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Six Sonnets: Papua New Guinea

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The Bee People of PNG
The Bee People of PNG
(Image by johnny.guernica)
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Six Sonnets: Papua New Guinea

by John Kendall Hawkins


The Bee People


Well, let's face it, they're terrifying to behold,

all decked out in native angry paint, black and white,

and recalls some Bond film about voodoo and gold

in post-colonial Jamaica, calypso right.

Yaphet Kotto as Idi Amin must be near,

and look how smart they march, the army of children,

as if Joe Kony himself was secretly there

to supervise the raid, to point, and say, "Kill them."

Of course the march is all a pale male's phantasy,

filled with spooks-will-be-spooks motifs and melodies

imposed on them by Mighty Whitey's reality --

neoliberalism and assorted felonies.

Still, it's a fun afternoon watching the singsing:

implied headhunters and fops bringing their blingbling.

Behrouz Boochani by Hoda Afshar.
Behrouz Boochani by Hoda Afshar.
(Image by Wikipedia (, Author: Hoda Afshar)
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Manus Island: A Kurd Absurd


When Kurd Behrouz Boochani jumped the migrant queue,

trying to sneak into Oz on a leaky boat,

he was caught and shipped to Manus Island to rue

his freedom-thieving ways. The Left saw him as a goat,

and Behrouz savaged the Aussie reputation

as First World humanitarians. Terrorists!

he said. Barbarians! A criminal nation.

And it became a sordid saga full of twists.

The detention center was a foul dump, he'd write

by Whatsapp texts to "mates" in Oz who had his back;

it became a prized book in Oz. Go fly a kite.

I don't wish to move there anyhow. More cash for quack.

He's a Kiwi now. Just as well Oz rejected him.

The Right would have made the Left beat him to death. Grim.

(Image by davepattern from flickr)
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Teaching Hitchcock: Don't Kill the Messenger


I taught English in PNG and in one class,

Film Studies, we studied Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.

(It was just an excuse to watch movies. That crass.)

They were local kids. One girl smiled like a gecko,

causing me to double-take. A wonderful group,

as they say. Elite brats from the Highlands. Wantoks.

Eager to learn, by their looks (or was I just soup?).

I don't really know; hate to place them in a box.

The shower scene is everyone's favorite bit:

the swirling blood, the lifeless eye, the violins,

but these kids really light up and get into it,

counting out loud the knife stabs, Tony Perkins grins.

That class loved me, and I them, The Prophet, Bob Marley,

I'd say, during Music Studies, culture parley.

Sharon Stone and Rolex Submariner
Sharon Stone and Rolex Submariner
(Image by MarkGregory007 from flickr)
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Sailing, Sailing the Sandy Sea


We called our "yacht" Sibel after a Turk we knew,

a sweet doctor with a sweet husband, and a brat;

we'd hoped they'd come visit, but it wasn't to be.

It didn't really matter once we were asea,

pulling corks and drowning in SP suds, the twat

who served as skipper lording it over the crew,

tacking this way and that, our heads ducking the boom,

successfully most of the time, in a rhythm

on swabby waves sailing for some far tortuga.

I avoided the reputed one-pieced cougar

probably on the prowl (you saw she had a system);

some old Circe ready to lead me to my doom.

At Sand Island all the soused expats waved and shouted

while I laid back in the shade -- cork popped -- and scouted.

Gods must be crazyposter.
Gods must be crazyposter.
(Image by Wikipedia (, Author: Author Not Given)
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Cargo Cult Capitalist Gods in Tees

You'd be surprised how often the gods are crazy,

fumbling around in straitjacket clouds, seeking Coke

bottles to put rockets in to fill the dark skies

with their spray graffiti and constellated lies;

I'm AlphaOmega, they roar, all chicken choke,

shakin bakin self-stim lightning rods Scorcese.

The marching bands come filled with jingles and jive to sell

the latest paradigm shift in men's underwear

and the cappies are feeling and sowing their oats.

The grand Wagnerian tragedy, starring goats --

Tristan and Isolde -- inspires ancestral fear

of tabooistical totems no one can quell.

In Moresby locals don discarded slogan tees

sent there by the millions over the polluted seas.

Mr. Sh*t Runs for Office
Mr. Sh*t Runs for Office
(Image by John Hawkins)
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Mr. Sh*t Runs for Office

Mr. Sh*t tired of the Lesser of Two Evils

approach to running for office the world embraced

as modern democracy -- Pepsi or Coke laced

with oxy supplied by Sackler sales rep devils.

His logo: Rodin's Thinker sitting on a loo,

processing toxins and gases, as if to say,

Why be full of sh*t if you do not have to be?

He was extremely popular -- and handsome, too.

But the PNG puppet masters (read Aussies)

schemed and wantoked and banned his nickname Mr. Sh*t.

Without that appellation he was just another twit

running for office, saddle for the high hossies.

Mr. Sh*t was way too honest for his own good;

they flushed his revolution down and called him rude.

(Article changed on Dec 23, 2021 at 7:14 PM EST)

(Article changed on Dec 24, 2021 at 5:22 AM EST)

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John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelance journalist and poet currently residing in Oceania.

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