States of Poetry 2017 - ACT | 'Just leave your mark here' by Kerry Reed-Gilbert

Just leave your mark here

I won’t do you no wrong
I’m a man that you can trust
I’m not like the others
I’m a honourable man

Some people say
there’s no honour among thieves
but let me tell you straight
We, guberment men,
sent by the King we steal their land
by one stroke of the mighty pen.
But don’t tell anybody that.

Not our fault if some settlers kill the native born
with a shotgun placed between their eyes.
Shoot their families dead.
We wipe our hands of the mess we do
and look the other way.

Blinkers we only see what we want
and what we see is a pound or two in the coffers
so leave you mark here cause
when you do I’m gonna be a rich man.

Just leave your mark here because tomorrow
you’ll be dead and dead men got no use for land.

Kerry Reed-Gilbert

Kerry Reed-Gilbert

Kerry Reed-Gilbert

A Wiradjuri woman from Central New South Wales, Kerry Reed-Gilbert has performed and conducted writing workshops nationally and internationally. She was the inaugural Chairperson of the First Nations Australians Writers Network (FNAWN). In 2013 she co-edited a collection of works with the US Mob Writing (UMW) group ‘By Close of Business’, and was co-editor for the Ora Nui journal, a collaborative collection between First Nations Australia writers and Maori writers.

Kerry is a former member of the Aboriginal Studies Press Advisory Committee. Her poetry and prose have been published in many journals and anthologies nationally and internationally, including the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature and Southerly. She is a member of the ACT Us Mob Writing group and First Nations Australia Writers’ Network.

She has edited, published and been published in numerous books and publications, including Talkin’ About Country: Poetry Collection (Kuracca); The Strength of Us as Women: Black Women Speak (ed.; Ginninderra Press); Our Place: Stories about Good Practice in Youth Work with Young Aboriginal People (ed. with Shane Brown; South Sydney Youth Services); Message Stick: Contemporary Aboriginal Writing (ed.; IAD Press); Ngunnunggula (Belonging to Here): Stories and Poems (ed.; FreeXpression); and Black Woman Black Life (Wakefield Press).

In 2006 she received an ‘Outstanding Achievement in Poetry’ award and ‘Poet of Merit’ Award from the International Society of Poets. In 2005 she toured Aotearoa New Zealand as part of the Honouring Words 3rd International Indigenous Authors Celebration Tour. In 2003 she was awarded an International Residence from ATSIAB to attend Art Omi, New York, USA; and in 1997 she toured South Africa performing in ‘ECHOES’ a national tour of the spoken word.

Her work has been translated in French, Korean, Bengali, Dutch, and other languages.

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