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Mepa Taufa-Vuni
New Zealand

spirits of the forest  Vanya Taule'alo
I am a mother of 4 children. My father (Siopau Taufa) comes from Vainī, Tongatapu and my mother (Temaleti Taufe’ulungaki) comes from Ha’ateiho. I have 2 sisters (Malama, Seini) and 4 brothers (Maikolo, Taitusi, Mosese Tava, Kanitiola). I am a maths specialist at Fairburn Primary School in Otahuhu. I love writing poetry.

Weave me a fine mat
(for a friend who teaches me to be gentle  … for ‘Ilaise, ‘Ala and Tupou)

As my hands move alongside the flax
Feeling the brownness of your skin
Silky flax, beautifully velvety waits
For a breath of life – a kiss of life
Muscles tense as your heartbeats race
Gracefully greets a familiar face
The firmness, the softness of the lou’akau
Your glistening skin awakening to my caresses
The rising of your chest and your hunger for a touch
Slice the flax, feel it with my fingers for the width; for the length
I can taste the lust in your eyes ripping into the lou’akau
Needs to tease the fe’unu to make it fine
Told by an expert, a fefine ‘o Falehanga
Lips softly taking in your kiss
Patiently laying down the fine fe’unu
It takes time to make one good fine mat
Flat on your back, I lay the flax softly on the floor
Starting is the hardest part like a virgin on her first night
Exciting, awaiting a new horizon, hidden from sight
First touch weaves your veins into mine and mine into yours
Flax goes over one another – binding, holding securely safely
Arms, legs entwining locking in the rhythm of the weaving
Flax goes over and under – twisting, turning, making pretty patterns
Flax twitches, moans softly against the approaching dawn
Languidly dews kiss the hardness of the lou’akau
Softening it from fresh wetness of the new morning
Crispy air caresses the new beginnings of the lalanga
The fatu of the lalanga is done
The fatu of the fine mat is done
It takes time to make a one good fine mat …

Plain Canvas

She printed the patterns onto the plain tapa
Her life, his plain canvas carving his own arts
His hands tattooed onto her skin, marking his possession
Like a dog signing his territory, declaring his inhabitation
Symmetrical lines stroked of the paongo, a reflection of yesteryear
Symmetrical lines slashed into her heart, numbing it with tradition
Bleeding with undying love lost in the blackness of the koka
She painted her pain black, hiding it well from the eyes of her kainga
As tongo bled onto the ngatu, dying it red as her forbidden lipstick

Her hands caress the thick lines of the tapa patterns
She thickens her eye shadows camouflaging the new bruise
Merging with the new makeups, normality of her life
He strokes her face again, ‘tomorrow will be different’
He whispers into the fresh morning, holding her tight
Her kupesi rotated, reflected, translated across the plain canvas
He holds her hands painting her ngatu, painting her life

Black koka stained her hands, black bruises on her eyes forgotten
Took days to fade away, took days to forgive, into his arms again
Patterns permanently printed onto the tapa
Patterns permanently printed onto her lifestyle
Patterns reflected, rotated, translated across her life,
As the dye from the tongo bled onto the ngatu

Masking ME

If only you knew the feeling hidden inside
Cocooning covered concealed with many layers of faces
From time to time mask came with different colour laces
The fake smiles that tells others that I am happy
The fake orgasms that tells my lover that I am satisfied
The fake laughter that tells the world I am content
For many moons, the mask stays on, stuck as it is life
For as long as you are not mine
The mask stays on, stuck as it is life

I may not say many words
I may not write many poems
I may not meet all your needs
From day to day, and night to night
I weave my web safely around my heart
One over another, tightly safely from your eyes
I weave my web safely around my heart
So tight I couldn’t breathe
So tight I couldn’t escape
I am trapped in my own web
Like a helpless fly fluttering fumbling with the strands
Of traditions and families tightened together

Maybe one day I dare to wonder
In another life and another world, I ponder
I will unwind the laces of my many masks
Revealing all the flesh, wound and bleeding veins
For your eyes to feast on and may love me
For what I am and who I am
Just for today, the mask stays on, stuck as it is life…