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.