Never start a poem with the weather if it can be helped
essa ranapiri

for Simone Kaho

It is raining and the roof is sagging or
I like to imagine it is sagging
because that gives the reader a feeling of
precarity that sits well within
a late capitalist life and the words
are made for spilling for finding themselves
flat against a large surface
to puddle or to pond or to consider something
like the rain but
where are we
is a question you are asking with each breath
when will it be different////
you raise an arm
if this were a movie then thunder would sound as your
fist reaches its zenith
this isn’t a movie it’s a poem
and we should expect better
or a better world out there
but in where
ever we are
holograms of lives with less deadlines
less by 2 tomorrows please
what do we face
as the thread dangles

and if you’re not sure what it is
or how it is operating in the text
(the thread)
then neither am I at this point

I had a dream where all the gardens
that had been so lovingly tended to
turned to mud and gorse
and I stood there trimming the
pain of the dying plants

every third cutting I would take
and hold in my mouth

was I expecting something to
grow out of my skull?
was I expecting a bitter taste?
was I wanting to become a flower
just any fucking flower
so beautiful and transient  ?

essa may ranapiri (Ngāti Wehi Wehi, Ngāti Raukawa-ki-te-Tonga, Te Arawa, Ngāti Pukeko, Ngāti Takatāpui, Clan Gunn) is a poet who lives on whenua Ngāti Wairere. Their first book of poetry ransack (VUP) was longlisted for the Ockham Awards 2020. They are the featured writer in Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2020 with their work ‘HAUNT|HUNT’. They also dabble in visual arts; their redinblack series of paintings was hosted in the Gus Fisher Gallery as part of the queeralgorithms exhibition in 2020. Their second book Echidna out in 2022 through Te Herenga Waka University Press. They will write until they’re dead.

Read essa ranapiri interviewed by Lauren Peat.


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