new zealand electronic poetry centre



D A N   T A U L A P A P A   M c M U L L I N

Dan Taulapapa McMullin is a Samoan writer from California, living in Apia, Samoa. He was a collaborating writer on the Pacific/Caribbean US territorial book Resistance in Paradise, which won the 1999 Gustavus Meyers Humanitarian Book Award, and his faĎafafine video Sinalela won the 2002 Best Short Award at the Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Dan is currently working on a novel tentatively entitled ĎSina's Salt Water Dreamí, and also a documentary script about American Samoa for PBS in the US. He is also painting in Apia.

The Bat

Once upon a time in old Pulotu there were two faíafafines named Muli and Lolo.
Lolo was pretty but Muli knew how to talk.
Every night they walked the beaches looking for sailors.
In those days everyone in Pulotu was a sailor.
When they found one they had their way with him
because they never did each other:
one of those things.
because the islands used to be dens of cannibalism,
one of them hit the nodding sailor with a rock,
and they devoured him.
They did this until there were no more young men left on their particular island.
In fact around this time Lolo had really learned everything he would from Muli,
and Muli was starting to desire Lolo,
so they did each other; but afterwards Lolo killed Muli
and devoured him
as people who come to one for advice will.
This act made the gods very angry at Lolo,
so for punishment they turned him into a bat.

For years Lolo flew up and down the beach at night on little leather wings.
And there were no young men
until finally the Americans landed.
Loloís first white man, still he knew a sailor when he saw one.
Lolo sank his teeth into the sailorís fat neck and the sailor fainted.
Then Lolo drank until he got plump and passed out.
When he woke up he was in a basket aboard ship
and ended up at the University of Minnesota Medical School
where he was given a nice warm cage by a local foundation.

One day
Iím not sure how but Iíll let you know,
he escaped.
It was the especially cold winter of Ď94;
Lolo flew above the buildings
and south over the pale Mississippi landscape.
It was snowing
and everything was white.
Suddenly far below he saw something in black leather.
Flying down he discovered a boot
that some young man had left there the previous summer
along with his glasses and a pair of shorts he had lost along the river bank
while walking to the corner store late one night to fetch a bottle of milk
for the wife and five kids.

By now Loloís wings had frozen and he was stuck.
He was in love with the black leather boot
although it didnít speak
and he couldnít eat it.
He didnít think he could eat it
and love it.
The snow kept falling
until it covered them both like a blanket.
The end.



Last updated 04 July, 2004