In the shadow of a palm tree: poems from the Indian ocean territories.
Margin I Cocos (Keeling) Islands Like rain inversed tiny droplets of fish push into air showering toward high cloud this place belongs to itself you arrive on its terms remain terrestrial peripheral life is tenuous here on the merest suggestion of soil that contracts expands with the lagoon's slow exhalation a rhythm we all wait for live by days poised on the rush of its breath. Margin II Cocos (Keeling) Islands What does it mean to live, subsist, just a moment above the ocean where the slow coral grows its mighty mountain and life explodes as its o-mouth meets the air All night I hear the sea's secret undoing and all day witness uncountable beings rebuild Some early evenings when the sun is stirred into the trees and the water returns to reclaim its margins we are still Only then will clear crabs peer with above-water eyes --perfectly between-- like sharks setting sail-fins to the sky Here the water's surface looks like something you can trust the statement of its reflected surface is sure, promises we belong above. The Haunting Christmas Island On our island, the young girl's ghost curls beneath the nightscape By the toilets, the young girl's ghost has some in tears On our island, what's by the toilets stops men leaving their rooms on our island, by the toilets a tiny ghost On our island, behind the wire between the guards the Afghans see a girl's ghost by the toilets her unwet tears Men will not leave their cramped and rotting dorms cannot stand to hear the sound of her suffering. The Politics of Entry Coming in the back door like you could wait politely at the front one. Coming in the back door like survival was a party, you're just not invited. But in all this namelessness we are blind to the coming from; coming from a landscape in shadow where rape is tactical, procedural, political, hold the daughter still plant your flag in that dark place, force the life out of her eyes until she is pregnant with the violence of it. Let despair grow round and firm and hungry. We say; the welcome mat, red carpet, flood gates open when all you see is light from darkness a door ajar The Will of Water Cocos (Keeling) Islands Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. (Rumi) Out beyond the reef beyond the horizon, beyond the breakers there is a space that will break that will break, that will unmake you out beyond the breakers beyond borders, tankers, customs freighters out beyond eyes beyond sight and the light of conscience hear the timbre of strain sing a low, sad song this vessel was never meant to contain such weight out in the middle of we will decide who comes and in the thick of the circumstances (1) every fear of each imagined ending will engulf you and the sharks of our dark hate will at last consume you, for we are a land that will not a line that will not a law that will not give out where mothers are grasping for children's limbs we are losing patience with pity, turn away we will not witness, it will not stick for we did not see heard no screams let me wash my hands in the they are not my deeds in the I know nothing of the will of water out beyond the ocean and all its undoing you had a dream. I will meet you there for when life is at last allowed its living the world will be too full to write about.
(1) Former Prime Minister John Howard in his election campaign policy launch in 2001 famously stated: 'This campaign more than any other that I have been involved in, is very much about the future of the Australia we know and the Australia we love so much. It is also about having an uncompromising view about the fundamental right of this country to protect its borders. It's about this nation saying to the world ... we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come' (Immigration Museum, 28 October, 2001, http://museumvictoria.com.au/immigrationmuseum/discoverycentre/identity/vi deos/politics-videos/john-howards-2001-election-campaign-policy-launch speech/).
Renee Pettitt-Schipp (email@example.com) lives on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands where she writes and teaches Art to the Cocos Malay and mainstream students. In 2010 Renee was short-listed for the Trudy Graham Biennial Literary Award, and in 2011 and 2012 she won and was highly commended in (respectively) the Ethel Webb Bundell prize for poetry. Renee is currently completing her honours in Creative Writing at Curtin University.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2012|
|Previous Article:||From starving child to rebel-pirate: the west's new imagery of a 'failed' Somalia.|
|Next Article:||The Subject of biometrics.|