These Words Are Not Action Not Justice

Nathan Dumlao

Words by Riya Rajesh


you want to see colonial rage bloody a page
to see a woman, teeth bared, write fire
want lyricism and poignant pain

too bad

today, I can’t
today, I am pointed
gnitirw ton m’I yadot
uoy rof
not when people are dying
in poverty
incarcerated unlawfully
a fucking juxtaposition
not when we’ve watched
and accepted
not when champagne sippers sing virtue
sweet mouths bubble, boneless and cursive
this story was not made for Instagram this is no one’s soap opera this is fear and vitriol
remember remember
the real people in your posts
remember remember
this is pain I can’t claim and neither can you

so don’t
unless you can 

and if you can
if being ground into concrete by protectors of privilege
is your story 

i am sorry 

we did not do better before 


Riya Rajesh is a student at Monash University. She is passionate about voicing her experiences and concerns as an Indian woman of colour in Australia, both through poetry and analytical writing. Currently, she is adapting to her first year at university while collaboratively developing a diverse spoken word culture in South East Melbourne. To find out more and for upcoming spoken word events, please head to


To support Black and Indigenous communities, educate yourself. Use your resources. Learn what you can. Support those around you. If you don’t know where to start, start at these resources:   


And remember: 

These lands belong to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Sovereignty has never been ceded, and although we work within an illegitimate colonised ‘Australia’, the strength of Aboriginal identity and community endures as the sun rises.

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