Ancestral House

I was reading about the Ancestral House

Trying to fit my tongue

Around the ngā’s and pō’s and wiki

Passing through a kōruru belly

Saying, this is the house and these are the people

The tiny eyes of god, to twenty quiet faces

I ask you questions like

do you think progressing in your job matters 

When the earth is going to kill us

You tell me it’s good to be ambitious

But I hate ambition 

And I want to staple this culture 

Of self-optimisation to the door

So you have to look at it every time you come home. 

Because I have to look 

as  I slip into the expected tapestry

Of mental illness under late capitalism. 

Like dissociating in the supermarket 

and writing the wrong date on the whiteboard

Match the furies that fill up the quiet spaces

With even more silence 

That press a hand to my back in the shower. 

Some days I am so ornamental 

That I’m not myself, just the breath 

Of another person’s imaginings: an idealisation

Where they buy me outfits 

and adjust my papier-mâché skin  (always hiding

the worst layers)

To put back on the shelf when they’re done. 

Look at the wind, and it is full of words

Whakarongo, it moves of its own accord 

and when it does it will not wait politely for you.

Kei te pupuhi te hau, e hoa mā

That is silly; wishful

and there is no point pretending it won’t.

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