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A collection of poems

The Air is Thick with Solidarity]

I am going to start with breathing
what I push out of me and what you push out of you
and what we push out of each other
lungs working like billows
lungs working
sounds you could read on
the air
is angry now


they pulled him up
out of his brick that
bronze man with no business
being here having never set foot
in the Waikato
removed due to the concern over
the structural integrity of
the building


r we to b weaved 2 gether
stitched slowly thru veins
dripping out of our bodies
they are hungry for us
we are hungry for change


My friend posts on ig about getting Marx’s Capital tattooed on the back of her hand


He waka eke noa is meaningless when used by government agencies that continue to promote divisions along lines of class and race and gender.

What waka would float on such hypocrisy?

I can see it in the Waikato now, taking water, bowing down to the spirits there, as the metaphor drowns.


How we are one can just look like under the thumb of the Crown…


We’re all in the car headed back from Ihumātao
our friend driving us through the lights
of oncoming cars so bright that you can see
nothing behind them just the whirr of metal
strangers passing

there is just mist pressing its
visual fuzz into the land we all feel
safe in it regardless of the speed


I read somewhere online about three ways of living kotahitanga today
the first

is donating to a charity a surfer dude representing the Red Cross showed up at my
door the other day two years ago he asked why I was wearing a dress he asked for my deadname so that
I could pay them $20 a month just don’t drink as much coffee they said wow weird why do you want to be a woman? they said I don’t drink coffee I said and why don’t you? I said it leaves my bank account automatically phone-calls scare me so much that I haven’t cancelled it yet


join a sports team I tried to play cricket once fell asleep on the field and got hit by the
hard red
ball as it plummeted from the sky what a wake up call


say hello to a stranger
I had my headphones on but I think she said good morning


None of those options will shake the foundations of this settler colony and I am sure that is intentional all token gestures are designed to be inoffensive pull the teeth out of our tikanga just try to avoid touching the head on the way in and out


It’s all connected despite how cut off colonisation would have us pretend to be I swear you
have more in common with this English poet from the 1600s
than the Māori man who walks past
the gym every morning at seven his hair is as silver as the ghosts you saw rising from the whenua

Blak lives fighting police brutality in so-called Australia [here by known as the Continent]
(flattening in to one thing is not
and the Black lives fighting in the streets making peace with the land that has been stolen from NDNs all across Turtle Island

we know how to fight as well we have had to for so long
us versus /pipelines
/housing developments
/gold mines
/tourist attractions
/the crown and all its armies
/police brutality
/more mines
/all that drink
/introduced species

Statues coming down the world over of old dead racists while all the living ones line their pockets. But we’ve got this. We’ve got to.


a Tweet that says: there are so many of us aren’t there?


in our little group
we rap squat
where Hamilton
once was
aside for a wetness on the
there is no sign
he was ever here
because he wasn’t
we ask two strangers
to take a photo of
us on an old camera
we can only look at
the image once the film
has been developed


after giving a speech at the Black Lives Matter solidarity march a kuia
so potent in her power gripped me by the arm and held
onto something that I hadn’t felt yet until that moment
and when we pressed our noses together the
whole thing just slid into place

a breath shared
that mingling
of carbon dioxide
and nitrogen
creates a meeting house for all the lines of our dead
past and present and future
to get to know each other
and come up with a plan

essa may ranapiri (Ngāti Raukawa/Ngāti Takatāpui/Clan Gunn/Highgate, England) is a poet from Kirikiriroa, Aotearoa. They are a graduate of the IIML’s 2017 Masters in Creative Writing course. Their first collection of poems titled ransack was longlisted for the Ockham in 2020. They are also the featured poet in Poetry Yearbook 2020 (Massey University Press). They will write until they’re dead.