blackmail press 40
kani te manukura
first published issue 36

The fecund people - Andy Leleisi'uao 2014
imperial measurements

and after the meeting greeting speeching welcoming

and after the fry bread butter gold syrup jam cream the cockles split open by steam laid out as jewels on the tables

and after the komiti marae has spent many unpaid hours deciphering a thousand pages of mysterious signs

and after the kuia has told of how her ancestor Hine-te-ariki thrashed and struck out in all six sacred directions to create the arms of the harbor

and after the kamātua has described how Hine-te-ariki whispered to certain stars in such a way as to compel them to fall from the sky and live as patiki tuangi pupu in the mudflats

and after the kaikarana has called out naming each and every bending of the land to the sea the swimming place of the mokos the gathering places of food fibre hoanga stone the resting places of Hine-te-ariki

and after the kaikarakia has spoken of how the proper words to honor the gifts of Hine-te-ariki to the people have been chanted remembered passed along family lines for centuries

and after the pakeke have talked of how when economic crisis came and went and came again the people survived only by the gifts of Hine-te-ariki

and after the tamariki have sung of how Hine-te-ariki swallows all the water twice a day so that the harbour might remain clean the charcoal suit with shining shoes has just one question

“so, how much room does this tanny-farr need to get past the new sewage ponds and pipe, like how may feet long and wide is it, exactly?”

a single question which hangs inert
over home heart land
awaiting the apparently inevitable

blue hiss and crackle
of the welding rod,
compressed sigh of air
and for the whump and whoof
to fuse to the rising clamour
of the rivet gun