Type
Poetry
Category
Poetry

Graphology restoration 17: name rename name ... term

No claim in the name ‘Jam Tree Gully’ —
rather, a personal and familial association
of presence which is neither assertion

nor acquiescence. There are jam trees.
There is a gully. No names displayed
on gates. Just prior to this configuration,

or approximating, it was named ‘Sleepy Hollow’
by a horse person, a name which could not work for us —
distant literary associations aside (the irony), it was

too abstract, though there is a hollow
in the valleyside, true. But then again,
the name on the gate as we arrived

was hung with animal skulls
as well. Removed immediately. I checked
with Marion Kickett about the boundaries here —

this still-Ballardong boodja close to edges
of Yued and Whadjuk boodjas — and we ‘name’,
or maybe more accurately, ‘term’ our occupation

as ‘Jam Tree Gully’ only to answer for this family’s
presence, not to name over the name, not to delete
true names and the language of here deep in here,

not to rename, not to close off to the names
the valley’s linguistics have worked
with branching and layered consultation.

‘Jam Tree Gully’ doesn’t refer to a house,
doesn’t refer to ways of naming, as ‘jam tree’
is only a rough approximation

of ‘mungart’, not a renaming,
not an alternative name,
not a system of classification.

 

 

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John Kinsella's most recent books are Displaced: a rural memoir (Transit Lounge, 2020), the novel Hollow Earth(Transit Lounge, 2019) and the poetry volume Open Door (University of Western Australia Press, 2018). He is an anarchist vegan pacifist who lives with his family on Ballardong Noongar country at Jam Tree Gully.

is the author of over thirty books. His many awards include the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry, the Victorian Premier’s Award for Poetry, the John Bray Award for Poetry and the WA Premier’s Award for Poetry (three times). His latest work is a collection co-authored with Charmaine Papertalk Green, False Claims of Colonial Thieves.

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