by Adel Clifton
Men aren’t always safe.
We write it into their hands,
tell them “you scare me”.
“you are a pine needle”.
If you tell a needle it is a tree …
I was never a great liar
Just a little one
I was never fully singular
Possibly becoming multiple
I was never really transcendent
Probably intense, though
a pond was just pond
until it became a pink sky
hugging tiny dandelions.
and then it became
a woman, whose curls…
This poem is my attempt at capturing a snapshot of a long history of the Ngati Whatua o Orakei, a hapu (sub-tribe) belonging to a city district in Auckland now known as Orakei.
It is written as we, although the stories and experiences in this poem …
Acuity afoot, body and mind. Everything is tangible, yet overwhelmingly so.
I cannot fall asleep to this drum beating inside my brain.
The fan whirls my anxiety up and up—it will not come down.
Up the stairs, past the bolted doors, the rusty gate, the chill on my face …
Sounds of the Mother Tongue (Part 1)
My heart leaps at the sound of Tagalog and Ilocano
My ears are enveloped in comfort.
A piece of me awakening from slumber
My body feels like a child’s again,
As if I am home and I am safe …