Last Walls is a partnership between Thiscene Media and If Walls Could Talk. Every week, organizer Melizarani T. Selva gives us one of her favorite poems from the last If Walls Could Talk and we put it up on the site.

This poem was performed at IF WALLS COULD TALK vol. 32 feat Fazleena & The Lasykar, on Thursday, April 27, 2017.

Postcolonial Literature Class

by Allison Jong

 

*Sarawak Ibu Pertiwiku plays*

 

Sarawak Ibu Pertiwiku

I came from the land where skins are inked so deep the needles touched our blood.

The sound of the trees are synchronised with the cadence of the people’s heart.

We dance at the feast of our harvest, sweat is forever on the backs of our necks.

 

Sarawak Ibu Pertiwiku

My ancestors went through plunder,

Robbed by blue-eyed beings with empty promises.

They say the colour of our skin is like the colour of dirt.

That’s because this earth was ours first

Just like the way white winter is mirrored on your cheeks.

A looking glass reflecting the desolation bouncing off of my body.

Sir, you are six feet too far from our roots.

 

Sarawak Ibu Pertiwiku

“Wow, your English is so good.”

Your ancestors forced your language down our throats,

Reworked the way our tongues curl, a linguistic massacre.

Beban orang puteh untuk membetolkan orang tak bertamadun.

Now I sound like a colonial voice trapped in a body of a lost islander.

 

Tanah Tumpah Darahku

I often hear people whispering in my ears

Like soft rustling of leaves.

They say, we are the tree people, they say,

Savages, alien to the glitz of Kuala Lumpur,

This city,

This city is suspended on the bones of my state

Made from excavated liquid gold.

 

Question.

What’s the difference between fair-skinned looters?

With puppet politicians who use paper money made from our trees?

Trick question.

Answer is none.

Hear me, my friends, hear me,

The West to Borneo embodies whiteness and lethal invasion,

The West to us now only stretches across the South China Sea.

 

Tanah Tumpah Darahku

Didn’t my blood help water this country too?

My mother’s people were birthed from this soil, yet they call me pendatang

Because my father’s ship blew from the Northern Wind.

My birthplace grew more foreign to me each day.

Despondently, in pursuit of a new land to grow my feet in

I’ve became the tree that broke from bending too much.

 

Tanah Tumpah Darahku

Ku cintai Negaraku

Gunung lautmu biru berkilau

Laut tenang, langit berkelip

Ini Negaraku

Isn’t this my country too?


Writing verse for Allison Jong comes a lot easier than writing bios.

If Walls Could Talk is a live poetry night at Gaslight Cafe, Plaza Damansara, every second Thursday of the month.

X