A to Z Challenge – P is for Petrol

April 18, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Indigenous health, Poetry | 9 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

This poem is one that some may find offensive or distressing. I wrote it after seeing a “Lateline” programme on ABC TV about the predations of a paedophile in Mutitjulu (Ayers Rock Aboriginal community in the NT). Petrol sniffing is still a problem.

Petrol for Sex


Her body moves in rhythm to his thrusts.

Eyes closed, she’s in another world,

unaware of what is happening to her.

Twelve years old, a child –

the focus of his warped desires.

Should be in school, but it never was important

even when she was aware.

No future anyway. Why bother?


Finished, the old man pushes her aside.

She whimpers, and reaches out

for the can of petrol on the sand – her payment.

Dull eyes momentarily gleam

as she holds it to her face and inhales,

killing a few million more brain cells.

But she doesn’t know about that –

And he doesn’t care.


(c) Linda Visman

A to Z Challenge – L is for Lost

April 14, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Australia, Health | 9 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

There are some things about living and working in indigenous communities that are heart-breaking. During the time I was in the Northern Territory in the 1990s, there were two problems that were endemic.

Alcohol abuse was rife, and quite obvious in some places. Many indigenous leaders, along with government and welfare organisations, decided that one way to attack the problem was to make a rule declaring their communities “dry”. That meant no alcohol could be brought into or consumed within the community and a defined area around it.

In a lot of communities, it didn’t work, and ‘grog’ runners made a fortune bringing in illicit liquor at highly inflated prices.

A second scourge in some places was petrol sniffing. This was mostly among youngsters and young men and women, who got some sort of high from sniffing leaded petrol. There were kids as young as seven or eight with brain damage as a result – but the damage was done to the older ones as well.

I wrote this poem after I left the N.T., when  I’d heard about more problems with alcohol and petrol.

Lost Generations

He awakens in his bed of rags

by his brother down the creek.

Just seven and ten years old they are,

with a life that’s cold and bleak.

Their parents lost in grog’s embrace

are hardly ever seen;

the boys once better off that way

than being victims in between

periods of sanity

glimpses of lucidity



They feel no hunger pangs although

no food they’ve seen for days,

for they’re caught in another hell

that leaves them in a haze,

wiping out their intellect,

emotion – caring – being

a can of petrol all they want,

vacant eyes no longer seeing

periods of sanity

glimpses of lucidity



Linda Visman

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