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Hinemoana Baker
New Zealand

cast down - mephisto jones
Hinemoana Baker is a poet, editor, musician and producer currently living in Brisbane as 2009 Arts Queensland Poet in Residence. She began as a playwright for Taki Rua, New Zealand’s first indigenous theatre collective. Hinemoana’s writings have featured in many anthologies, including Best New Zealand Poems, SPORT and Landfall. Her first poetry collection, ‘mātuhi | needle’(2004), was co-published in New Zealand and in the United States. Her new collection is due out in early 2010. Her poetry, (‘…like my relations’, she says) is a mix of Māori and European influences, coupled with an abiding passion for sound and sonic art.
Dismantling the Crane

What is silver? Into this finger-space
the kotuku appears, flying once only
and far – to Holland, the vacated

apartment of your quiet friends
beaded slippers for sale
behind the silhouette

of the Moroccan woman whose feet
have been hurting her all day.
What is lost, here, where there was not

even eye contact, not even
eyes? Here a woman floated half-
miserable above land clutching

a posy – now there are growing
flowers, red with fat, sappy
green stalks and spongy leaves

and beside them the neighbourly
buttercups. Silver has become
hammer and aluminium. The star

in her firmament makes her way
over Rarotonga murmuring
hoki mai, hoki mai...

Meanwhile, how can this tui
be so violently black? White
petals could be made of

icing sugar, he flutters his wattle
with his two voice boxes. I sit here
wearing my bottletop, my lips, the dome

above me dewy with condensation. Outside
men in orange vests prepare
to dismantle the crane

its four ropes of chain rise
like snakes from the bed
of a dusty truck, link after link

on and on, until the morning
is over.

(a confection for two voices)

why is it that sugar        once upon a time
doesn’t taste the way she used toI could take it all day
it’s as if i’m shutting down    and all night, i’m serious

i’m serious

or parts of me are shutting downthere was no problem

there should be no problem
there shouldn’t be anything shutting down
nothing should be dying like that
not at this age

but it doesn’t agree with me it was all about excess
the tiny, pitted, porousfree will and appetites
surfaces of my very tongue  looking at me like that all day
i want to address myself        from the surface, from the
like a letter to sugar       smooth table top

sugar oh sugar
you don’t agree with me
you never agree with me
any more

'Sugar' uses the two-voices device and page layout of US poet emily xyz. She performs her poems with her long time stage partner Myers Bartlett, and has published them in 'the emily xyz songbook' (Rattapallax Press, New York, 2004). Basically, the left column is said by one voice, the right by the other, each line different text but said at the same time. The centre column (in bold) indicates both voices speaking the same words at the same time. Go on, give it a go.