blackmail press 21
Sabrina Muck
New Zealand
crossed cultures - special issue
Featured Artist Fiona Holding
Immigrant Song

I am an immigrant
in a country full of immigrants
we are everywhere, you know

And yet…
you make us wait to stay
you make us wait, just to send us away again
from your offices that spill onto the street
between the drug-dealers’ park
and the start of the brothels

Remember that landlord scum who said to me
“I don’t know how long you’ve been here, but…
Long enough to learn how to say “you must be joking, eh? Bugger OFF, mate”

In fact, I have been here so long
that I am a foreigner to the tight rules and customs
the strict country of my own birth

Yet I locate myself there, and here too:
the Bavarian Alps are my mountain
the Isar is my river
but I started school at Karetu Primary
singing waiata at Waikare Marae

It’s all part of who I am - there are more than two cultures in this girl’s world:
yum cha and red packets
a friend married in a sari
the girls who taught me to say fa’afetai, Mrs Muleaumaseali’i

So you see –
I am an immigrant
in a country full of immigrants
I have been here so long, I have sung my song so often,
its lyrics are smooth as old wood