Poetry in Motion

Promotional Caption of our Poetry Recital at Java Cafe – Phnom Penh, Cambodia, November 7, 2012. I was one of the guest poets. The incomparable Cambodian poet Kosal Khiev created this amazing night.

My first taste and journey as a poet was learning to find my foothold in a country vastly different from the comfort of my home here in Aotearoa New Zealand. I now sit and think about 20 years of my life living in Cambodia. Little did I know what was waiting for me when I arrived at Pochentong Airport Cambodia, travelling across the border from Thailand. To be greeted by friends I now call family. It was an unexpected turn of events in my life. Going into a new world, wide-eyed and unaware of what was ahead of me. I certainly didn’t fathom that some years later I’d be writing poetry. Reciting poetry at Java Cafe among an eclectic group of people, foreigners and Cambodian alike.

I started writing poetry as an outlet for many other reasons to compensate by living in a country that struggled to find its sense of self out of years of uncertainty. In a time where people are still trying to evolve out of an event spurred on by the cold war, Vietnam war, Indochina related colonialism and politics. As products of communism and socialism gone wrong. It was my experiences of living in the remnants of the Khmer Rouge that caused devastation to its citizens. Living among a people picking up what was leftover and trying to figure out how to survive and return to some sense of normalcy. Or whatever that word means to them at the time. So, this modern-day Cambodia is where my inspiration to write poetry brought me alive. Putting my penmanship skills into overdrive.

My life in Cambodia dramatically changed my whole view of the world and it still challenges me today. And therefore, I found solace and solemnity in writing poetry to exercise my voice and emotions in the hope that someone will listen and pay attention. I found poetry, or rather, it found me. It helped me write a new world out of figuring out where I fit when it feels likes I don’t. When it feels like you will always be the one looking through the window hoping that someone will invite you in. And if they do, you still don’t fit in. My poetry is written from the point of struggling to find a place to belong. Even when it feels like you don’t. Poetry is the place I can learn to be who I am with no doubts and regrets. 🙂 And so I write like a rebel without a cause testing the pages and waiting to see what comes out of it. Something inspiring or not. But alas here it is my blog dedicated to my poetry in motion, dedicated to the unshakable that’s within me. Like a moody brooding taniwha clawing its way out to greet the sun.

My poems I wrote listed below:

My poem was called ‘This Woman’s Work’ inspired by a fusion of the song by the legendary Kate Bush and my interpretation of what this means for me. How our world is shaped by the women in our lives and the emotions it brings out in the men who try to find understanding too.

Java Cafe – November 7, 2013. My first poetry recital. It was an amazing turnout that night. A fundraising event for a collective of poets helping in the community.

This Woman’s Work

This Woman’s Work
This Woman’s work ain’t easy at all
Up and down every fall
Sustain
Maintain
Retain the fallen man
She struggles to see an end
To be a friend
A lover
Wife and mother

This woman’s work hurts like hell
I see her crying
Trying
Hoping to give it all
He stops her all the time
It’s his turn
To reach out
Touch her
Love her
Lift her
From all the things that we should have done
Her life was no fun
Tears of pain
Strain

On this November night
Like a rocket in the sky
Inner power
Strength of a thousand
And a thousand more
Dressed as a rocket her body says yes
She explodes into the night
Full of strength
Power and passion
For the man she loves
The women she loves
The children she loves
The lover she loves

We said she was crazy
She’s on fire
This women is on fire
In love
In hate
In all the anger she can bring
String together
Hold together
For all whatever
This woman’s work is more than you and I
Look into the sky
She is there like a rocket
Exploding
True to herself
Of all the things we should have done
She remembers all
Surrenders to all

This woman’s work ain’t easy
She’s my mother
My sister
My cousin
My lover
My other
She’s the old lady begging
The child on the street
Burning up her feet

This woman’s work ain’t easy
Size 5 lightening boots
Walking the moon if she has to
Giving birth if she wants to
The strength of a thousand
And a thousand more
Shape shifter is this woman
My friend like
Changing gender
Transgender
Surrender to the power of a woman
The woman is in me
In you too
Fluid like water
Smooth as silk
Rough as bark

This woman’s work aint easy
You and me
She gives me life
Breathes life
Taken from the man
She gives life
Takes life
Is life
The meaning of life
Reaching out for the hands
She works to the bone
Like no other
Like my mother
Takes the abuse of a man
Like no other
Like my mother

This woman’s work aint easy
She can’t say yes
She can’t say no
Our bodies seem to say yes
In passion in love
Like Solomon
The Lilly of the Valley
For you

She says:
I don’t want your bull shit yeah
I just want your sexuality
No excuses yeah
Nothing but you and me
Me and You

This woman’s work aint easy
Hard to the core
Walks the streets for money
Calling every man honey
Making that money
No shame is what she does
No one else will pay
She is everything in one
What you want her to be

This woman’s work aint easy
The fantasy of many
Sister, mother, lover
Friend
The goddess I worship
Mary
Joan
Saint and sinner
She’s the only winner

This woman’s work is like hell
Like magic and its spell
Witches, dykes and all
Beginner of the fall
I love her anyway
She’s my mother
Friend and more
Gives me hope for one more day
In another way
To see this world
In the arms of my lover

This woman’s work ain’t easy
All the things we should have said
That we never said
Like a cold gun
Selling her soul
To the man
But only she knows her worth
Time and space
Space and time
She is worth more

This Woman’s Work
It’s time for the man
To reach out his hand
Lay down if he can
Remember this woman
The Rose of Sharon for you
She pushed and pulled for you
Multi tasked everything for you
Bared all the pain for you
She’ll still be here for you
This Woman’s Work….