How to Love when the world is imploding

How to Love when the world is imploding

Remembering is the work. Seeing clearly is the work. Naming correctly is the work.

All day yesterday, every time my hands made contact with my keys, I thought of those families in Palestine who locked their doors and left their homes, never expecting not to be right back. 76 years later, they are still displaced, their land still occupied, the keys to their homes passed down to their descendants like a promise. It's tempting to think it merely poignant, until you imagine that those were your keys.

I loved what Nadia Abu Shanab said yesterday at an event to commemorate the Nakba here in Pōneke - essentially that, we need to start correctly naming things - Zionism and its DNA: European guilt (and denial) and European colonialism. We can't allow colonial myths, colonial brutality, colonial forgetting and colonial erasure to continue.

This morning we woke to more news of violence spreading in New Caledonia and do you know what I thought? I thought, I don't know the true name for New Caledonia, how the fuck is it that I don't know that? That's colonial erasure doing its number, still.

Kanak. Kanak is the name of the land colonised by France.

I'm ashamed of all I don't know and need to (re)learn. But this is the work. Remembering is the work. Seeing is the work. Naming is the work. Tracing the roots is the work.

Last night, Rangimārie Sophie Jolley and I were invited to read poems and we were both hesitant, not wanting to step into spaces and stories that belong to others. But as we were welcomed by our Palestinian community, it felt like a comfortable interlocking. Languages, cultures, tikanga - interwoven. To quote Nadia again, Indigenous solidarity as method, not just metaphor. What came forth despite the differences in our histories, is the common whakapapa - the roots of colonial violence. I have so much more to think on this, but I'm still processing how it challenges me and changes me.

The poem I ended up reading was partly a response to Rangimārie's (which hopefully she'll share if you follow her on IG.) It's amazing. There are many lines in mine, that call to hers - another example of indigenous solidarity as method. I wrote it in the way you might collect treasures along the beach - weaving words from text messages from friends in the morning, and sightings while out walking yesterday, my house keys in hand.

The title came about because I had been voicemailing a friend in the morning, and iphone autocorrected "I don't know how to live in a world that is imploding" to "I don't know how to Love in a world that is imploding". Proof, perhaps, that even AI knows that poetry is the language of the soul

How to love when the world is imploding

Fiercely, like we are alone together and this is our last loaf of bread
Confidently, like the baby kōwhai that mistook the early frost for spring, and bloomed early
Gently, like the tide returning after so long at sea, empty even of regret
Gravely, like two brown hands of the earth cupped to receive your still beating heart
Defiantly, like a weed tossing gaily its seeds to the wind singing, indigenous love, indigenous love!
Wisely, like the kāhu that scouts alone
Doggedly, like the sun that gets up, and gets up, and gets up and relentlessly gets up
Rebelliously, like the Tuī that mimics fools
Shamelessly, like we are not, deep down, terrified that cruelty might defeat us yet
Fearlessly, like we know we’re destined too for those brown hands, in time
Gracefully, like the strings of a kite on the wings of a poet