Just a Breath Away (David Dungay Jnr.)

Just a Breath Away

(Written by David Dungay Jnr. in Long Bay Jail)

These dayz I spend wandering
Amongst the shadowz
In a body that is not mine
Lost in the darkness of memories
That ceased to exist long ago, 
Suffocating, slowly, inside a dream
That’s just another war.

Silent on the edge of silent escape
Watching a wounded reflection,
Paralysed in an illusion of fear
Until the cruelty of my rage
Dissipates under my skin
With a fragile heart that keeps slipping away.

Our two tribe worlds collide
Like a starburst exploding into a million pieces. 
While each day is a stillbirth of hope
And a nightmare just a breath away
The pain of doubt
Lingers in the shattered moments of reality
And spirals into a vertigo of desperation.

With the struggle abandoned to inexistence
And trust scared beyond the circle of fire
I emerge like a butterfly
From a coma of comfortability
And gradually fall from my dream
Still breathing
Still wondering
Waiting … for it to END.

* Feature image used with permission from Emma Ismawi 
* David’s poem and author image used with permission from Christine Dungay


David Dungay Jnr.

David Dungay Jnr. was a 26-year-old Dunghutti man who died in custody at the Long Bay Correctional Facility on 29 December 2015. David’s sister, Christine Dungay, has set up the Dunghutti Youth group to recognise, remember and respect the life of her brother and to fulfill his personal dream of lifting up the young people in their Kempsey community. The group aims to help their community address some of the systemic and cultural issues — such as racism and inequality — that are still major challenges and contribute to the death of Aboriginal people in custody. Find out more about Dunghutti Youth here