“Am I allowed to say your name?”
I’ve been thinking a lot about time travel (about you)
How sounds and scents and sirens take you elsewhere
How the lemon gum oil I keep in my room takes me to the driveway back home
How we used to suck on rocks because it tasted like the smell of rain on hot ground
How sometimes I don’t have words for a memory
How sometimes I don’t want to be here at all
I’m not yet in a place where I’m thankful for how hard things are - are you?
“God is Change”
Words by Octavia E. Butler that I see stick-and-poked onto the skin of another writer I look up to
I didn’t grow up with a God I didn’t grow up with you
am I allowed to say your name?
I didn’t grow up with a God but I would still pray
I’d kneel on the floor, small brown girl messy hair, put my hands together and say your name
I’d pretend I was Lilo in the movie and it was easier to say
It’s me again, I need someone who won’t run away
I’d pray for you to be brought back from the dead
Thought it made sense to take me instead
In school we’re told to fill out forms with boxes that never feel big enough
Next to religion I write: I’m Aboriginal
It doesn’t need to make sense to you
I didn’t grow up with a God but I talk up to my ancestors.
Is mum happy? Please. Am I going to get better? Please
Can I find a parking spot right out front so I'm not even later to my appointment than I already am?
Know that I am trying to move with ease
Burg: Spirit, soul, that which leaves the body at death
I used to think your burg lived partly in the family dog
I would lie with her under furniture while it stormed
I wondered if she missed you too
The day she died I felt like you were all over again
I sat in the bath crying, wondering how long it would take for me to fill it
I’m Alice in the movie
Now I’m older I know you’ve stayed alive in all things
In the cowhide you made that lies on my bedroom floor
You made it with your hands and I stare at mine sometimes
To remind myself that I am thankful for my body even though I hate it
To remember that i’m made up of more than grief
That I am my own and yours to keep
Alice Skye is a Wergaia and Wemba Wemba singer/songwriter living in Naarm (Melbourne, Australia). Since her first album, critically acclaimed Friends with Feelings she has signed with Bad Apples, the Indigenous-driven label that celebrates and prioritises’ blak excellence. Alice’s album I Feel Better but I Don’t Feel Good was produced by local artist Jen Cloher and released in July 2021.