Sunday, 8 September 2013

I am not a migrant or a refugee

I am not a migrant or a refugee
Sometimes that still shocks me
The me that is not quite white
The me that listens as people trip
over the soft round vowels of my name
The me that refuses to cover
the tattoos that show me as other
and knows that neither my father nor mother
are Australian

I am not a migrant or a refugee
Though my people are of the sea
So that when someone is a true leader
We call them
One who has warred with waves.
It is a title of respect, of honour
But here, here, I hear
Stop the boats
And wonder where the honour is 
in people playing politics with people's lives
As Machiavelli thrives, and they sharpen knives, and we don't stop as they dehumanise
And 'welcome to Australia'
gets drowned
Like those children THEY like to throw overboard.
 are so much better than
We'd only put those children in detention
And call that civilised.
We call it humanity and generosity
as we send them off to Nauru and PNG
And we say
oh well
I am not a migrant or refugee

I am not a migrant or a refugee
I'm an Australian by accident of birth I say blithely
To explain that I was born when my dad was doing his PhD
And we left when I was three
to a place where the Southern Cross meant something other
then a badge for bogans
who tell you to get the fuck out of the country
that Captain Cook claimed to have discovered
when it had long since
been found. 

No, I am not a migrant or a refugee

But if this is the quality of our discourse

Then God, oh my God

Allah huma Allah

We really need the diversity.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

A Lament

Oi aue

In Samoan love stories

We would turn into

Turtle and shark.

Nature tells us

One will consume the other.

Oi aue

In Samoan love stories

Sina’s prince is an eel

And happily ever after

Is when her beloved

Is beheaded

Transformed into a niu

So she can finally (safely) drink

His sweet sweet juice.

Oi aue

In Samoan love stories

Men chase beautiful white women

Into woods

and are never seen again.

And one

blessed so that he could not lose in battle

was beguiled by beauty

into bed

and ambushed, betrayed, killed dead

a pale of lau maile

still around his head.

They say the fires of A’ana

Burnt bright

Fuelled by fury

and revenge

and lit John William’s journey

into harbour.

Oi aue




For mine is a Samoan love story

And we all know

How they end.

Author's Postscript

What effect do our stories have on us?

The Samoan love stories I grew up with all contained dire warnings about investing too much of yourself in romantic love... after all that may distract one from the all consuming love for the aiga so

important in our culture

Of course no race has an exclusive claim on charm (and of course I am biased), but I have always found my people charming- quick to laughter and to song, with an easy confidence and a fantastic sense of humour. Conversely, there is a cavalier attitude to relationships and to monogamy. Not for us the outrage and universal condemnation when someone steps out on what is supposed to be a committed relationship.
This poem is a reflection and a lament
on Samoan love

Malofie- sharing the beauty of the malu and the pe'a

A very clever, creative and culturally sensitive Samoan friend of mine (with a malu) is collecting stories and photos from around the world of those with the tatau (malu or pe'a) and considering putting together a coffee table book. I think this is a fantastic project and having met Samoans all over the world, I can just imagine how stunning it will be and I'm very excited to see her taking it on.

Please support this by sharing this link, liking this page, and by sharing your own wonderful stories and photos wherever you are on