Reading Italo, I see
Italian youths
preparing to swim while
il Duce prepares for war.
At home, on our couch,
while afternoon leisure
blends with our tea,
a reporter speaks
to a background of song:
Australia may soon
be under attack.
The words overlap
with piano and strings
and my mind hears,
I am titanium.

Damascus Road: Paris Interlude


Now it happens
in places with names we know:
near streets we have walked,
in stadiums and concert halls,
in coffee shops,
where violence never breathed before,
where we were safe.

Now we look for signs of links
to Syria, to al-Assad,
ISIL, and cells which fire.
Nothing has prepared us, yet
to others this has brewed for long.
The boundaries ever shifting say
that nothing was ever safe.

When French Charlie can’t say his name
without all heads turning at once,
the times are only waving a sign.
Once, when peasants were offered cake,
no-one ate to celebrate
Today, remember: Damascus’ streets bustled before,
and in the days of Noah men ate and drank
and no-one saw the rain.