Arts

The Graffiti Poet

A poem by Chris Miller, Adelaide, SA.

 
He knows
Slinking sideways into camouflaged shadows 
canny, hooded Ngarrindjeri brother
Eyes dart furtively: aerosol can ready
Swiftly, afterburners ignite then blaze
Vertical downward thrust!
Up again! Down! Up! Down!
Swish; swoosh; flick; push
Words vomit onto municipal barricades 
form ambergris-like epithets of froth and vitriol
TREATY NOW: THIEVING COWS! 

He knows
No mere private-schoolboy 
sobriquet on these walls
His words slash the face of pilfered urban propriety
Challenge the security  
of privileged fenced community
Fracture misconceptions of moral impunity
Go to the heart of Aboriginal justice 
while dewy-eyed bleeding hearts
get behind Reconciliation 
RE-CON-CILIATION: STINGY SUBSTITUTE FOR STOLEN NATION

He knows 
Eighty percent of the Indigenous population 
reject Constitutional Recognition 
Dominant culture discourses; lying media 
cajole the possessors 
of the stolen goods 
to endorse the circus referendum
Enfold the good Indigenous citizen, like eggs 
into the shonky, honky 
Constitutional recipe 
Entrepreneurial activity: universal remedy 
for Indigenous misery!
He knows Oodgeroo
BETTER WHEN I HAD NOTHING BUT HAPPINESS

He knows
Reconciliation offers no justice
no repatriation; no treaty; no Sovereignty 
He knows it’s a sham, 
a grave to the fundamental rights 
of Aboriginal people
Top echelon of the colonising junta 
cry crocodile tears,
apologise for stolen generation
Refuse to apologise
for organised genocide; theft; deaths in custody,
for forced labour; child rape and sexual slavery 
for its own specific
Pacific brand of apartheid 
IF SORRY IS REALLY WHAT YOU MEAN: THEN DON’T INTERVENE

He knows
About identities stolen
deliberate poisonings,
being butchered like animals 
Diseased reserves
emotional numbness; meaninglessness 
transgenerational guilt 
internalisation of blame
alienation; victimisation
Desolation!
He knows Gilbert
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO RECONCILE OURSELVES TO: A HOLOCAUST; A MASSACRE; DISPOSSESSION?

He knows 
Quickened heart and lungs 
soon leave air discarded
Chroming option no longer regarded 
by this language insurgent
No paint, no petrol will silence this alienated mouth
It’s a sad and stupid thing 
to have to proclaim yourself 
a revolutionary just to be a decent man
He knows
That every poem is a blow against silence
Spent hydrocarbon: empty cans now finally tongue-tied
roll in arched curves
Tinkle
Rest beneath Moreton’s
WEARY AND TORN I STUMBLE
THEN BLEARY AND WORN I SHALL RISE
AND SURPRISE YOU BY MY WILL

Chris explains how his poem came about:

“This poem arose out of a desire to counter the New Racism elements underpinning the dominant culture’s regressive putsch for ‘Constitutional Recognition’ and ‘Reconciliation’ as counterbalance to the renewed vigour of the progressive Sovereignty and Treaty movement.

“The so-called ‘Reconciliation’ movement actually mutes specific Indigenous voices and marginalises and relegates them to the periphery while favouring and promoting mainstreaming via political tameness. As such, some progressive Indigenous leaders feel constrained in the current political climate. Reconciliation represents conflict as something internal to the political community, resolvable through appeals to constitutional norms.

“In contrast, Sovereignty seeks a register for the conflict beyond the constitutional mediation in order to contest the legitimacy of the state and its institutions and propaganda vehicles. As Michael Mansell says, Indigenous people have rights like no others in Australia can legitimately claim… those rights have become subsumed by the ‘we are all one people in the one nation’ slogan.”

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www.CreativeSpirits.info,
Aboriginal culture - Arts - The Graffiti Poet, retrieved 22 September 2017