Marama Dina

Yirran Miigaydhu, Installation View, Campbelltown Arts Centre, 2019.

By Rima Martens

22 October, 2019

train rides out become a train ride home
i stepped inside the tall ceilings and found     not

an exhibition house but a breathing body 

here she rests                    the rowing woman

this meeting house is her womb

my lover and i take off our shoes

found now, a place that can contain 

(a resistance)

found now, friends who know what to keep simple

(and what to complicate) 

smiling mouths flossing a fishbone clean 

her body curves as our ears open 


in this house, on the woven rugs, i hear this woman has ridden so far she carries the rush of ocean hushes with her 
                 how she draws in the waves to the rhythm of her thinking
                                       and pushes them out when it is time to pray
and so i stretch my mouth

and let the kava wash in 


today, we are neither the healer or the warrior
we are the watchers of the children of

for each other we are skilled, pulling out lies like rotten teeth
       there are no straight lines 
             our thoughts oscillate into colour leaking out our midday thanks 

i tell my girl this is all there is 
                        this is the movement, the loudest of the islander DNA 

so ring in the desperate and call up the strong
press your ears to the threadfolds and hear how the seashells howl 
of brown women who have seen too many tornados 
                     (asking questions of the summer and calling in favours of the cold)

keepers of Martin Luther’s dream 

there is no pattern to see only one to feel 

                     talking on on owning kingdoms, riding dragons out of a tarpaulin kitchen
                     soil crumbling from between barred teeth
they know the light is the truth of where they came from 

cos histories are forgotten but myths stick to skin 
                                       (the waka did not push themselves) 

headphones on i hear that every moment
reading Wordsworth in high school was a

kids should learn words of the land they live  
                                           what if they were not quiet places 

weepy black dots kneel to the practices of veiqia and a sail made out of a child’s feet
                                   talanoa soft like dangling long boards
                                   patterning to understand
the brightness of the weniquia on donita’s skin
the joy after ceremony
of KAILA that connects her to the bang of drums beating 

the kids playing is curing the wrinkled with dementia
what it is to remember 

that art is the activist’s flaming torch 

out the meeting house her cries birth plenty willing hands 
                                                placenta blood trailing
                  babies’ first steps are reclaiming language 

the woman’s limbs prove that decolonisation is not integration  
                               assimilation forced them to spread that way 

these are the what if’s of a world fossil fuel free 

but the children have grown out  
                                            into the garden 
                                                            and the sunshine father witnessed

Thelma Thomas aka MC Trey, alewa Ni Serene, 2019.

Vale ni soqo, (interior view),
Campbelltown Arts Centre, 2019
Image credit: Document Photography