back toJacket2

Jacket 1 — October 1997   |   # 1  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |

Lionel Fogarty

Three Poems

Lionel Fogarty has been acclaimed as a strong and authentic voice emerging from a radical new generation of Australian Aboriginal writers. Deliberately using the creole language of the Murri Aboriginal people in preference to standard English, Fogarty's poems are gauntlets thrown down in front of the white reader, and powerful litanies for his own people.


Remember Something Like This

Long ago a brown alighted story was told
As a boy, looked up on the hall walls
water flowed to his eyes
for Starlight was carrying snake in his shirt
gut belly
and around the fires a tall man
frightened the mobs that black eyes promised
that night at giant tree, way up
bushes crept in the ant hill
was the wild blackfella
from up north, they said.
Soldier cained him down at the waterhole
but as they bent to dip, sip
behind their backs, old man Waterflow
flew clear, magic
undoing the shackles, without keys
or sounds of saw
saw ... nah ... you didn't saw him.
He's old Waterflow, even I'm too young
to remember everything.
Yet clever than pictures them show off

boonah: peace maker

making fun of old Boonah
sitting outside waiting for dreaming
to come to reality.
After that somebody broke into the store.
Oh, the police were everywhere
at every door, roof, in laws
Where's this and that, you know.
So they find out where him came from
by looking at the tracks.
He's headed for the caves
just near the Milky Way.
Happy in strength, we took off
but the hills hid this tribal

bull-roarer: a flat piece of wood, a few inches to a foot in length, fastened at one end to a string. When swung around in the air, it sets up sound waves, thus producing a whirring or howling sound likened to those of animals or spirits.

bull-roaring feather foot
under Jimmy's Scrub
place up deep
where you have to leave smoke
if you want to hunt there
If you don't, you'll get slewed ...
On earth our people are happy
but we couldn't find that food.
Musta been up the Reservoir
or expecting a life to run over near Yellow Bar cave
But we bin told, one man got badly porcupine.
Bring him home and not supposed to.
So him get sick, all life time
like green bands touch Murri legs
that's why you don't swim too late
at this creek created.
A spoiled boy one afternoon, went repeating
the bell bird singing.
And he went and went
and sent to Green Swamp, back of the grid.
Then as eels were caught
Aunties sang out, this the biggest
I've ever seen.
Come boys get more wood, we'll stay
here all night.
So sat waiting, a bit dark, tired light
the lines pulling in slowly
for fish seem to be in message
but two-headed creature appeared
legs chucked back
fires went out
the fish swarm back
we raced home.
All cold that night, back of the bend
and rocks.
you can see
this middle age woman, long black hair
walk past our Nanna Rosie's place
up to the graveyards
but she flows

corroboree: large tribal gathering featuring singing and dancing, often of religious significance

Just near the bunya tree
and many a moons came shone in our minds
watching Dimmydum and Kingy doing corroboree
on stage
in front of the children.
A light story past thru windows
on to you all
never forget
remember more ...

No Grudge

koories: Australian Aborigines

murri: the tribal grouping of Aboriginal people with whom the writer is affiliated

yubba: baby brother

Let's radio opinions, koorie side effects in death
Commercial educationalists to draw
intwined listeners is what brother about.
Craze sensationalism they scraped
him individual
respective broadcasting.
The overstressed question was impartial
but we demand out radio persuasive
black free editors.
The reason advertising is koori airing
Sponsoring bulletins
informing is what this murri news attracts 'bout.
Don't bias, buy blocked broadcast
on susceptibility, around this murri
for capable brothers and sisters
combining a wave vital vital
to benefit all societies.
Yet we the penniless millionaires
imagine views saving
for time, income wanna infuses
discontent over rich people.
Our educationalist is the yubba
on the koori radio.
Nudge nudge human new one up-man-ship
run by himself.
But community be at each others throats
but we should consider advocating
a hurray wireless playing.
Blackfella media, not political
foot-balling loud-mouth, perturbed.
A happy-go-lucky re-echoing broadcaster
is one tribalism sparkling radio
disk-jockey we seem to criticise
100 psychological conditioning.
Let the yubba mass translate
a mouth communicating
Suppression, hot reply.

Frisky Poem and Risky

Regarding respects I'm fully
purchased within my own
Please give my regards to our
God down and above
I would also like more spirits
so the list can be send
Before receiving your hearing
I had to write to a conference
Sincerely I'm yours against
all evil co-ordinators
I decided from myself stems
a meaning and a creation
The prices I payed in every
eye ear and tongue will
wish they gave the correct addresses
My project have been pulsed
by blacks, and repriced
rejected too personally politically
This document I place, will be
the birth shown
A division by me is true
of knowledge in poetry
I've got history information
My date rave into sane real
I am amended then lended
Are you prepared for the
Nee Nee who died
I anticipated my pissed mind
I wish to withdraw all
my poems from the
building and put in the
open spaces.
As for gardens of me growing
out to another country
I may do honestly
My heart ain't pure love
My brain ain't poison daze

Ngunda: messenger of God

Ngunda Bimiai spoke the message.
All I did was draw this.
All I did was pass on
But one thing they gave me
is my own selfing self.

Read Philip Mead's interview with Lionel Fogarty in this issue of Jacket.

Lionel Fogarty's New & Selected Poems (ISBN 1 875657 18 5) is published by Hyland House, 387 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne VIC 3205, Australia

You can order it from the Australian bookstore Gleebooks in sunny Sydney — on the Internet or by email or phone (+612) 9660 2333 . . . fax (+612) 9660 3597

Jacket 1 — October 1997  Contents page
Select other issues of the magazine from the | Jacket catalog | read about Jacket |
Other links: | top | homepage | bookstores | literary links | internet design |
Copyright Notice: Please respect the fact that this material is copyright. It is made available here without charge for personal use only. It may not be stored, displayed, published, reproduced, or used for any other purpose

This material is copyright © Lionel Fogarty and Jacket magazine 1997
The URL address of this page is