Waenganui

Image of Simone Workman at Coffee with Brownies: Bilingual Open Mic Poetry

Image of Simone Workman at Coffee with Brownies: Bilingual Open Mic Poetry


always craving a connection 

to my whenua 

to my

whakapapa

but

entangled in a whānau

who don’t give a...

fuck...

who we are, 

where we come from,

well, i want to know,

the Māori matriarch

who paved the way

for the mana wāhine

who bought me here today

i feel Māori

i don’t look it though 

i am Māori

i sound it though, 

apparently.

oh!

i get it, 

i have to open my mouth, 

for you to believe me

too whakamā

to claim my whakapapa

with skin so...

white

i guess i should count myself lucky, huh

we all know that 

pākeha is

parallel 

with 

privilege 

lucky me,

it has served me of course

light enough 

to get by in this land 

of the

long, 

white, 

cloud of privilege 

but the brown in my blood

is craving something more

connect me, 

to my tīpuna, 

to those who came before

engari, no hea? 

but where? where am i from?

where do i belong? 

the whenua my wairua inhabits

is somewhere between 

my whakapapa

and 

my absent white pāpā

watered down enough 

to get by

brown enough 

to feel i’m living a lie

but i’m getting by, of course, 

i’m getting by 

but is that too, a lie?

not knowing why

i reject

everything 

that serves me

but i’m not Māori enough

for those who with i want to be

pākeha people, 

sure, i can fit in with you, 

but...

i’m not really feeling you

but at least maybe i’m...

‘brown enough’

for you? 

it’s true

brown enough to be your token

when you need to appear

‘culturally competent’

but when it comes to a real kōrero

about representation

inclusion

and 

diversity

you guys 

don’t want 

a bar of me 

well i’ll continue, 

in my disconnect, 

helping you 

not feel

racist

what other choice do i have

when we’re 

this deep 

in

colonisation 

i’ll keep being

this 

or

that

one wahine / two worlds

maybe one day

i’ll win the war

but

i’m not really sure

who I’m fighting for