Amelia Walker

Poems of Amelia Walker

Gone. Now. Still.
Written on Kaurna Yarta, the lands of the Kaurna people, where I was born and live as a non-indigenous person ignorant of so very much.

I was born here, decades gone now,
still I have no way of saying where — no words
for this red glory I call dirt.

But that’s not one, not any
of the names to which it answers.
Soundless, the mouths of my feet seal over
like they were never
there — here

           they never were — whoever heard
           of feet with mouths?)

Unable to converse, they can’t connect.
My legs can’t walk, can’t stand — I float
away, a ghost

hovering over this more-than-dirt,
feet drawing blood with each lurch.

I do not know
why the lark hushes,
why the emu peers at me that way.
I cannot hear, let alone sing
their songs, so loud.

Only years of learning have brought me
at last, to question my stupidity.

Decades gone now,
I was born here (where?)

still I have no way.

Honey Without Bees
Inspiration for this poem was drawn from and 

There are things in this world so beautiful they burn 
as the sun burns, and love and hate too. 

Beatriz de Bobadilla y Ossorio was Countess of La Gomera.
In 1492, Columbus docked and went to her, wanting supplies.
She gave what was asked. Then, she gave more:
an unknown kind of spice made of crystals, 
glittering like diamonds. 
She lit his tongue with it: sugar. 
Then, he wanted more.
His empire wanted
and took. 

Over coming years, thousands were uprooted
from their homes, shipped to plantations,
where they learned how sugar rots 
and sickens. Even before the first taste, 
there is always something bitter in every sweet.
Derived from the Sanskrit sharkara,
the word echoes memories of gravel, grit.
And aren’t diamonds, too, in the end just a dust
for which some kill?
There are things in this world so burning
we call them beautiful. 

Now I am become…
Written after learning about bacteria in the ocean that piece microplastics back together, forming large and dangerous plastic pieces: 
organic (adj.): Etymology: from Greek organikos: “of or pertaining to an organ, serving as instruments or engines”, from organon “instrument”’ (from the Online Etymological Dictionary). Some current usages: (1) ‘noting or pertaining to a class of chemical compounds that formerly comprised only those existing in or derived from plants or animals, but that now includes all other compounds of carbon’; (2) ‘characteristic of, pertaining to, or derived from living organisms’; (3) ‘developing in a manner analogous to the natural growth and evolution characteristic of living organisms; arising as a natural outgrowth’; (4) ‘characterized by the systematic arrangement of parts; organized; systematic’ (from
Plastics are organic, like petrol, coal, uranium—of the earth—leeched blood of stone. Plasma. Pulsing. Flow- ing in-Flux. This is plasticity: what it means to be plastic: always shifting, re-shaping, transitory and trans/forming. Nothing is created or destroyed, only changed, physicists say (I recall Oppenheimer recalling his bomb eyes burning He quoted the Bhavagad Gita: Now I am become death…) Mushrooms are organic, their spores organic, like bacteria, like us. We are organisms systems organised and dis-organised perpetually re-forming. We are plastic: changing, growing new skins as we shed old. We come from stars, become dust and as dust keep becoming. Plastics do this too: peel, shred, spread in scattered fragments, borne by air and waterways, tiny as breeze-blown spores that settle and spring fast into fungal bloom. In our oceans live bacteria —organic bacteria, microscopic organisms perhaps not unlike what we were when our stars changed and fell. Like us, these bacteria are builders and programmers: they take it on themselves to reorganise, create sense from chaos, recognise patterns in our plastic castings, begin puzzling new structures from deconstructed parts. Do they fathom the havoc wreaked? They are so plastic, like us, so organic. Coal Lake Regarding ash dams: large dams filled with dust from coal mining
Most ash dams are hidden behind large fences within power stations, and I would say most people in Australia have never seen one. When you do they're very, very stark." —Paul Winn, environmentalist, quoted in Ben Millington’s ABC News Article, 11 March 2019
Though we won’t look at it, still it stares at us, a blackened eye, soulless window into permanent night, a wound, an ulcer, necrotic, a storming cloud, set to break as windows break and mirrors too when we tumble through and falling, face at last that eye, staring sharp as cracks in a reflection reminding what remains when skin is gone, that eye so frightened, so cruel, that eye so undeniably our own. Becoming Bicycle It’s a small movement. Yet it’s huge. A swing of the leg, shifting my weight. Settling. Feet on pedals. Bars in hand. Arse on seat and helmet strapped tight around my head like a crinkling tortoise or green walnut boldly soft within its shell. Through this movement, in this moment, I become something other, somehow slip standard time. To get places on a bicycle takes longer, but to me it saves time because I’m pressed deep in every sensation. Wind. Rain. Heat. Cold. Tightness in my chest as my lungs gulp air. Screaming in my legs at uphills that don’t quit. In cars I too quickly forget my body. Everything becomes radio and autopilot. Red light. Stop. Go. Arrive. Like the journey never happened at all. On my bike I see things I’d otherwise speed past. I’m aware of people moving around me, aware they are people, not just other cars, not just traffic. The difference is that of avatars versus cyborgs. A car is armor, a tank, a shell. All it protects, all it transports, it swallows, devours, like a cypher erasing its own meaning. Is that why aggression comes so fast to some drivers? A bike doesn’t screen the body, rather extends it. To cycle is to become a style of machine, a technology that reminds us how animal we are. Human machines are animal inventions after all. Nests, hives and river dams are inventions too. Trees as machines networked by fungi are more complex than anything we’ve ever designed. Becoming bike is not the same as what trees do, but nor is it fully removed. To move is to breathe is to remember connections. To bike is to cycle is to remember again, again. And to remember is always again to sense membership, to realise what matters anew. A small movement, yet so huge.
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