The Mill

Samuel Maguire

Violent Machines


A scuttling noise

orange aluminium beats a staccato

on stained concrete


And the man rises

presenting his dangling wrist

like some horrid gift


Severed bone

sticking rudely out

a stray bristle on an overused paintbrush


What is there to do?

One lady

has already called an ambulance


And the other

desperately trying to unlock his phone

with his limp and bloody finger


Sticks and Flintstones



Please know, this is from a place

of pure love and understanding.

I understand, that picture you shared on Facebook

telling your friends

that one should never look down upon,

bully or make fun of

those with a physical or mental disability,

comes from the goodness of your heart

I know, that you 

are a 60 year old casual hospitality worker from Mackay

and your exposure to social media

comes recent in your relative timeline

and your rural upbringing means that these concepts

while obvious to the initiated

move you, and hit close to your weathered heart

A heart you shared

as we drank after work

a pint of lager and a glass of moscato

with ice in it

We spoke of your daughter

who took away your beloved granddaughter 

and my struggling marriage

as busy lives drifted us apart

I know and understand the goodness and rareness of your heart

but please tell me

for the love of all that is wholesome and genuine

why does this picture, shared so honestly,

have a picture of Fred Flintstone on it?

What does that mean?

Is it saying that Fred is a prime example

of one that has a disability

Or is Fred, in his infinite wisdom, the one relaying

this message of kindness to the masses

Or is this a copyright mark, sanctioned by the arbiters

at Hanna Barbera, branding this compassion as their own

Or, more likely, is this yet again

a callsign

of mass-produced bullshit, peddled to the lowest common denominator

as Hanna Barbera’s animations were, 

minimum effort and maximum exposure

And what fills the dregs of my heart

with cold fear and hot anger

is that this, maybe,

is way more effective

far-reaching and life-changing

than anything I’ve done

Samuel Maguire is a Brisbane author and professional bipolar-haver. His debut novel No Point in Stopping was published in 2018, and he has had work published in Stilts Journal, Scum Magazine and currently works as an editor for Tiny Owl Publishing. You can find more of his fiction, poetry and brain-wrongs at his blog