‘CONTRAST II’- Skye Loneragan

Skye Loneragan, Q-POETICS, Glasgow, 2014. photographer Stewart Ennis
ABC News filming Skye Loneragan engaged in Q-POETICS at Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games, 2014. photographer: Stewart Ennis [1]
[1] Although cameras were involved in the engagement in this instance, “documentation is gentle, done from afar or it affects the connection made,” Skye Loneragan

Skye Loneragan has “worked in a range of artist residences or devised public art engagement strategies, all of which hinge on the arousal of curiosity”

Curiosity as currency:
“most of my work begins with a question
which becomes a quest
I believe in curiosity as a kind of currency-
both in terms of value and exchange”
-Skye Loneragan

CONTRAST II: Spoken word poet, Skye Loneragan. Film-maker: Tony Walters, Fairfax Media, Sydney.


twin poems questioning
‘Where the grass is greener
Wherever it is lit by the sun’

The grass is moist from our sweaty dew-crushing dance
Flattened by our joy-seeking, rhythm filled stance
And I spy an Aboriginal man mounting the podium
Mounting the stage between him and ‘them’
And an’ Us and Them – that white man with mike
Poised on a platform which is brighter
When it is raised to be seen

But he’s keen
To make his mark
Grabbing that mike
Swelling on an amplified order
To “move back! Every single one of you, white fella,
Move back! I am First Peoples, this is Arnhem land
Move back”– an exasperated hand
He raises his arm in exponential anger
Beer and sorrow make his strong muscle slow
“Mooooovbbb aaaaa ccccckkkk!”

And the crowd does, recede into its belly,
Till the band behind him presses a button
And we see his slurred words drowning
silenced by a growing song
and someone in power
switching his mike
to OFF

Mooooovbbb aaaaa ccccckkkk

The throng is torn
Between his sentiment
(give back my dignity-my-family-my-land)
and its accusation
(you are to blame you-can’t-ever-make-it-right)
tottering, inert, eyeing the dirt

Drug-addled coward
We’ve become
This multi-cultural crowd
Looking up at injustice
Doing nothing
(so few legs to stand on
If his soggy pain found his fist
which found the crowd’s face
and bloodied this place)

And this bloodied place
is the taut guilt in our held breath
A futile shame,
our limp bent head
mutters an uncertain name
sorry-proud of who we are
If only we knew who we are
If only we knew
Knew we only
Only ‘we’

Him included, him and the stage
And this perpetual racial page
That rips us in two
Before we’ve begun to write
Spinning every festive dance
Into a fight

An insecurity guard steps a lot closer
The man is staring out at what he’s lost
mouthing something we can’t hear
he turns, trips on his faith
drops into the margins,
while the lead singer returns from a side-line
And the First Person stumbles back
Into the crowd
And a cousin’s scolding hug

The act begins
The act begins

A voice
That of the white man on the bill
“Everyone to please, come forward”
and the crowd rushes back in
gushing with relief
“Come forward, please, come forward”
But what he doesn’t say is

To be counted

-Skye Loneragan

‘CONTRAST II’ is part of a twin set questioning how the grass is actually greener when it is lit by the sun, and ideas of contrast. The two poems were part of Skye’s Q-POETICS (poetry in queues) project at the Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, 2014 and are concerned with the contrast that will continue to exist without “a common wealth.” The poems were inspired by Skye’s participation in AWAL (Artist Wants a Life) and the Wide Open Spaces Festival, outside of Alice Springs. Skye has performed ‘Contrast I’ and ‘Contrast II’ at various festivals and poetry nights, including Aye Write, The Mental Health and Arts Festival, The Tron Theatre, Sweet Talkers, (with Sarah & Phil Kaye), WordTravels, (Spoken Four, supporting Kate Tempest and Anis Mojgani), Seeds of Thought, CCA Glasgow, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Listen to ‘CONTRAST I’ by Skye Loneragan

More about Q-POETICS

Skye Loneragan is creator of the ongoing project, Q-POETICS which installs the poet and poetry in places and spaces of waiting, working with WordTravels and the Sydney Writers’ Festival 2013 and then the 2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow, supported by Creative Scotland’s Cultural Programme. Her residency work in includes the ongoing public engagement project, Making a Map of My Mistakes, inviting people in places and spaces of waiting to transform the mistakes offered up (macro-photographic mistakes) into what they’d like to see. Skye was also the Artistic Director of Toonspeak Young People’s Theatre in Glasgow, directing large-scale, site specific work.
Her theatre works include six solo shows, her first (Cracked) winning an Edinburgh Fringe First and adapted for radio with ABC Radio National, and Mish Gorecki Goes Missing. Skye has been published in Buying into The Property Market (GRIST Anthology, UK), The Grin of Our Choices, (Abridged Magazine, UK) and Award Winning Australian Writing (Melbourne Books, 2012). Skye was online featured poet with the Sydney Morning Herald online app & Sydney Poetry Prize winner, 2012.

Skye’s residency as a Café Poet: The “residency was self-arranged (approved by Australian Poetry [and] Paul Kooperman), through meeting the wonderful owner of Ampersand Cafe & Bookstore, Katherine. Seriously, she is a rare creature who supports arts and creativity and its couplings with non-arts/business. It was from 2011-2012, at Paddington, Sydney, then [at the] newly opened cafe in Surry Hills, Sydney.” -Skye Loneragan.

More about Skye and her work

Featured Writers Part 2: Past Australian Café Poets- Curated by Zalehah Turner
Read about the Australian Poetry Café Poet Program (2009-2014)

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Reviewhttps://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor

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