Karlo Mila is of Tongan, Samoan and Palagi descent. She was born in Rotorua, raised in Palmerston North. She lives in Palmerston North with her husband, David, and two children, Karlos and Nikolas. She is completeing her PhD in Sociology. In 2005 she published her first collection of poetry, Dream Fish Floating ( Wellington: Huia).
Karlo has recently published her second collection of poems, A Well Written Body (Huia, 2008), in collaboration with german-born artist Delicia Sampero.

Link: http://www.nzepc.auckland.ac.nz/pasifika/mila1.asp
  S  e  c  r  e  t  s    blackmail press 24
Karlo Mila
New Zealand


The steep climb up the hill, up my drive…
- past the green stucco house that you can just make out between the ancient plum and the buddleia grown tall and wild with abandonment - the old man has a vegetable garden on the northern side with huge cabbages, globular and gray like some alien plant form intent on consuming the earth – on your right the new apartment block where they excavated the cliff, drove steel rods in deep to secure its foundations – now you look down onto the pristine back doors of the affluent; rubbish bins have been banned you know, written into the contracts as part of the common good, the condominium’s appearance must be maintained, by all – up, up nearly as high as the ridge now, up past the clay escarpment that still bears the scar of last winter’s slump which saw the residents of a lower abode evacuated, in the interim, said the council, till we determine the likely pathology of the earth beneath us –
… yes, the climb will set your old Toyota fair panting, and your pulse racing. Love and death carry the same heady apprehensions, the same unsolved mysteries.

The view, should your eye detour…
- from the cracked bitumen, the tenuous verge of broken drain, those gray tufts of paspalam, the rusting wigs of fennel – from the Toyota’s temperature gauge where (if you look) you will detect an imminent boil over – from the stand of trees further up, behind my garage, trunks dark and thin like pencil marks, and where in all honesty the best view can be had. But we will not be going to the garage, nor beside it to that forehead of perfect grass kept mown for picnics -
…yes, the view would match that of any cockpit window. The crests and troughs we find in the human condition have parallels in aeronautic dynamics.

Did I mention the airport below?
- with its tails of tarmac stretching, tying mountain and sea, arrivals and departures. From here I look down daily on the backs of planes landings, the bridge of their noses pointing high as they lift into the sky. I will see you too, coming up that steep hill.

You will wear jandals for the summer heat, and you will smile as I open the door. We will stand there – we may even venture out momentarily because you have seen a small jet landing, and we will talk about the cloudy haze the heat has drawn across the bay. I will tell you a breeze is forecast. It will clear. There will be a bottle of warm wine hanging like a slaughtered hen between your fingers. You will not bring flowers, but will gaze at the geraniums in pots at my door. They will be red. In your other hand something geometrical, wrapped in red paper with golden stars.
Yes, I will see you coming up that steep hill.


at the age of 16

in a barely consensual moment

I lost my faith

caught betwixt the desire to belong

and lack of desire

I went all the way

and lost my


in one barely consensual moment

I lost my