blackmail press 26
Helen Tionisio
New Zealand

from: Angipanis of the Abanimal People - Andy Leleisi'auo
Helen Tionisio is a new and exciting "pasifika" poet / spoken word artiste. She recently competed in the Montana Poetry Day Slam 2009 and placed in the finals. Her style of writing is described as, 'engaging, confrontational, witty and intelligent' -Doug Poole editor blackmail press & montana poetry day slam 2009 judge.
Helen has featured previously in blackmail press, and has peformed previously at poetry live.

Nana Ila

Touching weather
Touching leather
Touching you Nana
Upon your face
The grooves of your wrinkles
Oiled with laughter & smiles & coconut oil
Tells me a story

Takes me on a journey
I feel
The sun of Samoa
The winds of Aotearoa
The salty ocean
And your tears
Falling in the ketebags under your eyes

The weaves, the folds
Of happiness and courage
Tell the drama
Of fa’alavelave
The fortune
Of family mafutaga
The sweat
Of hard work

Touching your skin
Storylines come out then in again
Tell me
May I finish the next chapter?
Will you read it to me?
Over and over
The part about your sisters
Defending, Fending, Fighting
Other girls from the other village
And how you met papa
What was it like having
Brothers walk you to school
Cook and clean for you

Touching you Nana
What a beautiful story

Recession Bites

First it was a nibble
Then ALL of a sudden
There were these teeth marks
On my purse
They found there way through
My bank accounts,
The petrol,
The food,
The bills,
And then
It BIT me!
Not palagi nibbly bite sizes
I’m talking Polynesian, Melanesian
Disgusting even
Chunks out of my pay

Recession bites

What does that mean?
That my money’s in recess?
That my money’s in flat?
Give me a break from this recession
And when I say break
I don’t mean pay cuts or job cuts!

How did this all start?
The beginning of what feels like the end?

I’d like to tell this ‘Recession’ a thing or too
With my own two hands
Might get my uncles on it
Tell them “recession ‘hit’ me”
Make them so angry they would ‘Gill’ Recession
Even if it was girl
‘Who is dis receshion e?
‘She lives where?!’
Clenching their calloused sandpaper brown hands
See, Recession’s got the uncles working extra hours
For Time in lieu!!

Obsession with recession
And petrol hikes
Everybody’s buying bikes
Trading cars for motorbikes
But not us Aucklanders
Escapism is a bought lunch from a foodcourt
& manicured fingernails
Only enough pingas though to get two nails done
The middle ones!
Instant gratification, no regrets
Until the next day when I needed it!

Recession bites

Money’s so tight
I can barely breathe
Between paychecks
& eftpos transactions
Got me so uptight I’m watching
Every move I make
Every swipe I take
Every time I ate
Every shout I paid
Every penny I saved
Every dollar I gave
Every increased rate
CCTV’s watching me!
Stalking me
Hunting me down

Well is it watching you recession?!
Surveillance on every job you take?
Every heart you break?
Every ‘downturn’ you fake?
We’re all watching you
Waiting for you to get the hell out of here!

While we eat Home brand bread Monday
Budget noodles Tuesday
Eagerly anticipate Wednesday – payday!
AP’s, credit card payments out Thursday
Everyone’s happy it’s Friday!
Weekend comes, weekend’s gone too soon
I was over the moon
Now I’m out in the fricken cold
Harsh reality of RECESSION

Bites like frostbite
Kept me up all bloody night
Couldn’t sleep a wink
Woke up next morning
Wondering if I should call in work
Sorry Boss I can’t come in today
Recession’s bit me so bad
I can’t walk
I can’t talk
Boss empathises with the redundant though:
‘Get your pöhara butt back in the office
- That’s the only thing that’s gonna cure it

Recession bites hard
So I bite back hard-er
Sensodyne won’t do anything to relieve the pain
Not even a self defense class
Cos Recession kicks ass!
But it won’t last
Thanks to the help of family and friends
I’ll make it in the end
Me, my scarred purse
& my manicured fingernails

© Helen Tionisio 2009