A Breaking Open of the Belly

Photo (c) Rana Bose

Photo (c) Rana Bose


We are still here Aimé, us the
niggers of the north
An otherness-nothingness imprisoned in our minds
by our colour


I have heard
of white writers who claim to be bush niggers
they live outside the high prison
They are loved there
I have heard


and in here, they complain about the smell


We are still wretched Franz
red is our colour the revolution that was promised
has been broken over our shoulders
despised like heathen refugees
this country does not love us
It loves its idea of us
it gawks
it quakes
With its fuckin TV cameras
it rolls over us with its Hollywood
like scab ravaged lepers
they can’t stand the smell
us, the scum of the earth, our knees
and hands digging into the earth
and the priest scum on our brown asses


There was a blue butterfly
that landed on my finger
That told me the history of our mountains long past
how he had escaped the jaws of a wasp
You say I am only part butterfly and part
gravel scratcher
All shudder
a woman’s life is not worth very much
here Róża
They are not the colour of the
blue Madonna but the brown one


The dirt road does not die here
they are drowning us in the rivers
we, the grave diggers


I have an idea about you
You are the new Jerusalem and the
old testimony
of a god that died and lived again, returning
from death with nothing
of the sacred  earth in his hands
and the only thing that can fill the holes in his hands are coins
not sacred earth
Not so sacred is it?


We adore our drunken poets that eat lilacs
and vomit out eulogies to us, the damned
Our darling girls contorted on the sidewalks
like praying mantis
The government hates them for
not paying taxes on the heads they eat
The politicians will tell us that it is public morality
headless, heartless shits


This new Jerusalem will have a wall, an idea
about me, a wall built with a tongue wagging
and ideology about reason and peace and yet knowing nothing about them
or me, but prayers to a god that can read, written on paper wrapped around a Brimstone missile sent flying to brown and black people
They will understand god has chosen Rome to speak for him,
they will understand limbs torn off
they will understand the voice of god
they will understand the misery of god
they will understand markets


Coil the rising around me, coil your habitual raving madness
coil around me the quenching of your thirsting
A heartbeat stretched over my broken ear
Come with me in the crippled dawn, the sunlight will twist our shadows
and muzzle the darkness
Let me show you what has been destroyed in me
The wounds it has left
the bones it has broken
the beatings I have taken
till I awoke, exhausted
digging up words from the darkness
till my hands were bleeding


Here I am, your mongrel moon
your mutt of midnight
your dangerous memories
your rising nigger


Come with me now
this blessing is short
and we must hurry
till I must return to the beast that first
brought me to you


that cut the soul from the spirit
from the body from the spirit of the earth
What a sharp tongue you have grandmother
splitting and spitting up this fine Indian country


The nuns French kissed me and bit off
my tongue
Now with the land, on my side, my tongue
grows back
and I challenge them to do it again


What you think is dead is not dead
what you think is empty is not empty


Can you hear it
like a rat singing in that garbage heap
called Golgotha
they find our bodies in the river
pull them out and say it’s just Indians
put them there with the rest
and every body pulled out is a failure
of a just society because… because
we were just Indians



David Groulx was raised in Ontario. He is proud of his Aboriginal roots, Anishnabe and French Canadian. He has published 11 books of poetry. His poetry has appeared in over 180 magazines in 15 countries.