Riots in my mind

Wherefore art thou, the Catholic Church in Redfern if it ignores the presence of ‘the other’? "Love one another as I have loved you" — the practice of Jesus. If the ‘Catholic Church’ in Redfern ignores the lives of the people in ‘the Block’ in Redfern, then who is it trying to reach? The comfortable? The alms-giver? Can we recognise the faces around us? Who really is ‘the other’?

Flares command the air,
stones rain, revolt reigns:
one against ‘the other’ –
always ‘the other’
seen to live in rat-infested hovels
which institutions want to hide,
that proverbial ‘gem’ in the gentrifying crown
that can’t be effaced
by the ‘black armed band’ gang.

‘Assimilation’ does not make
‘the other’ disappear;
‘Integration’ does not wipe out a culture,
so violence is rife, they say,
but what of violence against
the right to say ‘I am’! ‘We are!’
Not ‘the other’ creature
of some frozen imagining
that wants a new beginning
at their price.

The land speaks: look beyond,
look within and see outside the city fringes
where customs flourish,
the harvest of fish, wildlife,
and dreams painted on life’s canvas
unmeasured by ‘another’
with currency of development and growth,
yet this culture survives
seemingly against all odds.

Nature speaks
with language we cannot hear
but when flares command the air
and stones rain, and revolt reigns,
we pause and think:

who really is ‘the other?’

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