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A collection of poems

Writing Each Other

you have shown me ‘your’ literary-ness

since forever
in the Norton Anthology of Poetry
from the feet of *kai valagi teachers
swaying on the unconventional relationship
of Lear’s ‘Owl and the Pussycat’, pg. 750, 2nd Edition.
i have swallowed your personifications and metaphorical loads,
fastened your meter and rhyme behind my ears like a hearing aid,
lathered my pages with modernist playfulness and ambiguities.
this was how to ‘make it’ into your literary canon, you said.
be mysterious. show don’t tell. release the visceral goddess.

now let me show you ‘mine’.



Hanuj ‘ạkia ‘inosot ne noh ‘e ta hanuet.
‘Ea fā ta on asa le Pusi ma as ‘on hȧn ta le Ruru.
Inos te’ kat noh ‘oaf‘oaf ra.
‘E te’ ne terạni, Pusi ma Ruru la hạipeluạg
‘e reko Ruru kạluạg‘en ma fāat on asa le Armea.
Iriạ rua la hạipeluạg ‘e av ne ‘amaha.
Iriạ rua la hạipeluạg ‘e av ‘ate iạnina.
Iriạ rua la hạipeluạg ‘e av ne ‘omoe.
Ma ta terạnit, Pusi ‘ea se Ruru,
‘Gou ravātia ‘e hạipeluga ma gou tä la ‘ania ‘äe’.
Ma le Ruru kat re tärtär ra.
Iạ fer mij pau se Armea ma hạipeluạg ta to‘ak‘äk fakapạu.

Ma iriạ rua noh ‘oaf’oaf ‘e te’ ne ava
ma tape’ ma se le Pusi.
Ma tä’ma morea’ ma ӧfse’ea.

[storyteller’s call to attention!

audience’s heeding reply!

Here is a story of a couple who lived at a place, unknown.
It is said that the husband’s name was Pussycat and the wife’s name was Owl.
This couple did not have a happy marriage.
Every day, Pussycat and Owl would fight
because Owl was sleeping around with the honey eater, Rotuma Myozela.
They would fight while having breakfast.
They would fight while having lunch.
They would fight while having dinner.
So one day, Pussycat said to Owl,
‘I am tired of fighting so I am going to eat you’.
So Owl wasted no time.
She flew very quickly to that Rotuman honey eater and the fighting stopped immediately.
And they lived happily ever after.
And so did Pussycat.
And here the story ends].

it is my hope

that sooner rather than later

you will learn to write ‘me’

as I have learnt to write ‘you’.

*kai valagi — white people (Fijian)

Mere Taito is originally from Rotuma, Fiji. She is based in Hamilton and works at the University of Waikato. She is the author of The Light and Dark in our Stuff, a chapbook of poetry. Her work has also appeared in various anthologies and creative journals such as Wild Honey, Landfall, Manifesto Aotearoa, Ngā Kupu Waikato, Phantom Billstickers Café Reader, Poetical Bridges (a translated English-Romanian collection of work), Flash Frontier, So Many Islands (work from writers in the Caribbean, Oceania, and Mediterranean), and Bonsai (an anthology of flash fiction). Her poem ‘The quickest way to trap a folktale’ was selected as a Best New Zealand Poem (BNZP) for 2017.