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June 6, 2017 | by  | in Opinion |
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My thoughts on love

Love feels like a damp stick clutched in my grubby hand,

And the brittle quality of a woven flax mat.

It feels like my feet graunching against the dirt as I slip down the bank.

Love sounds like, “welcome to the clubhouse!” in hushed tones through the undergrowth;

This is a privilege we have created for ourselves.

Perhaps we had no pot to piss in,

But we pissed in the bushes rather than walk down to the public toilets because they were full of broken glass designed to catch unwary feet unawares,

And sometimes the older kids would jump us on the way.

One day I took a shit in the hydrangeas and my friend stepped in it

I don’t think I’ve laughed so much since.

 

Love tastes like

White bread and a little bit of marmite, the margarine so thick it pools on top.

Weetbix and raw sugar.

Pour the milk on first, then add the sugar — the kids gotta see they got some.

Love smells like

Cigarettes and tomato plants,

Slow cooked corned beef and vegetables.

Love sounds like

Mum yelling down the phone at a relative, she’ll drive two hours south to Whanganui to cook her dinner if they won’t do it themselves — so rinsed is her sibling with home brewed alcohol.

Love feels like

Headgear biting into my scalp, mouth guard clenched and the smell of other people’s sweat in my nostrils. South Wellington love is tough love.

 

Love looks like a familiar face in the wharekai,

But when I last saw him one eye was swollen shut and weeping pus.

His eyes are clear and they dance when I remember his name with his toast.

Ka Pai, Rimutaka.

 

Love feels like the grass beneath my hands in Hastings Cemetery, my sister and I cartwheeling in front of a burial plot.

Love feels like a widow, a matriarch making good her husband’s desire to make good on migration for a better life.

Wallah Poppa, your children’s hands caught your torch,

And your gravestone is the cleanest in all of Hastings.

 

Love is the extra place set at the table.

Mum immortalised this with cutlery on canvas, mounted on the kitchen wall.

A spot that’s reserved for someone who’s been away for a long, or short time.

Prison, rehab, and death can be quite occupying.

 

But Mum always believed love is a movable feast,

And a constant amongst the dinner guests

Whenever they arrive.

 

 

This piece was first published in Tui Motu Issue 203, April 2016.

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