The sign at Rosney Farm says Moonmairemener people
hunted kangaroo in the grassy forest,
shellfish from the river. Before the plough and barn
displaced Moonmairemener from their traditional lands.
... a half regretful sort of word for theft.
So when is it just ok to steal
… and not give the bloody goods back?
If we of pale face
need to wear the guilt of our ancestors lets repent
I say really repent
… or else I wish we'd all shut up
with the interpretive sign whinges
the whole steamy guilt reminder sauna.
St Paul gives the Greek of repentance
a complete total 180 degrees turn
a-round, 'I'm facing, I'm thinking
I'm stepping out in a whole new direction, brother'.
So if we really did an unprecedented bad
in all the Rosney farms around Australia
we should ... fix it
Not limp tokens
not interpretive signs wet with lament
not some marginal land returns
not patronising smoky ceremony
We really should just … give it back
pack up our copy of the gift of civilisation
in the suitcase and
head back to where we came from
and leave this country to the original owners.
I'm ready. I'll do it along with the rest of you.
Actually my own kit needs a little more space
sits in a shipping container
full of pumps and fridges and stuff like that.
Might get in the way after we all leave.
I'm going back to the USA ...
but wait ... I was bad there too.
Native Americans need that back
just like the aborigines.
I recalibrate my instruments
and my ship makes wake
all the way to mother England
clog the ports there with all the other Pommy ex pats
colonial bad boys and girls
waiting their turn with half of Australia
in the customs line at Dover
But then I remember my Danish grandfather and the pillage
loot and plunder on this the ravaged coast, the stolen land
My God man, send this ship to Copenhagen
but the DNA betrays me
and I'm also one of the raiding Celts from the east
raping the Danes and
they make me truck my shipping container back
on the highway
to middle Europe
home of the original Celts
and there with a long jake bark
on my engine brakes
I hang a slow left
toward the Slavs, my granny babushkas
all the way back to central Asia
and there maybe I can find redemption helping
the embattled Uighurs
my cousins who are trying to claim their piece of turf too
wouldn't you know
from the ubiquitous Chinese
who shoot them random in the crowd.
So maybe we can call in the Turks with a flotilla
up the Yangtze river
to end this deprivation of human rights.
But the Chinese were here long before
making nice with my Slavic granny
and I'm in a few centuries easy steps
tracing my Mongol ancestry
down to the south Asia coast
down to the Spice Islands
displacing populations all the way
And arriving in my short sail canoe finding pearls
and fleshy comfort with
a black fisher girl
from the only people who never
the place where the whole human story got started
on the hot beach flanks of the Kimberleys.
Damn. I was here the whole bloody time
and so I heave my rusty container
up on a pile oyster shells
crank up the generator
and pass out enough lemonades
to toast that old wisdom that says
we are all as bad as each other
but nothing a great slather of grace wouldn't fix.