'From the outside' by Jim Everett-puralia meenamatta | States of Poetry Tasmania - Series Two

2016

Okay, I’m from the outside
You know this place that I’m at
The whitefella’s think-society
This outside place that got lost
A think-society claiming it made us
With their blood, their bible and law
So I think it’s just like the inside
To make us like them is the core
Some rules are okay for everyone
Other rules are ‘just-if-I’ crimes
But that’s just another white privilege
And we get nothing but time
As I say, I’m from the outside
In a family home where you belong
Your place is out with us Brother
We need you to be strong
There’s a struggle goin’ on out here
And there’s plenty for you to do
Yeah man, I’m from the outside
And it ain’t so good out here
We still got a hard-road struggle
And families to build and to grow
We can see it’s not good inside man
You shouldn’t be there at all
While you’re away we are too
A big gaol in the outside world
Like a lock-away from the lock-up place
We survive and move on as we do
Our place will be a safe place to share
A belonging place of spirit and law
For we are Original on Country
And it’s up to us to reclaim our home
So we need you to come back here now
Take a role and give us your Black
Yes Brother I’m from the outside
Your place too, when you come back.

Jim Everett-puralia meenamatta


I wrote this as Indigenous Writer in Residence in Wollongong NSW. The South Coast Writers Centre host writers in residence program, and have a program at work in the Junee Correctional Centre, working with Aboriginal men in jail. The program is titled ‘Black Wallabies’, and it publishes the inmate’s writings, warts and all, in Dreaming Inside Anthologies. I was asked to write a poem for its fifth publication.