no one will question you. There are no more questions. There are only answers. I bring you the comfort of oppression. You wont have to follow orders. There are no orders, except perhaps the lower orders, and no […]
Written in 2013 The turkey legs are eaten and the ham has gone as well the salmon’s off the table the race horse in the stable some wives are wearing sable might as well if they are able because this is not a fable. The richest people in the land say there’s nothing underhand, and […]
There’s a change. There’s a change. There’s a change on the way. People are troubled they’re starting to say: There’s a change. There’s a change. There’s a change on the way. Evolving times, the options vast for the rich the die is cast. Profits first and people last is an idea whose time has past. […]
Time and again don’t ask me when the long-lost story of yesterday’s men. Patriots, heroes a long line of zeros the dead and the fallen all bloated and swollen lying forlorn, and then no body waiting and no longer hating the battles are over leaders have moved on to bigger and better now mature and […]
Between the promise of tomorrow and the lies of yesterday somewhere in between I’ll fit today. First published in Union Song 11/7/2007 http://uionsong.com/u500.html
I wrote this poem early in 2004 Hassan Shamsaei, some, I’m told, call you “The Blind Man of Baxter.” You’ve refused food since mid-November but say you are not on a hunger strike. You have not sought publicity. Are you blind to the fear of death? Is this what Australia has done to you? You […]
I went down to Tiananmen Square and saw thousands of troops who were not there. They were not there again today I wish to Mao they’d go away. Written in 2009 not published.
Jesus climbed down from the cross leaving the thieves astounded wondering at their loss. Pontius Pilot was left pondering what he’d done wrong and who was boss. Then doubting Thomas ignored it for he couldn’t give a toss. The soldier who had speared him and the one with the crown of thorns where hoisted on […]
If you are on the rim of a world economy- hang on the vortex can drag you into the sewer. Written in 2001.
Written in 2005 not published. A few people can start a war. Making peace requires everyone. “Two bald men fighting over a comb” is the triumph of individualism. It’s a sad and sorry life you live you’re on your own with nothing to give Let me explain you have nothing to gain except nuclear […]
written 2011 It’s a sleazy deal we can reveal – not a treaty or agreement – just an aspirational document. Without justice, a slippery slope betrayal, connivance and false hope. Our dignity betrayed – humanity delayed. The Light on the Hill has been stolen by political opportunists – golden. Well may be, just yellow. So […]
We’ll decide who will govern this country and the manner in which they govern. We’ll put human need not capitalist greed in the forefront of our creed. We’ll no longer blame the victim we’ll make the playing field even. Written but not published 2004
Autonomy not integration freedom not transmigration independence not extermination living forests not devastation decency not exploitation fair dealing not expropriation peaceful lives not annihilation indigenous voice not usurpation. Stop the genocide raise the Morning Star* stop the raping share the Freeport wealth stop the jailing sing Oh My Land Papua** stop the ethnic cleansing stop […]
written in 2014 – don’t think it was published. I’ve watched the water stampede into the Devil’s Throat at Iguassu. I’ve driven past the Parson’s Pulpit on the Pacific Highway. I’ve cruised through Hell’s Gate in Macquarie Harbour south of Strahan. I’ve navigated The Rip at Cape Don, seen The Hole in the Wall in […]
In this mighty have been world and this could have been land I am what my friends made me and what my enemies tried to stop me becoming. written in 2005 not published.
Written 2013 When ever Yankee soldiers die I cry – I cry with sheer delight cause I know without a lie we’re getting closer to the end of night.
Copyright © 2020 John Tomlinson