Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Steven Oliver - REAL


Today, Steven Oliver has summed up in these poetic lines, what I tried to do in 90,000 words of my memoir. The next person who asks you about Aboriginal identity, simply give  them this poem!
Real

Half caste, he said to me
That I wasn’t one of those real Aborigines
Said he spent some time with them in the outback
Then he looked at my skin said I wasn’t even black
I was more of a brown he went onto explain
His voice, the whole time, a certain disdain
He stared a bit longer then said I suppose
When I look at your face I see a bit of the nose
Oh, I said, a bit taken aback
To this obvious expert on everything black
My head in a muddle just trying to see
Why this man had a need to be questioning me
I thought for a minute then said to the guy
Are you waiting for me to try and justify
The complexities of identity
When it comes to Aboriginality?
Well, he said in a know it all voice
I don’t understand how you made a choice
Proclaiming that you’re an Aboriginal
When it’s obvious that you’re not really a full
Okay I thought, I’ll play this game
And proceeded to ask him what was his name?

Christopher Smith he said full of pride
A name revealing his English side
So calmly I said, my friend what are you?
He said I’m Australian mate through and through
Now come on I said, is that not a myth?
From the Great land of England comes the name Smith
Your heritage lies in a faraway land
So to say you’re from here, I don’t understand
You’re English, you said it, it’s there in your name
And that’s when all the obscenities came
You Abo, you boong, you know it all coon
It seemed that my friend had spoken too soon
Just moments ago I was not the real thing
Yet now by his words my heritage clings
Of course he was Aussie, I knew that he was
But I wanted to show him that simply because
I have other bloodlines flowing in me
It does not alter my Identity
The lifestyle I’ve lived, the way that I’ve grown
My identity is all that I’ve ever known
Just in the way he is Anglo Saxon
But yet in his heart he is Australian
I don’t question his call, I accept it as fact
So why do his questions feel like an attack
Relentlessly judging to prove he is right
When the truth is, I’ll never be white

It seemed that the man would go back to the days
When classification was all of the craze
A quarter, a sixteenth, an eighth or a half
Fuck all that shit cos I’m full in my heart
I’m full and I’m rich thanks to my history
The roots firmly planted in my family tree
Yet he wants to judge for he learns with his eyes
Too ignorant to learn from his mind
He can’t understand what it means to be black
Yet he passes his judgement so matter of fact
I bid him good day, okay that’s a lie
I wasn’t really that nice or polite
It’s just so annoying when fools come along
Who spend their time trying to prove that you’re wrong
I don’t understand what gives them this drive
Believing that they have this God given right
To tell me what I am yet don’t know my life
The arrogance just unbelievably rife
See, there are some members in my family
Who are blessed with the gene where they’re darker than me
But to say that I’m less because my skin’s not as black
Just shows how much knowledge these idiots lack
I speak the same language, share the same roots
So why from my colour do I have to prove?

To someone who never has given a day
To sit with my family and learn of our ways
Whose eyes will not open for fear they will see
How wrong that they were in labelling me
Part Aboriginal, not really full
Sickening terms that I never will
Use to describe me or those of my peers
So to those would be experts let me make this clear
What’s in my heart, the connection I feel
Is something unseen but totally real
And unless you have lived it you don’t know it’s strength
And you’ll never disprove it no matter what length
You go to because is it something so true
Just as is the Australian in you
No matter your last name whatever it be
McGuire or Tomic or Andrews or Lee
Names that arrived from a foreign shore
Yet you are Australian to your very core
So please understand when I say that I am
A proud Australian, Aboriginal Man
And because I have other bloodlines in me
It does not alter my identity.

© Steven Oliver

6 comments:

Cate Bolt said...

Absolutely magical. Bravo.

Ebswearspink said...

Wow I am in awe of this poem. Much respect and love to the author and you Anita for sharing x

dem dem said...

Hey Cate and Ebswearspink. Thanks for your comments! I'm in awe of people's reactions and truly do feel blessed! Much love and respect back at ya!

Stebideo said...

Oops! It would appear that someone else was signed in on my computer so if you are seeing this comment twice apologies!!

Hey Cate and Ebswearspink, thanks so much for your comments! Seeing such a positive response truly does make me feel blessed! Much love and respect back at ya!! Cheers, Steven

murriteacher said...

Thank you Steven. I saw you give a reading of you poem recently. I had read it before, but your performance brought tears and pride. Your work is important, stay with it. I will be 70 this year, and I am honoured to have heard the poem. Did you write it for me too? There are lots like us that would love to use your words.

Lupa Diri said...

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