Black and white photo of a person standing facing sideways with head tilted back and mouth open like they are screaming. Hand gripping rope tied around upper bode. White background


By Nelson Baker © | Nyikina 


My Ancestors were chosen by the common
Slaves in their own land
For what
The wealth with all they’ve got
Like they ain’t got enough
Grown men plead for their kids in the dust
Boys tortured
Banks were built by the sweat of my family’s hand
Burnt to crust
Girls slaughtered
You’ll never understand me
Breathing blood from their palm
This rope is screaming help
We can’t settle
You’ll never understand me
I wasn’t there but it happened
And I’m still surviving from them
You’ll never understand me
I’m still tryn’a make amends
To clean up your mess
I’m just tryn’a do my part to cleanse
And still be my best
Our minds are manipulated by the press
You’ll never understand me
Lost in life’s temptations to forget the rest
But what about the rest of us
I’m just tryn’a survive the day
You still on vacation
You’ll never understand me
You’ll never face
what we’ve always been facing
You’ll never understand me


What do I think about
when I think about language
Familys at the cost
of all of this loss
Humans pay the price
to sacrifice them self for what
Family’s all we got
Kids in the dust
and cars long since they’ve rust
Mapping out song lines
while walking through dusk
Its tough
and unspoken
But good enough for us
Was our youth the last chance for us
The last chance at trust
Listening to the unheard
To whisper even one word
The sun and the blood dirt
Above me and under
Can you hear the spirits
that come through this land
Near the river bank sand
where gold runs through your hand
Sussing you out cause you’re never around
But your grandmothers name is found in this ground
So your safe now
Cause the land knows where you’re from
And that you come from here
Yimmardoowarra Mum
Pay your respects
And they will protect you
They have not met you
but they have not left you
In the words that you speak
and seek to be clear
The guidance all around you
The distance you can hear
The wind that carry the leaves
The birds that carry the seeds
The dirt that moves under your feet
The stones that welcomes you back to the creek
You took me away from my people
From a way of living that I’m desperate to understand
I can only imagine how beautiful it must have been in that clan
Come back
Come back to me son he keeps saying
And I will teach you
Teach you how it used to be
And learn the old ways
To heal
To feel close to your people
But my tongue don’t twist
like it used to
My blood is now mixed
It don’t run like it used to
Will my son
if he comes
be confused too
Is feeling lost now all that we’re used to
These words
they don’t make the same sound
is that proof too
So what’s language
And what’s losing it cost
I’m standing here now hoping
It isn’t all lost

The poems are part of Blak Bloggers, a pilot program as part of YIRRAMBOI’s Resilience in Isolation, supporting First Nations to keep creative during physical-distancing.

Image credit: Photo by Michael Jalaru Torres.