Eaten Inside Out

Published in the Caravan Slam zine 

There’s a certain type of insect

That will gnaw a hole right through your skin

And burrow under into spongy flesh

And lay eggs so deep within;

And their young will hatch inside of you

And eat their way back through…

And they will tear flesh from bones

With tiny mouths of knives;

And they will turn muscle into ribbons

And tendons into lace

And they’ll eat your organs into doilies

And make a pulpy mess of your face.

… And Imagine that silent screaming

… And Imagine that terrible pain

As termites burrow into bones

And leave your stuffing all askew

And you’d be lucky to save your innards

Before they went putrid with mildew.


Sometimes I think of those sorts of insects

That kill things inside out

And I think of power plants,

Of Woolworths and Iraq;

I think of Villawood

And of rubbish dumps full of car-casses

And soft drink cans and plastic toys

Not for children under three

Because they’ve got small parts that

We might choke on

If we don’t chew carefully
Sometimes I think of road kill

Where there’s a thud as you impact

And you’re not sure if you’re more scared

If it’s dead or it’s still living;

And you get out and kneel down next to fur

Still warm and wet from collision

And in the darkness you just see the tragedy

Of fur marked with a bloody smear

And those awful eyes stretched wide and white

With its last moments frozen there in fear.


And It’s only when you look up

To burning headlights fast approaching

That you turn again to the furry dead

And see that its body’s crushed with tire marks

And its intestines have formed a noose

And its tongue is spayed

And its nose is bleeding

And in its eye sockets

There are maggots softly feeding.

And in those moments

Before you leap off the road

You realise how crass we are

A species that will kill

In big metal  speeding boxes

Driving a million miles an hour

And strewn across the road we leave carcasses once living

To be trampled and be bloodied

And their fleshy lives mutilated

And once again I catch myself thinking …

Of being eaten inside out…


… Because roadkill is one thing,

And Packaged meat is another

(surely something’s wrong

when we by flesh in rectangular prisms

Sterilized and sanitised

And wrapped in gladwrap for our dinners?)

But more than those little cruelties

That help our daily lives run smoothly

More than coffee for three dollars

That’s costs farmers’ their sons and daughters

And more than a beef and guiness pie

That’s fuelling climate change;

More than those thoughtless little atrocities

That’s slowly starving half the plant

I realised that quite literally

We’re being eaten inside out.


We’re being eaten inside out

Each time a family clusters round

An altar made of metal

with a transmitter stuck on top

Each time they slop down microwaved chips

And drink bubbly soda pop and they chew

On asylum seekers who are armed with guns and terror

And who’ve sold their life’s belongings

To enjoy sunny Australia’s weather


So careful not to gag on that sausage made of entrails

Wipe your greasy mouth

And glue those pig eyes to the screen

Because they’re getting to the good bit

Where the asylum seekers’ are taking over

They’re coming here in hoards

To use our welfare system

Taking more than we can afford

Because while we work each day from 9 to 5

They’ll hoon around those leaches

They’ve terrorise the local families

And start riots on our beaches

And criminals will hide beneath

The black folds of their burquas

And they’ll sit in little dingy rooms

And work out ways to hurt us.
Put your feet up,

Flick the channel

Lick that greasy plate

Watching scenes of from Afghanistan

A ten year war of hate;

But don’t let that wreck your appetite

Because sometimes you have to kill

When you are right

And they are wrong

You teach lessons with those bombs

Each gun fire teaches a small child

Whose lost a parent and a limb

That white men in kharki

Will always hate, and always win.
And each mine that blows up civilians

And each prisoner bagged and raped

Is just a lesson in submission

And the power of the State.


And even those of us who fancy

That we’ve escaped this paradigm

And we’re free thinkers and progressive

And have an open mind;

Even us who fancy that we’re above that hypocricy

How many of us are fighting

For our fellow humans to be free?

I buy at least three coffees

(OK, probably five )

And I drink coopers beer

Which helps the Liberals to survive;

And I smoke cigarettes

Whilst preaching about climate change

And all of this hypocracy

Makes me feel a bit ashamed.


And I’m not saying we should be saints

Or that I’m evil to the core

Or that we should all march bearing banners

And demand dignity for more;


I’m just telling you of this feeling

That I get sometimes at night

It pinches and itches

And I wake and want shout

And I thrash and roll around

And try to rub it out

That junkie feeling I get at night

That I’m being eaten inside out.

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