The ghettos have graffiti here,
Unlike the plush Colombo 7 restaurants.
The only difference between the citizen
And the illegal, is what time you come out,
And for the illegal alien, it is after twilight.
Here you have the dichotomy,
Those whose lives appreciate in a new land
Buying one’s way to happiness
And the well off in Colombo who talk
About the good old seventies before the war
Erupted, how the clubs were groovy
And the women in miniskirts
Were eye catchers. In this dichotomy
Of ghetto dwellers, you inevitably see
The classes; the well-off back home
Are struck in limbo, neither here nor there,
While the new rich are driving Audis
And watching cricket at the MCG.
Migration is never the same cup of tea.
Some get it sweetened with sugar,
While other drinks the bitter version,
Worrying about the trade-off. It seems, migration
Is a can of worms, some who creep out
And others stay in, and in time,
The heart become like a compost bin
Decomposing your roots and heritage,
Who you were, before you were hooked
On to the new way of life. Time heals wounds
And grows new tissue. I’m guzzling
Away beer like a Eucalyptus tree
Absorbs water from the soil. While
A tea cup gathers dust, traded in
For Starbucks and still the spoons you
Scoop sugar with, are the same.
Somethings will never change, I say to myself,
As I walk down the road to be greeted
“Good day mate” and before I know it,
My voice reciprocates the greeting.
I was just mirroring, a commonplace greeting
And yet I’m circumspect, trying to fit myself
In to that archetype I had in my head – A Sri Lankan still.
I failed. I was now more Aussie
Than I thought, owning my own esky,
And calling the sheep “jumbuck” and the bush
The outback and still, the lamningtons,
Keep reminding me, the thousands of ways
Coconuts add flavor to a curry.
I guess I’m neither here nor there
Like a refugee in Christmas or Manus island,