A war of lies: Drugs and Australia 2017

I would normally leave this on my academic site, but this stuff is really interesting. It is not poetry, but it is poetic in a synthetic way. Hope you find it as intriguing as I do, and travel further down the rabbit hole.

the blog that chris wrote

With the War on Drugs being hailed as an overwhelming failure worldwide, why is it still waging on? US President Donald Trump and US Attorney General Jeff Sessions have thrown the media into a whirlwind by reconfirming their commitment to the failed policies, whilst other countries such as Portugal, Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Uruguay now have longitudinal data available to prove that none of what the fear-mongers have said has any statistical validity. Legalization and de-criminalisation of illicit substances is a solution that is not perfect but is proving better than the current strategies.

This report discusses the foundation of drug law worldwide and shows a brief overview of what has happened since.

Drugs and Billie Holiday

In 1939 the beautiful jazz singer Billie Holiday became one of the first celebrity targets for the unofficial war on drugs. The lately defunct department of prohibition became the Federal Bureau of…

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Today I saw my Dad (if I can find words)

He was hot, dirty and bloody and barrelling back to his camp,
Leaving a battalion of fresh young boys behind him, they weren’t moving anymore.
He had murder in his eyes and fire in his breath

as he searched for a man soon to have appreciation for the consequences of his decisions,

In a tropical paradise, de-evolved.

I saw my Dad today,

He was burning down the road by the river in his white mustang,

Pressed a cigarette charred almost all the way down to his lips,

while the hard sweet sounds of a steel string guitar were blared through the stereo,

wrapped itself in smoke and crawled out the window

lingering by the side of the road long after the car had disappeared.

 

I saw my Dad today,

He was sitting at the bedside of an old neighbour that he heard was in hospital,

She was feeling poorly and telling him of the lives and happenings of everyone in her life,

He was asking her how’s her bills going?

She said she didn’t know how she was gonna pay her rent,

He said don’t worry about it… “I’ll take care of it.”

 

I saw my Dad today

He was hot, dirty and bloody and barrelling back to his camp,

Leaving a battalion of fresh young boys behind him, they weren’t moving anymore.

He had murder in his eyes and fire in his breath

as he searched for a man soon to have appreciation for the consequences of his decisions,

In a tropical paradise, de-evolved.

 

Today I saw my Dad

He was sitting in the middle of a brown lounge

a cigarette was burned off in his fingers

a shot mug of whisky sat on the crowded coffee table in front of him,

His eyes were squinted shut, the sound he made was nothing but a wheeze

as his round shoulder shook with laughter and tears squeezed out and ran down his face.

 

Today I saw my Dad,

He was thin, bony and changed,

His eyes lit up as I walked in the room,

and I love yous were spoken without voice from behind a mask

written in his eyes, and in shaky hand on a piece of scrap-paper

along with water, popsicle, and turn over.

 

 

Today I saw a man in a box, but I didn’t see my Dad.

 

I see my Dad

In a million faces including mine,

he is driving, laughing, complaining, he is admiring that thick girl’s ass,

he is scattered in pieces that number immense,

and rests in my head in my heart

in smiles, laughter and tears.

Christina Donoghue 19/06/2017

The pause between the breaths

The elliptical printed hospital gown that is loosely draped around my fathers body that is emaciated from the organs who have decided to fail him, long after he failed them.

I’m sitting in a hospital room. The walls are white and stark with a carefully measured antique blue feature wall that compliments the faux wood cupboard and floors, not too mention matches perfectly the elliptical printed hospital gown that is loosely draped around my fathers body, which is emaciated due to the organs who have decided to fail him, long after he failed them.

The room is loud with the sound of an Italian folk song coming from the TV (The Godfather is playing), the compressor for the bariatric mattress and the bi-pat machine that mimics breathing and pushes my fathers chest up and down, doing more than we can to keep him alive.

Earlier today my step-mother looked at me, “They don’t know,” she said, “they don’t know that your father is not an ordinary man.” I turn my head to look at him—it appears that all evidence is to the contrary.

So we spend hours with tearless faces staring at small screens with digits on them that swap and change like watching keno, but the cash prize is life or death. I watch the zig-zag lines move up and down for so long that even the anomalies become a pattern, except when there is a pause, and a flat line, and for a moment you wonder if this is it.

Later sitting beside this man’s bed and looking into his gluey eyes that are almost closed but still see me for a moment. The reality of flying out in two day is hitting me hard, knowing that I will never see my Dad in this lifetime again.. there is nothing that  prepares you for that.

how to stop holding on

A meditation on the simplest and most painful journey of my fathers looming mortality

It’s been a long night

tears of tiredness, tension maybe grief roll from my eyes and stop…

I’m too tired for that.

My Dad died last night.

And then he rose again,

not on the third day but on the second resuscitation

“So it’s no intubation right?”

right

Careful no eye contact, don’t want there to be any warmth here where happy stories are few and broken hearts are many,

but the coffee’s weak and free, hopeful. “Maam step outside.”

Earlier: “He thinks he has pneumonia”

“No maam, it’s just the fluid on his lungs”

“He’s not right, his skin feels clammy”

“That’s probably just because it’s warm in here”

unseeing bloodstained eyes fixed on the ceiling.

“Sir can you hear me?”

________________________________________________________

Code blue in room 111

 

 

Waiting for the when

Sunday morning

It’s not looking good

Daddy’s getting worse, they don’t know what’s wrong…

I have to hop a plane

flying out in the morning,

kids crying and me… crying for the lack of them, anxious for the lack of him.

Someone near me farting on the plane, fourteen hour flight.

Good lord really?

Really bad coffee, brown water, I must have landed in the grand ol US of A

Welcome back

Another two flights

I see the spot at the airport where he usually stands… there’s nobody there.

Empty spaces speak loudly,

Heart monitors and bipat machines speak loudest of all…

almost.

Smiles and laughter, I love you scribble with shaky hand.

And now we wait… we sit and we wait

and breathe until we don’t.

 

Bloody Australia Day

I can’t erase the echoes in the ears of the lynched. And sayin’ it’s just a good day for a beer and a barbie, but if that was the truth, so would any other day just without the bloody remembrance.

I was born on this land. The land of the Burramattagal people of the Darug mob. This land that for 60,000 years their people have lived on, cared for and protected this land, and until I was an adult, I knew nothing about them.

w2028920parramatta20courtesy20of20national20library20of20australia20nla-pic-an207690900-vI love this land, it is the land that my feet have walked on for a lifetime. I love her and she has cared for me. My children were birthed here and their feet a hewn by this ground and she by them. It cared for my ancestors when they were forced from their own land in Ireland, I am the first of my American ancestors to walk here.

Bloody abos was a term I grew up hearing. Racist jokes and slurs now echo in my head evidencing the colonial mindset which still prevails and the mouths and minds of many. As much as we acknowledge the original owners of this land, and respect their elders, we are still standing on the land which was stolen, with no intention of giving it back.

The truth is that we are an English colony,  till this day. We are the benefactors of the invaders,  the indigenous people of this land have very little choice but to suck it up and adapt. But that is not the story we’re sold.

The truth is we are celebrating the invasion of what is now called Australia. It is still a yearly ‘f you’ we took over, live with it, to any indigenous person that might have enough hold of their own identity to know their origins. We may sell it to ourselves saying… oh well we’ve transformed the meaning of the day, it’s now just celebrating this great country. But if I’m honest with myself, it’s like transforming the word nigger, it still doesn’t lose the hundreds of years it was uttered to degrade. I can’t erase the echoes in the ears of the lynched. And sayin’ it’s just a good day for a beer and a barbie, but if that was the truth, so would any other day just without the bloody remembrance.

If the people of a colony acquired through bloodshed ever sit with themselves quietly and contemplate the land on which they sit and don’t look away, their brash “get over it” attitude might change to one of true humility, respect and gratitude.

I believe that as a people we show great generosity, compassion and understanding. The Australian spirit is famous all over the world for a reason. But if charity starts at home, maybe it’s time that we really show these people the respect of generations of lives destroyed and lost in the name of colonisation.

anzac-day-1

ANZAC Day and remembrance days are two days around all our dead that are treated as sombre and sorrowful moments. Yet on this day we don’t give the original people of this land the same respect.
So when do words and ideals translate into action and belief?

multicultural-australia-stqh1v

 

Getting my head ahead

It’s university holidays, you’re home with the kids, as nice as the possibility of sleeping in is, planning ahead for February is literally going to save your already paper thin sanity.

Every year that I go back to study, I find myself becoming increasingly time savvy.  Improving is a good thing I think, it’s evidence that not all my practice and stuff ups have been in vain.

3d9df6ef66775253b8cc7f26c6329fadFor those who don’t know me and haven’t ready the ‘about’ page, I’m a single mother of two who is half-way through the arduous trenches of a double degree. I’m loving the subject content as I am a info nut, but being a full-time parent and full-time student has its challenges and at times everybody else’s. If you are starting out on this road or are just gifted with an appetite for the sadistic, feel free to listen to the narrated car crash.

So, always keen to get things tucked away, I have done what I can, I’ve enrolled in my subjects for the year. All except one that is, I can’t decide on my minors for the life of me. Choices are:

  • Sociology – learn the science of people and how people make public policy (thrilling I know). Before I had so many choices, this was my choice
  • Photography – this is probably is my top or second top choice, I’m studying journalism, so this could come in handy.
  • French – made the list as it’s still a dream of mine to parler vous francois
  • Philosophy – I’m a classic over-thinker…  this is probably a perfect fit, or perhaps more fuel for the fire.
  • Politics – also journalism friendly.

At the end of the day it probably doesn’t matter and all choices will lead to adding fries to that order (joking) but for now this is my obsession, that and one or two other things, but we’ll leave that for another day.

So I guess my point today is that planning is MASSIVE when studying with kids. I’m now at the stage that I kind of understand what is required with all my final assignments and would recommend starting them as soon as you get them or at least make decisions on the subject that you are going to research or photograph etc.  Make sure it is something that you are personally passionate or curious about, that way you’ll be pursuing something for yourself, not just because you have a piece of paper with a question on it.

So for now it’s school holidays, I can hear my children in my bedroom talking about farting then laughing their heads off. My eldest daughter and I just finished playing one of the board games she got for Christmas and now I’m about to shower and resurrect my house from the rubble ( a task I complete about five times a day). The melodious scream of my youngest daughter comes from my bedroom, apparently there is a homicide in progress, that’s the only possible solution I’m sure.

Because my head is in the game I used the last of my grant money from last year to buy some of my books for next year, and I’ve read one (Passing, Neila Larsen) and am deep into the next one (Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck) which I am really enjoying having time to immerse myself in a real paper book (which is severely swollen from a pool incident – children have no respect). As an aside, Steinbeck is a freak of nature.

I’ve ordered d’bomb planner. One of the senior year students put me onto them when I was in first year, the passion planner is the best student diary that I’ve found yet.

I’m plotting and planning how I can get a massive whiteboard (stay tuned – insert evil laugh here), and I’m trying to get all the equipment that drove me crazy having to drive back and forth from my campus (1hr away) to get.

Although I sound busy in mind, the truth is this time is a gift. A time not to rush, to take care of my house and my kids, to go touch the ocean and luxuriously let my mind trip over my thoughts like a burbling winter stream tripping through the forest on the way to the ocean. (Ommmmnnn ;-))

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