You too can be a green activist hero.
This is the poetic version of my short story Locked On as presented to the Nimbin World Performance Poetry Cup competition in August 2014 wth some minor word changes.
We’re going to spend a day on the front line of Green action and YOU are there.
It’s 5am, you’re standing with others in the moonless icy darkness.
The Milky Way is spread out in a glorious arc across the sky.
It’s breathtaking! You see more stars than you could ever count.
A thick smoky mist is swirling all around.
Everyone is excited but tense. Today we are going to break the law.
It’s cold, but not that cold that it numbs your senses and hurts your ears.
The young guy standing next to you is shivering but smiling.
He has bare feet and is only wearing shorts and a t-shirt.
Three words blaze across its front “LOCK the GATE”.
A score of men and women stare silently into flames,
lost to the world in deep contemplation.
Their orange faces look strange and eerie in the flickering light.
Another log on the fire, a billowing cloud of smoke,
A barrage of tiny glowing cinders swirl around you.
You turn away to keep the smoke from your eyes.
You’re eagerly awaiting the water in the cast iron kettle to boil,
You need a caffeine fix. It’s taking forever.
There’s buttered toast and a bowl of fruit nearby.
Your stomach feels empty but you’re not hungry.
Everyone is waiting for a report from the scouts.
You attended workshops in the activist camp yesterday,
You heard the advice from the lawyers,
The ramifications of breaking the law can be severe,
Today you might break it. You are excited but tense.
Time passes, there’s news from the scouts.
The police have stopped the first group.
They searched the van and seized our banners and locks.
“Bastards !” yells someone nearby.
What about the other group? Everyone’s worried and concerned.
Yesterday you learnt more about the target,
It was a company, a non-living entity that has no body, no heart and no soul.
Our laws say that company is a person. Yes a person like you are.
It company can hire and fire people, have a bank account, own property.
It can destroy the land and all living things that live there quite legally.
Only a monster would do that !
This monster’s plan was to dig a massive crater half a kilometre deep,
and kilometres wide to plunder the coal under a forest.
It wanted to destroy thousands of hectares of life to sate its hunger,
Suck up billions of litres of ground water to quench its thirst.
Then when finished, it wants to arrogantly depart,
leaving a scar visible from the moon, a massive toxic lake
and mountain of rubble as a mark of its disdain for the living.
Around you are ordinary Aussies like yourself from the city and the bush.
You can feel their love and compassion for the gum trees, the possums,
the parrots and all the other wonderful living creatures in that forest.
You can feel their determination to stop the monster from its path of destruction.
They are prepared to defy the laws that allow this monster to roam unrestrained,
To defy those unjust laws created by greedy, selfish, amoral men.
The eastern sky begins to glow with gold announcing another day.
As the sun peeks over the horizon, you see the blacks and the greys
change into a million shades of browns and greens.
You hear the symphony of the birds.
You can feel the warmth of the sun on your body.
You feel excited, eager and courageous.
You feel like an eco-warrior preparing to defend nature itself from the greed of mankind.
Yesterday you learnt about the tactics of non-violent protesting.
You learnt that everyone had a role to play.
Yours was to help your group to provide a diversion,
to allow one of the group called the bunny, to succeed.
The bunny was generally arrested by the police and often fined by the law.
Deployed against your group will be road blocks and helicopters.
The police will be edgy like hunting hounds eagerly watching for our bunny.
You hear the announcement.
“Group two have managed to get past the hounds. The bunny is ready.”
“Let’s go.” shouts a voice.
Your moment of destiny has arrived.
You and twenty other willing souls move off to the battle ground.
You cram into one of the cars that set off as a convoy.
You travel about two kilometres and then run into the first road block.
You are flagged down and asked for identification.
The cars are searched but they find nothing in them.
No banners, no locks, only drinks, food and blankets.
“We are going for a picnic.” Says one of your group.
“A picnic at 7 am in the morning. Not Bloody likely!”
says the sergeant with a sour expression on his face.
He looks at you.
Where is your bunny? Who is your bunny? What are you up to?
Your heart races. You mind goes blank. What are you going to say?
You’re saved by the woman beside you.
“We don’t know anything, sergeant.” She says.
He moves away mumbling and shaking his head. They let us move on.
Another road block, more identity checks, more searched vehicles,
more concern and confusion amongst the hounds.
Where was the bunny? Who was the bunny? What are they up to?
A police helicopter appears overhead and follows us,
watching and waiting like a hungry raptor. What are we up to?
We stop, get out of the cars, spread blankets and sit on them.
Two police cars arrive to watch and then another two.
The raptor hovers noisily overhead.
The hounds are restless and confused.
Why are 22 people having a picnic here at 7am in the morning?
Then it becomes clear to all as we get the text.
“The bunny has locked on.” Our deception has worked.
Our bunny had eluded their defences and locked onto the company’s gate,
Our bunny had chained the monster, halted its path of destruction.
It will take hours before the hounds can free it again.
Everyone cheers as the hounds depart.
You are both exhilarated and relieved.
Today we’ve won another round. We’ve slowed the monster’s progress.
Perhaps tomorrow the hounds will succeed in protecting it,
But the resistance will continue again and again until the politicians concede.
Until they agree to end the forest destruction, the pollution,
and halt the mindless greed for coal that’s killing our world.
Thanks for joining me today and helping to defend our land.
Can you help again tomorrow; the monster will try again.
Photo.....The Bunny has locked on....
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