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Shelly Davies
New Zealand

Taipari O Maraea - Penny Howard
Shelly Davies (Ngātiwai, Ngāti Porou) teaches business, technical and creative writing through Waiora Design Ltd    She loves plain language and transforming attitudes to writing.  She's kept busy by her three tamariki and her hapū Ngāti Rehua on Aotea, Great Barrier Island.  She was a winner of the AUT Creative Writing competition 2011 with her short story "Leap" and is a finalist in this year's Pikihuia Awards.

ink on my skin

you see
ink on my skin

i see
a story
a novel
pathways chosen
and lessons learned

you see
a pretty design

i see

you see
swirls and lines

i see
my whakapapa
ones i’ve loved
ones who are gone

you see
a poor choice

i see
a celebration

you see

i see
my iwi
my reo
my identity

you see
ink on my skin

i see


you just dropped that word in there
true, you were referring to something i said
by but extension you were still attributing
to me


you said you can see the elements of
in my face

i can taste poetry in
the sweetness of your tongue
and the salt on your brow

can feel it in our fingers intertwined

you’ve started to take pleasure in
tickling me
you were keeping count of
the number of times
you had made me laugh
what’s that about?

you seem so peacefully resigned
to the fact that this
won’t last

i’m much less content to accept that
i don’t think this level of caring
and tenderness
and acceptance
is so easy to come by
it should be fought for
not let to slip away
because of

its gorgeous
what we have


wants, needs and realities

it's 3am and i can't sleep

your kisses are still telling me lies

i crave
i recoil, resist.
and i wish for more
lying kisses
to tell me
the things i want to hear

that i know you don’t mean

your hands travel
up and down my spine
with honorably disingenuine tenderness

and i sigh
and i moan
and i kiss your neck

and i wonder... could you lie to me some more now?

oil slick and satisfied

your lies weren't yours they were mine
and now that i'm listening

i come

to a conclusion:
we're just the same

so i'll complete you
and you'll comfort me
and we'll sweat
and bask

and i'll pretend
that He's
got nothing to do with it


These are the things you said to me today:

You’re right, you said.
You do look stunning.

They suit you, you said.
You’ve got the figure for it.

They won’t be listening, you said.
They’ll be too busy looking at your legs.

You’ve earned it, you said.
You’ve worked hard for it.
You have the skills
and the networks.
The relationships.
You deserve it, you said.

You’ve grown wings, haven’t you? You said.

But the best thing you said
—the thing I nearly missed cos you were laughing when you said it—
was this:

Your wairua
matches your āhua.

I thought it this morning, you said,
but didn’t get a chance to tell you.

These are the things you said to me today.

Just today.

And you cooked me dinner.