Academic journal article Antipodes

At Kuranda

Academic journal article Antipodes

At Kuranda

Article excerpt

for Oodgeroo Noonuccal

When I was a girl, I won

Your award for my poem: Walking Together.

I didn't know your name inscribed on the trophy

I only knew Kath Walker.

When I was a girl, I knew

Our land belonged to Darkingjung whale people.

I knew Budgeivoi meant meeting of the waters.

I wrote about indigenous rights

Because our school had no black kids.

I didn't know then to be self-conscious

Of words like imperialism.

On my way to Kuranda

I saw women giving children little paper flags

For Sorry Day.

On my way from the old white airport

Tucked into the green arm of coast

The cabbie talked of gangs of drunk and violent abos.

On my way to Tjapukai Cultural Park

I remembered the old open air performances:

Painted men flapping like birds, feet elegant as brolgas.

But inside by the buffet table 1 cringed to see

A plastic tree and red-rock fiberglass on stage.

After the tourist buses were gone

After the performance was over

One dancer sat on a campfire log

Smoking a cigarette. …

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