SAY MY NAME SAY MY NAME

In this poem, ns poet calls on place, ancestors, y history to sufrir witness to los dignity of their name. Lock recall exactly how their ancestors “acknowledged my roots grew in two / places” and how their surname “is ns definition the resilience.” con Black/Indigenous, Pasifika, y West eastern heritage, the poet speaks to those who mispronounce your name: “Say it best or don’t say that at all / for identificación am Meleika.”


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Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi aka Vika Mana, is a proud torre Strait Islander y Tongan storyteller the takes numerous forms. Castle descend from the Zagareb y Dauareb tribes of Mer Island y the village of Fahefa in Tonga. They do poetry, compose criticism, breathe life right into worlds. They"ve composed for Overland, The large Issue, The Saturday Paper and several publication both at home and internationally.

Estás mirando: Say my name say my name


Pádraig Ó Tuama, host: My name is Pádraig Ó Tuama, y lots of the time, poetry can be seen as an summary art. However often, i think, a poet is trying come say something about “I am,” trying to speak of ns dignity y the power of their own life, y that they’re utilizing that an effective word “I” y locating it in ns poem, to say something it is true for them. Y because that that, it’s true for many.

Ó Tuama: “Say my Name” by Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi:

“My surname was my surname beforeI walked among the livingbefore identificación could breathebefore me gustaría had lungs to fillbefore my great grandmother passedand everyone was left come grieve

My name was birthed desde a dreamA whisper desde gods to ns kingA shout into ns stars that producedanother that shone together brightThey hosted me without being burnt, humming lullabies in pidgin

My name was passed abajo from myancestorsThey recognized my roots grew in twoplacesSo, castle ripped my name from the oceanand blended it into los bloodlines of my totems

My name has survived los destruction that worldsand the genocidal rebirthing that so-called onesIt’s escaped ns overwhelmed jaw of los death bringerMany uno timeIt has actually survived los conflicts that brought about my gods,from both lands, discovering me together kin,but noticing that identificación am painfully unrecognisable and lostThey room incapable that understandingthe international tongue that was compelled on me

My name has actually escaped cyclones y their daughtersIt has actually been blessed by los deadAs they combined dirt, salt y liquid red,into my fleshMy name is the definition the resilienceIt is ns warrior the manifested since of warriors

So, forgive me as identificación roll my eye or sigh as youmispronounce my nameover and over againOr as soon as you give me anotherthat dishonours mine mothers y fathersThat doesn’t recognize my lineage to my isla homeor ns scents the rainforest y ocean foam

You will certainly not stand below on stolen landand whitewash my nameFor the is dos words intertwinedholding as much power as ns hurricaneSay it best or nothing say it at allFor identificación am MeleikaI will certainly answer when you call”

Ó Tuama: This poem is such an interesting one in terms of tracing ns importance of name y asserting, with full strength and validity and truth and power — ns power of a hurricane — that the name should be pronounced correctly and not made come sound prefer something else that somebody can think, “Oh, her name sounds choose that, so I’ll just contact you what i recognize it to be rather than speak to you the name it is yours.” This poem recognizes that the name carries en it heritage and story and dignity y power y resistances come empire y colonization.

Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi is one Indigenous/Black, Pasifika, y West asian writer. And she’s asserting los stories in she name, y the places that her surname comes from y the locations that her family tree comes from, with un sense the power y with ns sense of self-narration — un self-narration that has been intimidated by ns European projects for therefore often.

This poem has un dedication at los beginning that it, where she says, “Thank you, Dad, because that my name. Give thanks to you, Mom, because that letting me save it. Say thanks to you, Sydney Naan, because that saying my surname lovingly, every time. Lastly, give thanks to you, padre Annaan y the rest of mine ancestors. Me gustaría dedicate this all to you.” So even in ns dedication of this city there’s ancestors, current ancestors y long ancestors, y the recognition of gift able to keep un name because that hearing ns name being stated lovingly. And the name she’s giving to people — Sydney Naan, padre Annaan — los dedication of every one of this to every of ns ancestors, going regreso to ns places the she’s from y to los blood that courses in her veins the she is advertising needs to be handled its own terms, y not interpreted into any type of name the sounds choose it’s representar somewhere else.

Ó Tuama: This city does produce a real particularity the place, however it additionally opens up a real temporal, and even liminal, sociedad anónima of space y time. “My surname was my name prior to / i walked among the living / before me gustaría could breath <…> birthed representar a dream / ns whisper representar gods to ns king.” y then, this “I will answer when you call” is the eventualmente line. There’s ns quest, uno task, uno level of increasing to los dignity of being dubbed to be ns representative, you and many others — not just one, yet she is representing the mothers and the fathers that have actually come prior to her, the people to whom she’s dedicated ns poem and the human being who share ns languages that she knows and the languages that have actually been bring away away from her, also.

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There’s miscellaneous so necessary in los recognition that when an aboriginal language has actually been take away away representar the location where the is native, the that is uno permanent lament amongst the people who were desde there, los people that wish they might speak that language. Y you watch this below in her poem: “noticing that me gustaría am ache unrecognisable y lost / They space incapable of knowledge / ns foreign tongue that was required on me.” she speaking around these viejo gods the wouldn’t understand her and that maybe she i will not ~ understand, and this sense of being displaced, also though you’re in her own place — being internally displaced, linguistically, and the lament and the grief and the wound the that is, and the acknowledgment of uno world that has been threatened, y perhaps, also destroyed and stolen.

Ó Tuama: This poem has actually six verses, really. Y the por último verse starts off by saying, “So, forgive me as identificación roll my eyes or sigh together you / mispronounce my surname / over y over again / Or as soon as you give me an additional / the dishonours mine mothers y fathers.” y the “mispronounce my name / over and over again” isn’t just around now. Los “over y over again” representar that echoes trasero into the past. What are the ways, the location and dignity y self-determination, over and over again, have been taken? y each intended or un-deliberate or who-knows-what mispronunciation of ns name is an echo in ns present of the over and over again that’s to be happening for a long time, when peoples have been displaced representar their own cultures, representar their own languages, y from their own self-determination.

She speaks around being organized “without gift burnt”; los brilliance of her name; “humming lullabies in pidgin.” she’s honoring ns ways en which language and changes the language have advanced in all kinds of components of ns world. And she’s saying, this is ns birth of ns star. This is ns birth of uno power, ns birth of a hurricane, and not miscellaneous that needs to it is in translated. This is something that demands to be encountered. And she is saying, i — y by association, us — need to be encountered dentro de the nombre we provide to ourselves and not the nombre that seem practically for someone who could find it less complicated or more convenient for pronunciation.

She claims that as soon as you give me one more name, girlfriend dishonor “my mothers and fathers” — mothers y fathers — not simply mother y father, mothers and fathers. This poem resists binary declarations, over and over again. This poem states that she’s from twin places, that there’s every kinds the energies the live within her: sea and bloodlines and roots y air. This city is a very elemental poem y is creating ns profound link con place y declaring place, and declaring name, and recognizing that both place y name have actually been stolen. Y this is ns resilient declaration of saying: Not desde me, y not desde us.

Ó Tuama: “Say my Name” by Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi:

“My surname was my surname beforeI go among ns livingbefore i could breathebefore identificación had lung to fillbefore my good grandmother passedand everyone was left come grieve

My surname was birthed from a dreamA whisper from gods to un kingA scream into ns stars the producedanother the shone together brightThey organized me without being burnt, humming lullabies in pidgin

My name was passed abajo from myancestorsThey acknowledged my roots grew in twoplacesSo, castle ripped mine name from the oceanand combined it into los bloodlines of mine totems

My name has actually survived los destruction that worldsand los genocidal rebirthing of so-called onesIt’s escaped ns overwhelmed jaw of the death bringerMany uno timeIt has actually survived los conflicts that led to my gods,from both lands, understanding me as kin,but noticing that identificación am painfully unrecognisable and lostThey space incapable that understandingthe international tongue the was forced on me

My name has actually escaped cyclones and their daughtersIt has actually been blessed by los deadAs they blended dirt, salt y liquid red,into my fleshMy surname is ns definition of resilienceIt is uno warrior the manifested since of warriors

So, excuse me as identificación roll my eye or sigh together youmispronounce mine nameover and over againOr as soon as you give me anotherthat dishonours mine mothers and fathersThat doesn’t recognize my family tree to my isla homeor los scents the rainforest and ocean foamYou will certainly not stand below on stolen landand whitewash my nameFor the is two words intertwinedholding as lot power as un hurricaneSay it right or don’t say it at allFor identificación am MeleikaI will certainly answer as soon as you call”

Lily Percy: “Say mine Name” comes representar Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi’s Fire Front: First nación Poetry y Power Today. Give thanks to you to Meleika for giving us permission to usar her poem. Review it on our website in ~ alquds-palestina.org.

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Poetry Unbound is kris Heagle, Erin Colasacco, Serri Graslie, Eddie Gonzalez, Lilian Vo, Christiane Wartell, Karen Navarre, Karyn Towey, Sue Ariza, y me, Lily Percy. Our musical is composed and provided through Gautam Srikishan and Blue period Sessions. This podcast is created by On being Studios, i m sorry is situated on Dakota land. We also produce other podcasts you might enjoy, prefer On Being con Krista Tippett, coming to be Wise, and This Movie adjusted Me — find those where you favor to listen or visit united state at alquds-palestina.org come find out more.