I was born in the land of parrots
where the deer hop around on hind legs
and the beavers have duck faces
and the screaming red ghosts of the indigenous haunt our dreams
and the men have cold eyes and horrible hands
and everyone cheers at the footy.
I see you, Australia,
beneath the heavy asphalt and concrete
that we have used to pave over the Dreamtime
and stop the screaming
so we can clear our heads and our eyes for a hot second
and finish coughing up human bones
and figure out what the hell went wrong.
I hear you, Australia,
beneath the Brit pop and Hollywood propaganda
that we use to muffle your natural thrum
which white minds are too convoluted to comprehend
and white hearts are too hardened to beat in time to.
We fill your air with babbling pleasantries
about how laid-back and open-minded we are
so that we don’t accidentally hear your ancient voice
and stumble into a moment of sincerity.
Your voice is loudest
at the rock in the middle
where I heard you for the first time.
You thrum in loops like a giant silent didge
weaving together the songlines of the ancestors,
or maybe it’s some other thing,
I don’t know, I’m just guessing
because in that moment I also glimpsed how stupid I am.
I feel you, Australia,
beneath the suburban fugue and media sedation,
beneath the pulled window shades covering barking, snarling faces,
beneath the affectionless romances and “She’ll do” marriages,
beneath the vestigial Catholicism and ubiquitous paranoia,
beneath this vapid, foam-brained excuse for a culture
we’ve haphazardly slapped together
before the dust of colonialism settled
so we don’t have to feel our goddamn fucking feelings for once.
I see you.
I hear you.
I feel you.
But, like so very many others,
I am too cowardly to face you.
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