Why watch this high definition technicolour misery
of unclaimed sandals, bullet-pocked walls
where oil, blood and water glisten in rainbow slicks?
And fire hoses weep a useless trickle
while women wail, and men tear their hair.
See another battered Toyota circle, its cargo of militia
bristling with moral duty and lethal metal
spruiking megaphonic orders that rip the air.
The clamour drowning out the call to prayer.

I am reminded of the Roman poet Martial
watching carnage at the Coliseum with disgust.
Challenged as to why a man of his demeanour
should be seen at such a place
he replied, he must come,
for ‘these are my times and I must know them’.

Laurie Smith (Western Australia)

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