new zealand electronic poetry centre

John Puhiatau Pule

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Ka hola

I was born at fifty-two, at the same time
as the last Hiapo, also the same time of my father’s birth.
I already knew the many rooms in my mother’s manava.
In the afternoon she crowned me with a name that sang histories
of passports and windows.
I had a mind as invisible as light,
and my hands could pass through everything;
my name had acquired the status of an adventive.
My voice a kind of indigenous plant uprooted from saint elsewhere.
I grew up in an enlightened suburb,
in a house bearing a solitary rose,
where occurrences of windows, when enlarged by joy,
showed reflections of our lives, capable of
remaining afloat for varying periods in glass.
I left home soon after burying my old man,
he was a true boozer, brawling to the bitter end.
I was young when I knew mud under my shoes meant free,
that powdery substance composed of rain and insomnia.
Now that I am later,
and my life filled with anxiety,
with uncertainty and nothing,
I give nothing up to a feminine dream.
All I know was that she lived on a cloud.
She came to me one night,
a lamina of islands followed her.
We fucked before the first bus arrived,
and as I watched her dress, she said to me.
You must not forget to return.
When I leave, I will not return, remember this so you are not
If you ever need me, simply think of me, talk to me when my face
briefly replaces your life.
I will always be here for you, to assist you.
Since I first cast eyes on you,
I had hoped I could live with you forever.
That was not to be.
Never mind, you stay on earth for both of us.
While I remain up here among the clouds.
I jumped at the closing door.
All that was left was a stairway that convulsed at a blue stained
I was not concerned with her leaving me,
what bothered me was the myriad of nations she left
Fiji, Hawaii, Marshall Islands, the Marianas, the Carolines.
These nations should not worry me.
I must go on.
You must go on,
in spite of the fumes of cars and boats
remember my life also was like a road.
I wish I could be with you.
It is difficult being so far away.
Even sadder that you can not touch me, hold me.
I want to be with you.


From Tagata Kapakiloi / Restless People
Pohutukawa Press, 2004

John Pule

Last updated 25 September, 2005