Freeman of the Embassy

By | 1 February 2019

Has anyone heard of Jimmy Clements?
I did as I drank coffee from a chipped mug
Aunty sitting in a broken office chair
Her feet splayed on the dusty ground
The fire is low but the heat
Mirrors the fervour in her eyes.

In the parliamentary triangle
A fire burns
Hegemonic history says since 1972
But I heard another tale
And I watched as the proof
was scattered, charred and lost.

Burnt, crumpled photos
and yellowing newspapers
swept away in the same
inexorable wind
that tried to scatter the people
but could not.

Has anyone heard of Jimmy Clements?
I did as I gathered twigs for the fire
Surrounded by tributaries
Of concrete and metal
An ancient undertaking
In a modern world.

In 1927 parliament house was opened
The duke and duchess of York attended
Their finery and pomp
A cavalcade of wealth
Met a barefoot man
And his loyal dogs.

Has anyone heard of Jimmy Clements?
The Duke did when he met him
Acknowledging Jimmy’s sovereignty
Of the stolen land they stood upon
A sideshow to the ceremony
But no less weighty for all that.

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