blackmail press 31  Marginalization
Jewel Vercoe Rainbow
New Zealand

Marginalization - Pauline Canlas Wu
Jewel Vercoe Rainbow is a New Zealand-born poet and photographer who has lived in Australia for almost three decades. She is now based in a rural area west of Cairns, and is researching theories of landscape, including indigenous concepts of country.


A flash of torchlight through the window pierces the tropical night
A neighbour’s voice outside stage-whispers to his nearby wife:
“That’s disgusting,” he spits, staunching the light in his fist as I wake you.
Some say we’re strange bedfellows, you and me,
Your rainforest darkness dancing on my moonlight skin
They can’t fathom the feeling between us
“What does she see in him?”
Their love is blind to any colour but white
Their love is a whiter shade of pale comparison
To the depth and complexion of our affection
They think you are no good, less than human
But I know you could never be less than they are
Because you are so much more
Than those rednecks next door
They’re only here to take what they find
Raping your land with their mines
They’re just there for the money, honey, and the good times
They give nothing back to country
But their small-minded hate
For them it’s too late
For they will never change,
Yet they think we’re strange.

POETIC INJUSTICE (Poem for Palm Island)

Now Aboriginal mothers warn their sons:
You be careful, use your head
Don’t talk back to The Bullyman or you’ll wind up dead
On the floor of a police cell like that one up north.
And don’t get drunk and walk around town or they might lock you up
Because sometimes bad things happen to blackfellas
When no-one is watching for a few seconds or more
Then the full weight of the law could be brought to bear
On your spine or vital organs, accidently of course,
But by then it’ll be too late for talk about a treaty
Or indigenous rights to save you (from their hate)
When you’re yelling yourself hoarse calling for help and no-one comes
As you’re bleeding to death on that cold cell floor,
All the white man’s justice will do for you then, of course
Is get his good ol’ mates to investigate
And hold a kangaroo court where an all-white jury
Will be guaranteed to let The Bullyman go free,
Even though he’ll never get rid of the Shame
And the stain of your name, and your blood
On his neat pressed uniform and his clean service record
Like the Police Union, with their blue armbands and their public stands
For their unrighteous cause, for their self-sanctioned war
He and his mates who investigate, they think they’re above the law
But way down deep, where the sun don’t shine,
Even in the Sunshine State, all they feel is fear and hate, not remorse
Because they’re The Heat on The Street so they have to act tough
And, of course, they’ve had more than enough of all you blacks
With the cheek to get drunk before lunch and swear on the street
And throw a back-handed punch at a big boss bullyman
For locking you up over nothing a whitefella would get done for:
Wandering home alone, singing, shouting, merry or stoned,
After having fun fishing or crabbing on that tropical island in the sun
Where troublesome blacks have long been sent
To get them off the streets of the Far North and the Top End.
Doomadgee, your name will live large in history
And your unjust death will always be much more than just
Another everyday misportrayed martyr to the cause: