Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Beyond Blackbirder Legacies (for Moera Grace Douthett) - Karlo Mila

Beyond Blackbirder Legacies (for Moera Grace Douthett)
- Karlo Mila

I see the ancestors watching you
men with eyes like cold blue pebbles of glass
lumps of light
that hold no reflection

they hover
these men
from a respectable distance
eyeing the brown women
who sing and dance
invading your space
stamping their feet
so close around you
I can smell the flowers in their hair
they sing raucous
through your spirits
they echo through your laughter

they are the sort of women
who walk through fire
harvest kalo
scrub pots
in Sunday best
these women you come through
who deiantly laught
at the men at the edges of your aura

I see their pride
in who you have chosen to be
and in claiming your ancestors
they recognise
whose libes you have chosen to become

those traders
those blackbirders
those beachcombers
those colonisers
who see that you could 'pass' for one of them
and yet you turn away from the light and the white
of your own face and features

they watch you with eyes of stone

they is a knowing
in their eyes also
at the lives you have chosen to become

yet you stnd shadowed
those ghosts you wear
so heavy in your eyes

we all see
that it is the fire-walking women
who sing through your smile
and guide
your feet
to the heights
they have reached

Karlo Mila is of Tongan, Palangi and Samoan descent. She was born in Rotorua, grew up in Palmerston North and now lives and works in Auckland. She has had poetry published in Whetu Moana, Best New Zealand Poems 2003, Short Fuse: The Global Anthology of Fusion Poetry, the Listener and Coffee and Coconuts. Karlo performs live poetry regularly.


No comments:

Post a Comment