Click Go the Triggers

Offset 15 (2015)


Christine Burrows

Click Go the Triggers (3’43”)

Spoken Word

lest we forget
lest we forget
that young australians sent to afghanistan
fight america’s war
a war to protect multinational profits
for global control
killing in the name of the coalition of the willing

trace israel’s bombs into gaza
as medics in tent hospitals
pluck the shrapnel of self-righteousness
from the mutilated bodies of old people and babies
Board Chairman’s congratulate themselves
on their last quarter profits

When is old enough?
when is ‘old enough’ for a boy
to swap his mouse, his xbox controller
his click and kill device for a sub-machine gun & real grenades –
to measure kills in bodies of flesh, bone & sinew
with belly buttons where umbilical cords
attached them to mothers who nurtured dreams of love and freedom

‘its just a game’ he’ll say
“games train war fodder. it’s how wars are fought now” his mother will say
he’ll laugh & take out a whole regiment with civilian collateral, his fingers flashing with the dexterity of a seasoned click-killer

& though it takes away his health, he’ll gets the kills; level up
and his health will be restored, with a surge of steroidal, testosterone charged dark pleasure

in the game he’s not blown apart by PTSD
stuck for the rest of his unnatural life in Death Valley
his mind trying to match body parts of young children
to put full corpses together.

dirt streaked soldiers get paid to play the game
glory promised in desert patterned fatigues
serious gear; bombs, guns, audio & vis comms
but there is no ‘game over’
in a swirling dust storm they looked bigger – like enemies
and the command was ‘shoot to kill’
they pluck the body parts of little kids
same age as their own, from mud and muck

& when eyelids close
the neurons auto-trigger fight not flight
his mind bursts alert
repeat repeat repeat, the crossfire
repeat repeat repeat, the crossfire
repeat repeat repeat, the crossfire
an audio sample gone mad
exploding shards of colour, a shroom trip from hell
the bullets are eyes, and toes, and children’s fingers
the splattered flesh of mates and enemies
blood tricking into the same dirt at the same time

he will fumble in screaming dreams to match body parts,
reassemble and make whole –
children, mates, enemies whose lives were taken by a fatal mistake
whose lives were taken
whose lives were ill-fated

a blooded soldier doesn’t ask why, doesn’t deny the order
locks the feelings in a steel box, gets on with the job
and will never know peace of mind again.

soldiers are being trained
by Xboxes, playstations and PCs
not by militants behind enemy lines
the enemy is laughing in plain sight
is crying ‘stop the boats’ ‘stop the death cult’
‘war on terror’

the price is a deeper terror
& the freedom to fight
for what really matters
& it’s not profits
but our shared humanity.