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Billy Marshall Stoneking, U.S.A Bio:
Billy Marshall Stoneking is a poet, playwright, filmmaker and critic. He is the author of seven books and currently lecturing in screenwriting at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School in Sydney, Australia.

On Bring in the Pintupi
(after Nosepeg Tjurpurrula)

Whitepella bin go n round
for nothin
night n day

bring em here /
old people punished!
very bad trip

flour, clothes, sugar
eat em long -
kell em tinna corn beef

tinna fruit /
first time
they bin eat em flour

good people in bush country
bloody whitepella bin go n
bring em

spoil em mob properly

kill em  all the way from the bush

No Love from Papunya

Someone loves Alice
she writes on the walls,
on the sides of sheds: "one boy, only him",
in white paint that drips and runs.

Two sisters, promised
to old men, giggle behind their hands;
as the words dry,
laugh themselves to tears.

At the school, boys have drawn
phallic shapes on all the doors,
propped up with giant balls
at initiation time.

The new teachers furnish classrooms
with alphabet and number games /
A - C - D - C / Alice is prolific;
lifts her dress behind the hospital.

Two girls into old men goes once.

Assimilation / Westrn desert/ 1962-1974


On the first night
all the people buried their tins of meat;
it was the wrong colour - it'd been dead
too long.

On the second night
- more tins.  A few crazy people
swallowed the meat. They were hungry,
and the white fella smiled.

Third night
the crazy people wre still alive
so everyone started lining up
for meat - a single file.

Fourth night
a white fella showed all those ladies
and men the key
on the bottom of the tin.

On the fifth night
all the people were opening their own.

On the sixth night
Titus took Matthew's meat
by accident - and had his head
split open in a fight.


Tjakamarra says:
                    "Before camp pie and shoes,
before motor car and Jesus,
before missionary and baby money,
before mining company and police,
before rifle and English,
before guitar,
before card games,
before the Queen,
before pens, pencils and comic books,
before movies and rock and roll,
before blankets, before grog,
cigarettes, pills, bandages, baked beans,
telephones, chicken and soap;
before doors and scissors,
crowbars and tooth doctors...

we ate kumpurarrpa berries and kangaroo,
bush turkey, taakurtutu, witchetty grub and yiparlu.
Yipilypa! Happy! Never yawning before the hunt,
we dug cooking holes in the sand,
          sitting back on our heels
while our spirits stood straight up in our bodies.

Now, all our names are written down in books,
and flour keeps the people, and tea and sugar
keep the people,  and

everyone is living close to clothes."


This boy learned how to read
This boy learned how to write
This girl learned how to add
This person learned how to speak
This child learned how to count
This boy says ABC's up to Q
This child eats pencils - no breakfast
This girl says "yessir" / says "no sir"
This one lost her book
This boy is 75%
This child erases

These people have a word for this,
                    one word;
translated it means:
                    "Oh me! How my spirit grows short!"

Tjungurrayi's Werd Book

fil in the blanks:          
          Run --------- me
          Sit --------- me
You live in
Stand ---------- and
Hand ----------- and
and ----------                    
Tools are kept in this ---------
The tooth is
The flag blows
                                        in the pram
We will play
                    need & seek
a tray of
a roof
a word that means begin --------
More than one bone ----------
More than one stone ----------
More than one note ----------

I have ten cents          
                    to cry

Sorry Business

(A B C D E F G )

He was attacked with a shovel spear.
They had been drinking.

(Answer yes or No)

Hot day.
Everyone had been swimming.

(Complete the sequence: 8, 10, 11, 13,...)

The card game collapsed.
The wound packed with ash.

(One out of twenty)

The woman struck their heads with billy cans.

(Good Girl!)

Blood trickled onto print dresses.
Willie Tjungurrayi is dead.

In the school, behind the fence,
the staff discusses
the problem of attendance.


Sweat rolls down between her speech
as baby fumbles in the sand.
Her nulla - nulla swings
and tears the air.
That woman's daughter
"who got my son a broken neck,"
she says,
"that ones gonna pay
and her aunties..."
          Someone swats the flies away
from baby's face. And a man
carrying four spears
watches and waits.
And that one - "maggot vagina" -
that one's gonna pay
for that broken neck in Alice Springs jail.
everybody's gonna pay.
It happens so quickly - -
the digging stick, a scream &
blood everywhere.
Yelling and shouting.
a policeman opens the back of the van
& hands baby into the cage.


riley died last night
without campfire
without family
without wind or the sand
without a dollar in the bank
without two good kidneys
without a hand in his hand

from too much medicine
from too much pain

not because he was poor
not because he was black
not because he was misunderstood

no, not because of any of these, no
most assuredly not, no
of course not,
not at all,
not at all.

Opening night / Canberra / 1974
(after Billy Stockman)

Sun on hand disappears
Eagle in stomach flies away.
Bush tucker, might be.
Dry river, somewhere.
Can't know this country.
No singing here.
No breasts, no body paint.
Proper whitefella way.
Flying ants.
Forget about dance.
Campfire nothing.
Long way, my camp.
Can't know this game.
Lights too bright.
Woman hunting lipstick,
& painting.
Penises unoffered.
No shame.

All works Copyright Billy Marshall Stoneking