A performer wearing orange long sleeve dress standing with arms extended out straight like a bird. Dark background with a tree to the left and blue lighting.

Blak Bloggers: Urban Dreaming

By Monica Jasmine Karo © | Gunai Kurnai/Gunditjmara

Performed for YIRRAMBOI Festival Opening Night, 2 May 2019

Laced in the blood of Mother Earth
My bleeding country             my place of birth
Here I stand                          all that I am
As I try to break the shackles of this colonial curse

I am met with friends as we are washed away by the vastness of the sea
In warm sand we surrendered

Strange lights did appear in the oceans crest
We called out, but there was no sound
Man-made or mystic we thought and if it came in peace
It didn’t matter as this light it did shine at a pivotal time
Showing some young Blak kids that it’s gonna be alright

As this urban district had our vision blurred 
The city smog had our airways choked
So we chose to see the Seven Sisters and the Southern Cross etched in each other’s
skin     flesh     and   bone

We breathed in                         We became kin
We borrowed that crystal fresh air from our family ghosts
and those spirits transported us into higher realms, teaching us the knowledge and wisdom that we have the birth rights to know

For we come from North, South, East and West Lands
We’re different yet familiar          like a returning after death

And this old love is blood deep as it seeps into your cells
Awakening genetic memory

And as we laid our bodies on the beach shore, we lit candles for those bodies who have crumbled
passed onto another dimension
for a moment we were quiet, low melting and humbled
for those lives to remember we ignited a flame just to feel the warmth of their embers

My dear friends, I did not ask for you in the shadows of the night
… but that’s how the story goes
Diamonds in the rough appear just as your about to let go
Those diamonds pull you out of rose thorn snake infested pits
Toxic abyss you were about to lay yourself in
Harshness you thought you deserved
Those diamonds place silk and wool over you back
They bathe you in olive oil            just to remind you             that softness still exists

And as we waited on the beach pier for our first sunrise together 
It was like we were the first men and women in the dawning of time
Colours are fresh when light first hits and we were lit up and beaming
Our eyes revealed our truth of ultimate devotion to life
                but our eyes are the windows to our souls 
                                        and our souls are crying

And as we sat on that beach pier speaking of our Grandmothers, unsung heroes and fallen warriors, our friend he did say,
I have been awoken by the luminous light from the deep. Yet I am shaken, I am hurting my heart it is breaking, that our mob have to endure this all
And as we held him close catching his tears on our chest we whispered and we said

Brother, life’s mystery is within us, so close you can almost feel it
A distance within reach, always yearning and forever searching
so hold yourself         regain your strength        hold yourself as we are holding you now

For we are first peoples and we are like rock
We are like Lomandra grass and we bind unbreakable knots
We are the next generation of care takers  
We are innovators 
Our children will be the recreators   
We are like the mountains reformed by the crashing of waves
Forming new and beautiful shapes each millennia

For we come from North, South, East and West lands
We are different yet familiar like a returning after death

And this old love is blood deep as it seeps into your cells
Awakening genetic memory

For we are creating a new Blak urban meeting place
Connecting to our collective dreaming
For this is our song
And we’re singing it how it should be sung
Our song
Our hearts beating
Our urban dreaming
As we dance this songline forever

We say return us                             for we are not lost
This is our home
This is our country
This is where we belong.    

This poem is 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: Monica Jasmine Karo at the Opening Night, YIRRAMBOI Festival 2019. Photo by Tiffany Garvie.