I grew up in South Auckland, Takanini
the only Pakeha in the caravan park,
I learnt how to be tall, smart and skinny
how to raise the end of my sentences in an arc.
At school, we were told words held power;
but for teachers words were flowers,
and my friend Cruz had two brothers
Harley and Davidson - they belonged to Black Power,
their fists tattooed with something like “Smother”.
But there was never violence on our street, gang was family;
I usually never felt more at home around Bourbon,
loud Reggae, bags of ****, and men so manly
they’d cry over love, and I wouldn’t get a word in.
Though my Father votes National and thinks Michael Laws is right
so moves us to Dunedin where it’s ninety percent white.
I stopped reading Lenin and picked up Rousseau
became a vegetarian, thought it was so cool you know,
even wrote a blog that discussed rise from below.
But I’ll never know below again
until I’m drunk in an old shed at 3am on a school night
singing along to Bob Marley in Maori,
sunk deep into the mattress propped against the Harley,
the one you and I would cruise on until dawn together
as police took to the streets in riot gear -
we’d get lost in the country and learn to smother
our thoughts in starlight then stagger over,
listen in to the darkness,
and just slowly breathe
the crisp, cool air of the kiwi tundra.
They say New Zealand has two flags,
but in the country, when you’re blazed
on the benefit, ****** on the disdain
for positive discrimination, you can pick out
all the small bright koru unfurling in the stars.