A poem from Hinemoana Baker’s Ockham-shortlisted collection Funkhaus.
One Hit Is Not Enough
The Polaroid grows branches, colours and
cousins, rivers, mountains twist and pose
on the high-stepping stiletto
red carpet. We all feel the sting of rain
and justice ha ha ha; we fall in love with hip
hop and out of love with pipelines.
We know we must not forget the password,
the carver father, the eighties, the skylines.
We’re carved into sky, born into museums.
People like to see themselves so
they come back and back to the museum
to spear and hand sew in real time.
Marched into land, old money.
Summer holidays are long and memories
centuries, too ha ha ha.
The mana of our wāhine, the wehi, the wana.
Our sashes, they say, are too bright blue,
and one hit’s not enough, and neither is two.
We are layers and layers and everywhere, all.
Tapa, tatau, taaniko, demons.
Don’t ask me to speak for the nations, we shift
the hate with the light from our fascinators.
We took ourselves out, really far fuckin out
and we took passengers, too
from the Kitchen of Miracles to the wānangananga.
Document this, and document this motherfucker:
the graduate, the groove, the rangatiratanga.
Break that fantasy, please wake you all up.
We’re eating the beast, it frees us to surf.
Chop up the hui and swallow the suey
and origin, listen, sizzle and muscle, story and school us
and shark us and weapon and curse.
Funkhaus (Victoria University Press) is a finalist for the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. The winners will be announced on 12 May.
The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are welcome and will be open until the end of April. Please send your poems to email@example.com.