To be a landscape

 

There in the distance,
The church spire stands
And judges my predilection
For strange, unholy deportment.

My faith wavers in waters
Not qualified by consecration
But by cruel causes and deeds
Of men that spout hatred.

Don’t they know that I come
With humility and gratitude,
With ferocious determination
To make a profound difference?

Just like the scorching deserts
Of Broken Hill and the rainforests
Of Tasmania, and the majesty
And gleam of the Great Barrier Reef,

And the ominous depths
Of the mines in Caboolture,
And the overwhelming mystery
Of Uluru and the wild outback,

My body—my eyes, my feet,
My nose, my hair, my very life—
Is a landscape of many directions,
Of history-laden time and spaces,

Of structures you can mine,
Of depths you can swim in,
Of wonders you can get lost in,
Of fires you can get burnt by.

But don’t let the governments know,
Don’t let the fascists get their way,
Don’t let the reclaimers preside.
My occupation is a negligible cause.

I only inhabit tiny landscapes
And I am a mere grain of sand
That blights your eye in the wild wind,
In storms that uneventfully pass and go.

I cannot swim, so I could not
Have come by boat, begging for mercy.
I do not drive, so I could not
Have come by force, mowing your land.

I do not seek asylum anywhere
But in your minds and gentle hearts.
I do not long for refuge anywhere
But in your welcoming arms.

I have drunk the golden sun
That blankets your shores
And have inhaled the shadows
Of your breaths and pink faces.

I am a migrante, a wanderer, no less,
In your urbane culture and means.
I deal with only grace in my heart,
With scriptures from the soul of man.

Ramon Loyola

Author: Ramon Loyola

Ramon Loyola is a Sydney-based Filipino-Australian writer and lawyer. He is the author of poetry books, Not Poems, Just Words (2014), I Look For You In Other Truths (2014) and The Heaving Pavement (2015), and a short story chapbook, Words That Don’t Mean Anything (2015). His writing has appeared in various publications, including Australian Latino Press, Paper Lens, HIV Here & Now Project, VerseWrights, and Bluepepper. He has forthcoming works in PostMistress Press Anthology’s Escape Artists and Verity La, among others. Ramon is currently co-editor of Verity La’s Discoursing Diaspora project.

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