I’m choosing Hinemoana Baker this week for two reasons. One, because she’s a dear friend and I love her work. And two – oops, that’s three. Three, she’s just been chosen for the Creative New Zealand Berlin Writer’s Residency. Extremely exciting.
I am the last born
I move through the crowd with my shiny red wheels
I bring with me large animals and flaming spikes in
I am the last born and I know who I want to vote for
I know the identity of the figure in black
Low prices are written all over my face
I am the last born and I have a long following
Everything and everyone is my elder
I move through the relatives in my green leaves
I eat canoes and drink inlets
I have a beard and a small fat crab inside my shell
I am the last born the põtiki the teina
Everything breaks its back over me but there are
Many ways to build from scratch and in spite of the fact
That every fourth corner of the land has been walked
Over I make everything ready, being the last born
I am desired at each event, to lay down the
Cow leather, to direct people to the location of
The demons, the devils in the tarmac
We all bite something for a living
I know not to rave and shout when I reach these places
I bring children with me, just the right number
Of pumpkins and I sing completely out of tune
Buying up all the land around with my lucky sand dollars
I love all the lines in this poem, but I particularly love “We all bite something for a living.” That’s just incredible. Stop being so goddamn talented.
From her website:
Hinemoana Baker is a published poet, a singer-songwriter, recording artist, teacher of creative writing and occasional broadcaster.
Her first book of poetry, ‘mātuhi | needle‘, was co-published in New Zealand and the US in 2004. Actor, writer and artist Viggo Mortensen‘s publishing house Perceval Press co-published the book, which features the paintings of Ngāi Tahu artist Jenny Rendall.
Hinemoana’s first album, ‘puāwai’ (Jayrem Records, 2004) was a finalist for the NZ Music Awards and the APRA Silver Scrolls Māori Language award.
Her second collection of poetry, ‘kōiwi kōiwi | bone bone’ (Victoria University Press), was launched in Wellington in 2010. She co-edited the anthology ‘Kaupapa: New Zealand Poets, World Issues’ in 2007, and has released four more CDs of music and poetry.