Australian writer, environmental activist, hang-gliding assistant & former sailor, journalist & clown. Debut poetry collection available now. www.emmabriggs.net

Why do U.S. elections matter to the rest of the world?

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Will the U.S. election results affect me personally? Many have told me it will make no difference to my life. So why did I drink and watch the news for three days straight? Here in Australia, I am one of the few obsessed with American politics, while most seem largely indifferent.

Apart from the excitement of the first Black president, and the novelty factor of the first orange one, Australians generally have little interest in who’s in charge over there.

Fair enough, I suppose. It’s probably a positive trend in modern Australia that we’re far more concerned about our own politicians than either the British royal family or U.S. presidents. …


What if?

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What if I woke up and the nightmares were over?
If I could turn on the news just to hear about a car accident,
my heart would float away with the clouds.
What if all the baseless hate melted into the soil
to be transformed by micro-organisms, watered by rain,
warmed by dawn, until it grew into a radiant love which
stretched tall, reaching for the sky like a sunflower.
What if you saw the flower and gasped, remembering
the first time you noticed the beauty of existence,
when you were a child and you knew what was true.
What if the light of sunrise spread across the world, turning
everything gold and pink for a minute or two, enough
time to remind us to open our eyes and our minds
to reality, which is not hidden in screens but out there. …


A story from the future

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I dreamt about a bird. I had to keep it until it was time for cooking. It sat on my chest, wrapped in a tea towel, as I lay on a couch and felt its bones and feathers rustle beneath my fingers. Eventually it became quiet and we slept together through the heat of the day.

When I woke, my hands still gently trapped the bird, but I sensed it trusted me now. Suddenly I realised she was female and she understood me. I imagined a mouth sucking the meat from those bones. Although I knew it wouldn’t be my mouth, the image was too sad to bear. The despair increased until I could hardly breathe. …


A poem of desperation.

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When I took flight it was not with wings in the sky;
my fatal mistake was to escape across the seas.
I had no choice, but that was beside the point;
you used me as your villain in the news.
You surrendered my life as a lesson to the rest.
You stole my life for a vote to stop the boats.
For seven years I waited for a chance to land,
circling the cloudy patterns of my doubts,
detained in the lonely island of my brain.
Whenever a friend would try to guide me down
you silenced them with rules to hide the truth.
With cold intent, you left me up in the air,
for countless hours, stranded and forgotten.
As each year passed, the skies grew darker, darker;
hope was harder, harder to locate.
Stresses ate away my youth and health.
What did I do to lose my right to a home?
I cannot see a tomorrow where I’m free.
How do I survive, flying blind?
It’s been too long. …

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