Indigeneity, Language and Authenticity

Home » Uncategorized » Jah ib manne daejrieh gænnah giejnie soptsestib // And I never truly knew who I was talking to

Jah ib manne daejrieh gænnah giejnie soptsestib // And I never truly knew who I was talking to

And I never truly knew
who I was
talking to

Losing ourselves in thoughts,
we refuse to seek comfort in shared words

we dare not dwell on this inherited trauma

I do not want to turn myself inside out, to clarify
I do not want to explain,
I have never wanted anything less

but to always remain this shared duality of ours

When I returned to school without you
the teacher who tore this language of ours from me
told me


languages constitute a social capital
only to be possessed by civilised men

The ability to speak makes us unique
neither animals nor this land, infused with your ancestors’ blood, can speak

And yet the ice spoke to you that

Truth be told,
I never really understood him anyway,
and the foreign words burnt a hole through my ears
while I chose to believe his lies

He spoke Swedish to me, each word laced with pain

Remain a rigid nothing,
the government needs your calcified tongue

I filled my lungs with forced laughter.

At school I built stone walls
around my heart.

and sure enough, they managed to reshape me in their image – tearing our words from me.

I became a mute man


just like that,
having had my language stolen from me
I grew ever smaller.

Your absence is more tangible in this vacuum. 

I tear myself from my dreams,
drenched in sweat



my essence,
breathe you into existence.

Your shoulders kiss the jagged ice floes,
as our tongues find peace in the silence –
the water is cold
against your naked spine

Sometimes I ask myself
if our lives had been different

if it had been me,

and not you

who had found themselves trapped beneath the ice.

I say

I might be dreaming.

I never really know these days.

Facing me,
you wear your black hair like a cape
around your shoulders,
as snowflakes leave sensory messages on my forehead

We long to return,
but I know far too well

that this history cannot be rewritten

I don’t think it’s a good idea to go there.

It’s snowing.

The two of us could stay here instead

Sure enough, I never said those words back then,
but in my dreams
my lips were sewn shut with threads of sinew


the ice covered my eyes.

The oncoming spring has quickly changed this place,
yet the cold of a hundred winters surround you.
Six feet under, the sun does not shine

My lips kiss the frozen ground.
The memory of newly picked red berries


the stomach remains empty,
and I dare not carry on.

I long for water

yet the thirst for my language
is stronger

Thinking back,
I could only ever picture you
resting cross-legged by the banks of Luvlie Geavhta.

The net-needle in your right hand,
with your fishing net spread across your lap

this inherited knowledge which is passed on from one generation to the next

find itself dying with me

Your hands


butterflies chasing each other across the loch

You taught me once,
how to catch whitefish here
but I have yet to learn

how to retrace your fading steps


We were headed back to the land of our ancestors
straddling skidoos from hell

between towering mountains and ice-covered lochs

the sleet and ice soaked the two of us to the bone.

We undressed on the banks of the vast expanse

The wind made you soar,
though the shackles of time plagued you

Forced by a childhood rule to keep silent,
we dare not speak as we put on our shoes again

Do not speak
the northern lights could hear you


tear you asunder

If the two of us open our mouths
if we dare to live.

And yet I speak

I do not seek my death in these mountains

My voice echoes across the land
like an avalanche
of birds

I have yet to catch a single one of them

And in a freezing mountain lake
you drowned yourself

on a dreamt, yet daily basis

I keep a pale, white stone
in my left hand,
allowing it to sink into the blue of my veins

but trapped in a winter storm, there is nothing
that could change the course of these events

you become the yoiked essence of a river,
as you sing the creation of my being

who knows these days?

at night, we let our voices intermingle
turning a dual longing into one

Once again, you walk yourself
towards your death

Jaame-aajmoe, the land of the dead, on Repeat

The roar of the ice rips itself into a billion pieces


I don’t quite understand what’s happening
but beneath the northern lights
the two of us disintegrate

As I return to the snowstorm
I try to make you change your mind one last time

My life is not meant as a sacrifice to a mountain lake
The two of us could stay here instead

They stare at me from the other side of death,
lips void of words

their black eyes burning like fires.

do not fear the inevitable, we have to go on

the wind swallows us whole. 

At last the spring arrives,
you set the sun loose inside my hollow ribcage –
but the pregnant land is still asleep

when I awake from my slumber
there will be trees, their branches covered with flowers
cradling the heavens above me

And I never truly knew
who I was talking to
that day when you finally left me

but I still carry your name in my heart
like an amulet from the old days

hoping that it will protect me from the evils of this world


Jah ib manne daejrieh gænnah
giejnie soptsestib

Ussjedh amma,
ibie dan bïjre soptsesth —

dïhte doen vearremes mojhtese –
ib sïjhth manneb tjïelkesth,
ib sïjhth tjïelkesth,
nov hævvi, ib sïjhth —

mohte iktesth årrodh goh månnoeh limen.

Gosse skuvlesne vihth eelkib dov namhtah,
ööhpehtæjja mij gïeleb manneste veedti munnjien jeehti


mijjen gïelh lea sosijaale faamoeh
mejtie rïektes almetjh utnieh.

Gïele mijjeb jeatjalaakan sjugnedi,
eah juvrh vaallah maadtoe maehtieh soptsestidh

Mohte jïenge dutnjien gujhth soptsesti doen iehkeden.

Novh maa,
dellie idtjib riktih satneb guarkah,
jah sov ammes baakoeh mov bïeljine böölin, mohte sutnjien læjhkan jeehkib hov.

Daaroesti munnjien.

Aellieh eelesovvh,
reerenasse dov gierkie-njoktjemeb daarpesje


Skuvlesne gierkie-vïedtjh
mov vaajmoen bïjre tseegkib.

Jah die manneb daaroedahteme.
Baakoeh manneste rinti.

Dompes ålmine sjidtib

novh sån
mov rïektes gïelen namhtegh
manne gujhth unnebe sjïdtib.

Vaakumisnie datneb saangerdeb.

manne bïevesteminie



gajhkesh mah leab,
datneb voejngehteb.

Dov åelkieh jïengen vööste,
monnen njoektjemh sjaavoejægan –
tjaetsie lea galmes
dov båadtsoes rudtjen tsiegkie

Muvhtene funhterdeb
jïs veasome sjïere-laakan sjidteme

jïs manne
ih datne

lib jïengen nuelesne årrome.

manne jeahtab.

Vallah nïekedeb.

Ib riktih daejrieh.

Datne leah mov uvte,
dov tjeehpes voepth goh skopmehkine
dov bïjre,
jah lopmetjelmieh mov åejvesne dabtab.

Månnoeh sïjhtien bååstede,
mohte daajrab gujhth

ib maehtieh daan histovrijeb jeatjahtehtedh.

Ib utnieh buerie åssjalommes dogkoe vaedtsedh.


Månnoeh maehtien daesnie baetsedh

Dellie idtjib manne soptsesth,
mohte nïekedassesne
mov njaelmie lea soenine doepeme


jïenge mov tjelmide gaptja.

Dle giesie daesnie,
mohte baajhkoe lij dov luvnie.
Ij biejvie mueltien nuelesne goekh

Mov bangsemh galmes deavab gaajesjieh.
Aarebi dah guaktah ligan rööpses muerjieh byöpmedamme,


tjåejjie ennje gåaroes,
jah ib doesth vielie vaedtsedh.



Gåessie dan bïjre ussjedeb,
maahtab datneb
ajve Luvlie Geavhtan gaedtesne mujhtedh.

Soejine dov åelkies gïetesne
jah viermine dov boelvesne

aerpie-maahtoe mij boelveste bualvan vaadtsa

mov luvnie orriji.

Dov gïeth


biejvielåblojne jaevrien raastah.

Ikth manneb lïerih
gusnie meehtib tjoevtjh daesnie gaavnedh,
mohte ib manne ennje daejrieh

gusnie maahtab datneb vihth gaavnedidh.


Månnoeh edtjimen maadtose

Sæjjan vaeriej jah jaevriej gaskoeh

Slïehtie monneb slïedtjedahteme.

Stoerremes jaevrien bealesne nåeledigan.

Bïegke datneb geahpode.
vallah aejkie irhkie,

Sjaavohth lea gosse vihth gaamedien.
Laake monnen maanabealeste.

Aellieh soptsesth
goeksegh maehtieh dijjeb govledh


dijjeb laarhkodh

Jïs soptsestien
Jïs tjarkadien gujhth veasodh.

Læjhkan manne leab soptsesteminie.

Ib sïjhth veerine jaemedh

Mov gïele lååvesje
goh ræjrojne
goh ledtiedåehkine

Mohte ib maehtieh annje dab gïeledh.

Jah galmes daelvie-jaevresne veerine
datne leah batneminie.

Fïerhten biejvien mov nahkarinie.

Mov lea veelkes gierkieb
mov gårroeh gïetesne
mij mov plaave åerine batnenieh,

mohte væjrosne ib mij gænnah
maehtieh dab viehkiehtidh.

Datne jïengine joejkh,


jïjtjemdh joejkh

gïe riktih daajra?

jïjjege gïelh ektiedieh
månnoeh aktine.

Die vihth jaavran vaadtsah
dov sealadimmien gåajkoe.

Jaame-aajmoe on Repeat

Jïenge stryödje


ean riktih skeejnh mij leah sjïdteminie
mohte goeksegi nuelesne

Gåessie bååstede væjrose båatab
vihth pryöveb datneb tjöödtjestidh.

Ib sïjhth vaerie-jaevresne sealadidh
maehtien daesnie baetsedh

Åemehke munnjien vuartesje,

sov tjeehpes tjelmieh buelieh.

Aellieh straavh, månnoeh jåerhkien

Bïegke monneb njeala.


dellie maajetjh gïjre munnjien bööti,
biejvieb mannesne lööveldih;
nåejsie-maadtoe åara.

moerh edtjieh bahtsedidh
mov biejjelisnie
gåessie fahkab


Jah ib manne daejrieh gænnah
giejnie soptsestib
gåessie manneb gaarvenih,

mohte dov nomme ennje vaajmosne guadtab

vearelden stööremes staaloej vööste.




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