Ria Masae
New Zealand

Karakia Precari - Penny Howard 2016
Ria Masae is a Samoan New Zealander living in Auckland.  In 2015, Ria won the 'New Voices: Emerging Poets Competition’, as well as the '2016 Cooney Insurance Short Story Competition’.  Her work has been shared in several New Zealand and Australian publications including, Landfall, Potroast, Snorkel, Ika, and Otoliths.  Ria was delighted and honoured to have her poetry translated into Spanish last year on the online Mexican literary journal, Círculo de Poesía. 

Jesus died this morning

in a nameless alleyway
hunched between an
ex-jailbird and a homeless girl.

I saw him last night 
tickling the feet of fa’afafine
with his bearded kisses.

I heard him last night
laughing with hardened Magdalenas
over plastic cups of street brew.

I felt him last night
lick sanction across the punctured
creases of my inner elbows.

You missed him –
the Second Coming has come and gone.

You were too preoccupied
scouring penthouse suites in trump hotels
singing psalms to molesting podiums
tasting bleach from make-it-rain teeth
and stroking feathers of corrupt wings.

Did you not learn from his first visitation
that he would come as One
of the wandering and uncrowned?

Did you not learn from his first stopover
that Sinner and Saviour
walk shoeless side by side
along bleeding crossroads?

Jesus died this morning

in a nameless alleyway
beneath your feet
while your noses pointed to the skies. 


Colour was a location etched on her face -
culture to be seen, not heard 
- not a choice.

But oh, 
her woven stories were known
beyond the mountains.
Rumbles reverberated through
the cracks of the earth
raising life from soil
releasing breaths from roots
that carried to the circumference of Rā’s fervor;
Papatūānuku echoing Ranginui’s lost embrace.  

Chipped China

How can Brian – 
the street bully –
be this delicate giant?

Eleven-year-old Tumema
peered through the slits
of the wooden slats
under Brian’s house.

The same thick fingers
that dragged her by the hair
across the school field

nimbly raised a china cup
to the porcelain doll’s
love-heart lips.

Trailing Through  Tāmaki  Makaurau

i         Images of a pixel galaxy
glide across the underbelly of Stardome.
Collective retinas dot-to-dot constellations.
We pulse neon in the womb of genesis.

ii       IMAX movie magic
projects 3-D lips through darkness,
past the row of popcorn kids
to surround sound me a kiss.

iii      Western Springs gangster geese
waddle their feathered rumps to encircle tourists;
hustling for bread – standard fees demanded
for click-click-click of Nikons.

iv     Chevalier, your waters tremor beautiful
under the moon and the sun.
When I dive beneath your skin-deep
I dissolve into ballerina ocean.

v       At one end of Long Bay
stands a cliff engraved with white noise
that blares in the barnacle ears
of hacked rock whales.

vi      Bark-skin of fat octopus limbs
spew from Albert Park’s dank incense earth.
Feels like wooden elephants;
smells like Papatūānuku giving birth.

vii    Swollen dancer extends a butterfly greeting --
temptation at Botanic Gardens.
Beware of efflorescent thorns in fluorescent fields
when the sun sets at Eve.

viii   A crucifix of tubular lights
carried up Mount Roskill by orange vest workers;
Auckland Council Christianity
burns noughts and crosses confessions.

ix      An army of miniature green blades
stand at attention in my backyard.
A neighbour visits in his wheelchair.
His feet do not bleed.