Saturday, June 18, 2011

Octopus Auckland: 8 Suburbs - Karlo Mila

Octopus Auckland: 8 Suburbs
- Karlo Mila

in mission bay
the beaches
shakes the imported grains
off their backs
and sigh with the tide
that creeps up to the shops
wet with rain
hoping to snatch
somer ecycled treasure from the shoreline
like a shoplifter

in ponsonby
a smeared oil rainbow licks the gutter
glittering fat
reflecting colour
the rain-swell from last night
froths like a latte
through the grated bars of the drain
the flat white crowd
sips long blacks for breakfast
four and forty
four wheel drives
tread lightly
on city slicker streets

in mangere bridge
one bridge stands perfectly still
watching the other
social climbing with traffic
the old bridge
has 'gone fishing'
and tongan boys
prod stingrays
bloated and poached
on the concrete
with friendly eyes
they greet us in samoan
and the rocks rumble with sea

in grey lynn
all is semi-detached
and sub-divided
old ice cream villas
sliced like cake
into bite sized flats
full of upwardly mobile ex-students
willing to settle for off-street parking
these old villas
must remember back thirty years
to the slap of jandals
and wooden floors
groaning under the weight of cross-legged choir practice
sounding the same
in any language

in mangere
david tua's parents' house
grimaces and flexes muscle
like a castle in the legends
of dutiful samoan children
and the honour of their parents
it stands almost as big as the school next door
but is dwarfed
by the church
where the huge mirrored arching window
has been boarded over
since the first time i saw it
'just asking to be smashed'
my partner explains
he grew up down the road

in onehunga
the monolith looms
on the hill
we all see
what is missing
as keenly
as what
is left behind
the slopes of cornwall park
rolling gentle and green
a central city country estate
shared by joggers and dog walkers
scaring sheep
avoiding bulls

in hillsborough
there are two indian dairies
side by side
i buy lotto from one
and everything else from the other
from a man whose smile is so tender and wide
it can wallop my heart while buying the paper
he gives me last week's magazine for free
i wonder at what point
he made the choice
that brought him here
sitting behind chocolate bars
bordered by boxes of cigarettes
pornography above his head.

in mt eden
is the doctor
i go to
she is beautiful and blonde
well dressed
with hairy legs
her herbal tea
fills the air with raspberries and camomile
last week she was sick
and the lady doctor who saw me indtead
in perfect earl grey english
where i came from

not auckland

you feke
you octopusof a city
wrapping your tentacles around me
clinging to my skin
sticking to my surfaces
leaving welts and bites
of place and location
on my body

you feke
ever changing migrant colours
of a city

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.

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