Sunday, June 19, 2011

Poroproaki - Karlo Mila

- Karlo Mila

E koro,
even though were a pakeha
I miss your wheezing breath
your shadow no longer falls
on the hill high above my house
and all there is left is an overmarked grave
an empty tomb
once I could feel your chest rise and fall
in disappointment over the city
once you were a strong young pine
with a heart of timber
full of colonial ambitions
before colonial became a bad word
you stood proudly
without memory of the gods
that had stood before you
no doubt burned down for farmland
these days
we are not so young and innocent
and you, e pa,
gnarled and weathered in the wind
a sign, a symbol, a living flag
whipping racial divison into a frenzy
and fielling patriotic fire
you, e ranatira,
because of age not wisdom
because of position
not deeds
a heart of timber
arohanui old fella
I mis hearing you breathe at night
I miss your crooked arithritc fingers
that touched Auckland city somehow
you strange ugly tree

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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