What is Wrong With the Date?

By | 16 October 2021

Go ask the white historians with their shrunken heads, grumbling
in their dusty cabinets, or the great collective forgetting, go ask them,
spinning in their moral outrage, go lay your hand on Endeavour’s
wormy beams, that brought a freight of pain across the sea, ask
Botany, Plymouth, the sly pestilence of London, where the prisons
brooded, or the stones that built them, ask of them, what made the poor,
the cockies, the shearers, the drovers, the mission kids in their crisp
white pinafores, ask them in their own language gone with their past,
ask for their names, ask for their names, if you would know where it
began, go ask your father’s father’s father who held the rifle and shot
two hundred natives in a day, rub the silver stock of his gun for luck,
interrogate the Union Jack, ask it what the land looked like before it came,
or your local representative, go ask him, hanging by the fingernails
of his voters from the cliff of compromise, then you might understand
the reason, call in to the pundit on his toll free number, he will answer
it live on radio, go ask the bones, if they can be found, unnamed
and unknown, ask the miller, ask the mill, ask the flour they poisoned
them with, ask the boy what his father said, ask the girl what her
mother meant, ask the swastika, the southern cross, did it feel the prick
as it was tattooed to his shoulder, go ask the shoulder, if it will tell,
go ask the embassy how long they will wait, you can cheer for Cathy
but boo for Goodes, if Eureka’s waving, talk to it, ask Macquarie’s
sour bust, go back to 1788, visit 1770, bow to Captain Cook upon
his dais, peer beneath the powdered wigs of Deacon, Mason, Brennan,
Gawdron, Toohey, McHugh and Dawson, go hold Truganini’s hand,
if you can find her, take a census of the Constitution, find out what
the Good Book says, if you want to know why it matters at all,
look for Vincent, look for Oodgeroo, go Intervene in the NT,
we will C U there, bring a dog whistle, bring a dog, go test
the hanging points in cells 1 to 8, if you would know the answer
to your question, blow the dust from the Royal Commission’s
Recommendations, take a statement from the Statement from
the Heart, misname Uluru, call into the empty heads of comfortable
men and certain women, ask them how to close the gap, go to Rio,
go to BHP, go to the Kimberley, walk around, ask the soles of
your feet to ask the dust that once was the Juukan Caves,
ask Coon where’s the cheese, go down to the stadium and ask
Nigger Brown’s ghost, if you really want to understand, ask the
27% that can’t go home, the boomerang that won’t come back,
ask the Stolen what they lost, ask the thieves what they gained,
ask Queen Victoria, ask King George, about the dream of empire,
look for Directions from the stump of a tree, ask ol’ Ned, if it is
better to be free and dead, listen to little Jimmy, chop, chop, chop,
climb aboard the freedom bus, commiserate with British Lord Vesty,
read the Native Title Act, ask Bull and Early who are still alive,
or their cousins who all died young, from too much policeman,
too little hope, stay at the bar at Burketown’s pub, where the publican
sold cut prize booze, round the back where the dogs were chained,
ask Andrew Bolt, he’ll be sure to say, check s18c of the RHA, ask the
open cut earth if it still knows the lines of the song, wear Blackface,
Chris Lilley’s face, if you want to know why, go screen-print black,
gold and red on your shirt, go pay Namatjira’s family what he’s worth,
or sweatshop the dots, sell off the ‘didge, stay for a while in Doomadgee,
sleep it all off in a Palm Island Cell, ask White Australia what it feared,
look for the truth at Myall Creek, ask the right question, open your ears,
ask the Apology what sorry means and then you will know the answer.

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