blackmail press 21
Rosetta Allan
New Zealand

crossed cultures - special issue
Both feet walking

You have one
so do I
It’s the point
where our own
stories start.
As far back
as we can be bothered
but this isn’t mine.
Time didn’t land me here
in Aotearoa.
My feet don’t sink
like the roots
of the unrelenting Kauri
formed here in this earth,
claimed by the indigenous race
who wear their pride
and disgust
as a moko on the face.
No my tree is upside down
it narrows
as it heads north
to Poland, Ireland and France.
They came to new lands
with burning hope
for a shining future
and a fading past.
She sailed
into Akaroa as a child.
He jumped ship
in Hawkes Bay, aged 14,
carrying a suitcase
of old habits and the name

Hello Hello Hello

It should have started
Here – my heritage
rich, reaching,
giving me a hook.
But no Grandfather
sat with me
telling tales
of another time.
Of cousins
customs, hometowns
or farms.
Lost were the talents
of music and song,
words formed
on sheets of cream.
No great deeds
of forbearers,
no inspiration
for the days ahead.
Small round face
and constant desire
to escape
are all that remain
This space lays bare
in my cultural stance.
No impact,
or connection.
No christened ship to board
so I look around
for formation of my own.

Hello? Hello? Hello?

Many have worn the hats
of responsibility
Some only once.
She began the act
By birthing the child
from her dream
of beauty.
Then lost herself
within herself
and left the bags
at the station
for the lost.
Alienated within a realm
of nationalities,
state housing,
wife beating,
child raping,
and milk-in-schools.
Malnourished spirits
sent to Health Camp
to restore a flicker of vigor.
That Government heart –
financially supporting
those who squander,
the few bad apples in the cart.
Daring to hope
while still out at sea
the girl jumps ship, aged 14,
with no bags at all
and carrying the name

Hello hello hello

And so what?
Who cares
If anger filled my nights?
Venting my protest
in the Springbok march.
Eggs smack on crowns,
pig’s head impaled on a stick –
Muldoon is duly summoned
to answer for his smirk.
Enter the orange haired
Winkle Peckered punk
with the same desire for more.
We fall in love and marry young,
introducing our own children
to the jelly mold.
Tisk, Tisk
people would say
in ignorance with distain.
“Too different, won’t work,
just you wait and see.”
We leave it all behind
and get baptised
At Mission Bay –
changing only the shape
of our jelly mold.
Our business stands through
the Stock Market Crash,
to fall – later.
While Muldoon struts on stage
of the Rocky Horror Show
we plant a baby Oak,
from which we hope to carve our lifeboat.


Where is this going?
What is my place?
Do I dare to place a claim?
And exactly why does a lump form
whenever Kiri sings
for Air New Zealand?
I am one of a new breed
of pioneers
in this land of plenty.
Moving forward
each step as daring
and as hopeful as theirs.
yes aroha –
freedom to be and let be.
No longer intimidated,
my identity
is in my voice.
Not of this land
nor of that
and yet I belong.
Among the people
a new norm unfolds
as the national flag forms
a  sail.
As I prepare to board
our fine sailing vessel,
aged 34,
I carry suitcases
of experience,
and the name

Hello Hello Hello

Free to move,
dream and play,
we have conquered our own abyss.
Therefore, discovering
rolling over the hills,
in waves of creativity,
with the gentle breeze of adaptation.
The dress, the art,
literature and ideas
are unique,
full and fine.
A pride swells in my heart
as the voice
illuminates the night sky,
reaching over the waters
under a banner of many
and one.
Down here, not hiding
but growing strong
in the changing scenes.
I am a part
of this country’s beat –
the rhythm rolls
in my veins,
I can’t help
but feel its power.
My inititials now carved
into the trunk
of the old Oak,
now matured
and left to stand
in its own majestic space.

Hello Hello Hello

The Groove

My face is white but not ashamed, just quiet in a corner,
the fold so close its heat beats out – my appearance appearing yellow.

    Peace fronds placed in Pauwai Bay, Tohunga read in Piha,
    Hone loves to cream the sea – but I still can’t suck a kina.

              Cause my kete carries arms and legs, a European cluster,
              trees with roots I’ll never know – my sky wire cannot decipher.

                   But boy can we mix it, all finding the same groove
                   dancing round the kitchen bar – to BB’s guitar blues.

Featured Artist Fiona Holding
Rosetta had been a creative writer in the advertising industry for 20
years when her desire to be a poet took her back to University to
study. She has had work published both nationally and internationally.
Her first volume of poetry ‘Little Rock’ was published in 2007.
Rosetta’s heritage is a typical blend of European cultures mixed, lost
and reformed in Aotearoa over many generations. Her poetry reaches into
a new place of cultural definition, between the old and new – the here
and there, where she finds both strength and freedom.