Monday, May 7, 2012

Steven Oliver - ME I AM

I am humbled, inspired and grateful to be able to share the words of poet Steven Oliver on my blog. I saw Steven perform this peace at the kuril dhagun indigenous knowledge centre at the State Library of Queensland as part of the Am I Black Enough For You? event on May 1st. I was blown away and I have no doubt you will be as well. What I love about Aboriginal Australia, is that we freely express, embrace and take pride in who we are. This is what I also love about Steven, and over the next few days, there'll be more of his inspiring words.

So who is Steven Oliver? 
Steven was born in Cloncurry in North West Qld and is a descendant of the Kuku Yalanji, Waanyi, Woppaburra and Bundjalung Peoples.  He grew up in Townsville then moved to Perth to study with the Aboriginal Music Theatre Training Program. From there he was accepted into the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts studying Music Theatre but returned to Qld to teach at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts. He has worked with various theatre companies including, Kooemba Jdarra, Yirra Yaakin, La Boite, Kite Theatre and the West Australian Music Theatre Company. His festival work includes, Festival of Perth, The Darwin Festival, The Dreaming Festival, The Woodford Folk Festival, World Theatre Festival and the Festival of Brisbane. He has also performed a Tap Dance solo for the Annual Deadly Awards. He is currently focusing on Playwrighting and has been commissioned by Jute Theatre Company in Cairns to work on their “Proper Solid” project.

I am me
Me I am, understand?
Probably not! Probably got, confused along the way
All of this Straight, Bi, Gay
Black, Yellow, White! Confusing right?
I mean, how do I dignify how I identify?
How is it I find my place in a race that graces the face of this Earth
And what is my individuality worth?
My head gives birth and hurts with all the thoughts of what I’ve been taught yet,
I know nothing! I think?
You are you! True? I am me yet bound by commonality are we!
Australian, Aboriginal, Man, Human, Gay!
Identity! It is not labels. Names do not make me who I am.
Who I am is someone so profound that words can never define.
Even when I think I know myself, something happens where I am forced to reach further
into the depths of my being to bring forth a person in waiting.
A person who has been hiding from the world,
Too afraid to shine for fear that his glory would burn so bright
It would blind all those who dared to look upon him!
I am black, gay, man, son, nephew, uncle, child, grandchild, grandfather, cousin and brother
And I am no other!
I am friend, I am mate, I am brotherboy, I am tidda!
I am the result of thousands upon thousands, who have expressed their love,
Or lust for each other!
Thousands upon thousands, who have roamed this land,
And walked this Earth for tens of thousands of years to make me!
One thousandth generation Australian at least!
Kuku Yalanji, Waanyi, Woppaburra, Bundjalung, Chinese, Malay, Scottish and South Sea
And I am me!
Me I am, understand?
Probably not! Probably got, confused along the way!
© Steven Oliver

So, who are you?


Anonymous said...

Simplest story: white bisexual male poet. It gets complicated quickly, the more details I add; or could I just get away with saying "someone who gives a Jimmy Britt"? :)

Donna said...

Was privileged to watch, see, hear Steven perform this on the day. The emotion and passion then dances off the page here again. Thanks Anita, thanks Steven.

Teeben said...

Hey Phillip, yes it does get complicated quickly doesn't it? I often find I'm confusing myself! Lol! I've never heard of the saying "someone who gives a Jimmy Britt" but hey, I let people get away with a lot of things so sure, why not? :)

Teeben said...

Hey Donna, thanks for leaving such a wonderful kind comment! I've been extremely blessed to have had such a positive reaction to my words and I still find myself at times pinching myself. Seeing comments such as yours is amazing to me. Thanks again and you are very welcome. Cheers, Steven