image c. Eaten Fish

Here is Manus Island

Here is Manus Island

you’re hearing my voice behind the fence.

Here is Manus Island

I am not going well and neither are the other guys.

Here is Manus Island

our room’s light is always turning off.

Here is Manus Island

some one went mad,

alway sweeping the room,

my throat is filled with pebbles of the beach.

Here is manus

I am alway sleeping in my bed

A. some times comes to see me

Here is manus

A’s taking shower fifty times a day

but he feels still dirty

Here is Manus

three years of my life has been wasted

and so have your taxes.

Here is Manus

last years my arm been broken

but doctor treated with water and regular panado.

The doctor’s  name was Angel!

Here is Manus

every one is in their own low.

Here is Manus

our dinner for last night was mosquito soup

but I missed out.

Here is Manus

the cook forgot his denture in the food.

His name was Chief of the Hell.

Here is Manus

a tiny island in the pacific ocean.

Here is Manus

ou side somebody suicided

but I was cleaning the toilet.

Here is Manus

as I am high or drunk

I must cry and yell on my destiny.

Here is Manus

it has been a long time I been called JMG 68

Here is Manus

a tiny island in the ocean.

Here is Manus

you are unhappy I cost you lots of taxes

and I am upset and deppressed to be anoying you

but you won’t let me leave.

Here is Manus

I need a boat

for sailing away.

Here is Manus

I am alone

and A is alone

and humanity is alone.

– Esmaeli (January 2016, Manus Island)

with minimal editing by Janet Galbraith


Aziz is a writer and human rights defender who has been detained on Manus Island for 31  months.

He precise the poem with:

I wrote this poem after the High Court ruled against us which is very disappointing for all of us.  The refugee activists were carrying out big protests around the cities of Australia which will make us to not lose hope although we have been languishing in detention centre for 31 months and now languish indefinately.

We are in huge conflict with our mental health because of ongoing torture and trauma including harassment from the staff.

I am requesting from all of my friends to keep hope. Let us break this silence of the coconut trees and the ocean. Let us back to our normal lives outside of the fences.

Who will cry for the young men

Who will cry for the young men

lost and all alone?

Who will cry for the young man

abandoned without his own?

Who will cry for the young men

tortured in detention?

Who will cry for the young man

who cries himself to sleep?

Who will cry for the young men

who never have their keeps?

Who will cry for the young men

who walk in burning sand?

Who will cry for the young men,

the boy inside the man,

who knows the world’s hurt and pain?

Who will cry for the young men,

who died and die again?

Who will cry for the young men?

Good men they are trying to be.

Who will cry for the young men?

I cry inside of me.

Who will cry for the young men?

I will.

We will together.


Aziz (written after the High Court decision on the 3rd of February 2015)




“For Sahar Batool”

A kid who’s age is
to play,
to have fun,
to be fond of her life,

who doesn’t care
what is gonna happen
and doesn’t know what else to do-
just stays busy playing,

who can’t bear a little scratch on her body,
who is to be loved and loved.
A kid who doesn’t know what’s a boy,
what’s a girl,

who delights in making friends.
Doesn’t matter for her,
which nation,
which religion –
black or white.

This same kid was killed so brutally,
murdered by strangling,
tortured harshly.

For she belonged to a precise nation
and religion.

Who is Malala?
She’s the same girl
for whom the whole world raised their voices,
protested and demonstrated.
Why couldn’t she be valued as Malala?

Why is the world so quiet?

‘Coz she was poor?
She had no family background?

But I don’t really care
whether people forget you or no.
You won’t be forgotten by me,
by your brother.

– Murtaza, 2013


Of Freedom

Ground shakes beneath the hoofs of horses.

They gallop faster than the wind –

wild and free.

I see my dreams sparkling in their manes.

Oh the air is filled

with the smell of horses

sorrow and a tiny bit of envy.

Far away in the horizon

I can see a few little black spots

and the ground I am standing on

starts to still again.

It is all gone.

I was all a dream.

My dream of freedom –

the outburst of the feelings

these restriction have created

in me.

– Abbas

رویای آزادی یا احساس حبس و بند

زمین زیر پای سم اسبان میلرزد.

چهار نعل میگریزند ..وحشی و افسار گسیخته

در یالهایشان میپیچد آرزوهایم….

هوا سرشار از بوی اسب و غم و کمی هم غبطه….

در افق نقطه های سیاه کوچکی رخ مینماید و زمینی که من بر آن ایستاده ام رفته رفته آرام میگیرد…

پنداری رویایی بود همه….


Arad Nik

Arad is a writer, commentator and poet.  He not only writes for the page and online but is an accomplished performance poet.

A Crow’s Scream

His heart feels sad and heavy.
He gazes far away.
Exhausted and lonely
he is sitting on a rock in the camp –
his feet sore and cut.
He was forced to flee his country.
Now he’s forced to stay in a camp –
same as a scarecrow,
on an island very far away
that few have ever thought about.
He waits for a dandelion and a bird
from you to him.
His heart can make it happen.
But the bird of politics
with its sharp beak
speaks for government and Morrison
and tears at his flesh, his mind and his heart.
It steals his hope.
He never had a dream!
He’s not Damavand Young*
He is a scarecrow.
Maybe one day
a bird will take his spirt
and set it free.

-Arad Nik

Damavand Young is a big mountain in Iran; a mountain that is very strong, that nothing can shake.
Translated from Farsi to English by Arad Nik and Janet Galbraith

Melbourne Nights.

When you say: ‘I will not tolerate nostalgia’,

I pull the car to the side of the road.

A deep silence prevails between you and I.

How should I explain my heart so that you understand?

Should I beg?

I have no other choice but to leave my country, my home.


When I take you to your house you do not lift your head. I cannot read your eyes.

In these three days between, knowing I must leave, and leave alone, I wait immobilised, confused and helpless.

The day before my flight I send you a message:




You accept.

I dress in the clothes you love and arrive an hour early to this place- the place we first met.






‘Choosing a gift has spent my time’, you say.

When you leave I do not hear your goodbye.   My eyes cannot move from the space you have just


The wind stops.

The noises of the street are


I am blind to all around me.

When I return to myself, the bench we sat on is empty.

I am alone with the watch that spent 10 precious minutes of our meeting.

I feel the sound of your goodbye repeated sharply in my ears.

I cannot fight these living


– – –

The Melbourne weather is cold.

A rainy night.

The tick tick of the watch awakens doubt in me…

…of this place where I still have to beg.

– Arad Nik


Pain cannot be traded
Here, in this land, colour fights with racism
and the boats are tied to the whims of politicians.

Aboriginal people will never accept a foreign flag.
We, boat people, will never accept Nauru.

The history of this land is a bloody one
And a bloody history is being made on Manus Island.

This shameful history is repeated and repeated.
I will not repeat this history.

My words become beautiful
only when I talk with the people of this land.

In Broadmeadows, MITA, Australia continues it’s history of prison camps.
Imprisoning your ancestors as they now imprison your children.

Mother’s from afar cry tears of blood for their children,
just as the mother’s of this land cry for theirs.

We crossed the dangerous ocean with nothing.
Our hopes were with you – the people of this land –
that you would make for us a nest.

We crossed the big sky and ocean
and you kept our hope alive.

Behind your welcoming smile
I see torture and suffering

My world became beautiful when you, the First Nations people, welcomed us,
when you reached out and took my hand.

Your pain is my pain.
How can I trade it?

This land has been stolen from you
as my land has been stolen from me.

They have stolen the sky from me
as they stole it from you.

In your songs I hear my songs.
Your didgeridoo plays my heart.

In the desert the sun where I am detained
each tree and rock is witness of your history.

This is the first lesson I learned here:
I must respect the sun in your flag.

The wrinkles of your face show the heart of this land,

Just as a heart never stops working
so you work for your land, your culture, your language and children.

With you, Australia has history, has meaning.
To the others:

Please don’t ask me again about my pain.
Listen to me:

My pain cannot be traded.

If you want to understand my pain
first you must listen
to the people of this land.

– Arad Nik


Ocean of Sacrifice

They search for a place of rest
where their whole self can stay

and calmly abide,
while restless waves sleep.
In our land,
there is no place to remain.
Cruel hills and steep cliffs

push down, allowing no rest,
banishing all to the lowlands.
Forced out of our native realm
for a foreign land
we rub earthly dust onto our chests,
leave our own place     weeping, weeping,
exhausted in the ocean of sacrifice
for no end, for nothing at all.
-Kumar, 2014


Behind the fence

Behind the fence
the Boy wonders
gazing through the
eyes of the metal fence.
A question is raised
too far and too faint for me to hear
but it seems he got the answer –
the smile on his face tells me so.
But the mother’s face says something else,
a different story.
I write down every detail
of the curious child
and the mother.
I look down as I write few words.
I look up to write more.
but they’re gone
vanished behind the fence.

– Kumar 2014


A dream

There’s a part in my head

where I have a dream

and it’s locked up in a tiny little boxes

of hopes and imagination

There’s a part in my life

where I have a place

and it’s locked up in empty boxes

of thoughts and feelings

There’s a view in my head

where I see the world

through the open eyes beside the empty boxes

of hopes and imagination.

– Kumar


Ahlam is a  poet who comes from a family of poets.  She has been writing since she was young and continues to develop her skills and deliver her work with much grace and power.


Born With No Homeland

She says: write of your country’s beauty,

your lands, your rivers, your trees.

My body cells tremble.

Inside me a pain is groaning.

A storm is in my mind.

A volcano sears my heart

but silence controls me.

Dust, wars, dead bodies, weapons and women

with no power, children seeking water fill my mind.

While others extol their homelands with feelings of belonging,

great achievements, spectacular views,

nothing beautiful visits my mind-

not even a smile on a child’s face.

People like me

can’t say a word.

We were born with no homeland.

People like me

can’t recall beautiful scenery.

We were too busy burying dead bodies.

We were born

with no skies, no stars, no moons.

The sun was there

but not for us.

We were born

with no relatives, no neighbours, no childhoods.

Air was there

but only contaminated air was ours.

I write: People like us don’t need pity.

We are strong enough.

We are still alive.

– A.A.M, 2015


Soaring birds

To all asylum seekers all over the world; to anyone who has a sadness story in his/her life. Be strong. Be like the soaring birds. Allah (God) never forgets anyone.

I know your crash, I feel your pain.

You want to say words
but you are sure
your words will choke your throat.

You want to sing,
you want to dance.
You want to live a better life but your hands are tied.

You are searching for things to make you smile,
but again and again
in your cheek

a lot of tears.

You sleep nights till morning but you are still awake. Morning comes
but you still see no lights.

I can imagine your soreness, I can draw your sadness soul. I can figure your sufferance.

But let me tell you what I have read:

Feather fall does not mean fall of the birds.

Fall as you want
but stand again and again.
Gather the remaining of your spirit, fight for your dreams, your hopes.

Have faith in your God. No power in this earth can change your destiny.

Come on,
wipe your tears.
Believe in yourself,
believe that there is
no impossible.
Make your sadness your weakness, to be like those feathers.
And you be like the soaring birds.

A. A.M. (written after being released from detention)


Jajee has been detained on Nauru by Australia for almost 3 years.  Moving from the detention camp to Fly Camp, he continues to write and express in order to tell his story.


Tell Me

My lord where am I?

Why am I here?

At least tell me what will happen to me.

Who chose this place for me?
Where should I go from this place?
Every kind of cruelty has been done to me.

At least tell me what will happen to me.

Why do they want to destroy my future?

Why don’t they give me human rights?

I am helpless and they interfered with me.

At least tell me what will happen with me.

Is playing with the lives of humans a law?

Is experimenting on the children?

Any one with answers tell me.

At least tell me what will happen with me!

– Jajee 2015


Maria is a writer and poet from Somalia. She has been detained off shore and on shore.


A message from sweet home (Somalia) to an unknown sweet girl.

Hello child.
I am just wondering where you live now?
You disappeared without saying goodbye.
You used to tell me I was the only place you had on the earth.
Where is that patriotic, brave girl who used to say:
‘I will protect my homeland from anything bad”?
What has happened to her?
Where did she go?

You were born inside of me.
Why did you leave me like this?
Have you forgotten my warm nights and bright breezy days?
Have you forgotten lying on my sand with a big beautiful smile on your face
Oh my dear… unforgettable moments!
You were fearless, a strong and beautiful child
playing around with self confidence.
Sweet girl we call to you.
Home is the only place you will be loved and respected.

– Maria 2015


Farhad has been detained for more than 30 months offshore.  He is both an artist and a poet, coming to poetry whilst incarcerated in our black site on Manus.  Farhad works closely with writer and poet Melita Luck. They exchange poems, assist each other with translations and editing.


Distressing, depressing moods move and
Wash like waves
Inside me now
Though I go above
To survey the sea
To gaze at waves
In a wind that makes
Tree limbs dance
And leaves to tremble.
How romantic this should be!
But never now for me
Glaring at Mother Nature from my cursed grey cage
Speaking from my heart
In nothing but the language of complaint.
Then I’m in a jail of grief-dreams
When night surrounds me
With its own particular darkness
Yet still I wait
Even now
For the light
Of Freedom.

– Farhhad Bandash
Edit by Melita Luck


Screaming night

I hear screaming within a silent night

The one that you hear, but can’t see
The one that you know is a human voice, but you can’t help

The one whose suffering you feel, but you can’t share their pain

You hear their steps, but you are waiting

for the time they can appear
to talk,
to be heard and be helped.

They are still screaming

It sounds like a storm on a summer night.
Their world is dark and everyone around them

pretends to be blind or deaf, of the reality.
They talk carefully, when they tell their awful past.

This is their story.

It’s part of their history.

This is what is worthy to write.


– Farhad, 2015