American fleet in Fremantle Australia


Vague shapes on a vague horizon

gather in the Roads,

haze grey on a hazy morning,


projecting power,

protecting dominance.

Choppers begin their runs,

great grey bees dragging cargo nets.

Droning beelines hauling

stateside mail, spares,

and fresh provisions.

Pilot boats sortie.

Tug boats cue.

Harbourmaster conducts

his diesel cacophony.


bollards await hawsers,

while crowds gather.

Wives and girlfriends

arrived from the States,

retired expatriates come to reminisce –

“I remember when

I sailed on the Iowa”,

and the local whores

come to ply their trade.

Awaving, gawking, happy crowd.

Three lonely protesters hold up

placards proclaiming:

“Nuclear Free Freo”,

“End the War in Iraq”,

“Yanks go Home!”

- Why don’t they

protest when the

Chinese People’s Liberation Army/Navy

sails into port? -

A scene fit for a local

Dada or Ensor.

Sleek, slab-sided instruments

of intimidation,

crowded and regimented habitats

confining hearts and minds.

Thankfully here a liberty port.

Pushed and slotted

alongside by tug-masters,

gangplanks swing down.

Fremantle station fills

with liberty-men

desperate for distraction -

too long in the Gulf.

Jar Heads and Swabbies

jam the trains to the city.

You can tell them by

shaved heads and gait.

It's nice to be

called 'Sir' again,

after all these years.

We all switch to

‘Strine’ to confuse them.

They ask about “Mickey D’s”

and we tell them, try “Makkas”.

It’s a game, and they

don’t know the rules –

our little push for sovereignty

under the omni-present

Yankee political yoke.

Two pretty young sheilas

approach the carriages –

a hundred pairs of eyes light in expectation.

Testosterone, fresh soap,

and American-style

after shave form

a heady mix in close quarters.

Doors slide open,

the girls flinch and turn away,

while a collective sigh

of disappointment rises

from a hundred throats.

Aussies on the train roll

with sympathetic laughter

at the Yanks’ discomfort.

And then we remember –

We have our own children

far from home,

and flagged-draped coffins

in growing numbers.

And the hidden placards

of our parental hearts read –

“End your war - Mr. Bush!”

by James Gagiikwe

Submitted: December 08, 2007

© Copyright 2023 James Gagiikwe. All rights reserved.

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