Beginnings of an interrogation of the text

By Anne-Marie Te Whiu

26 March, 2021

This piece was developed during Annie’s writing residency at Carriageworks as part of No Show (12 Feb-7 March). 

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OLD NEW ZEALAND—A Tale of the Good Old Times By a Pakeha Maori Edited by T.M Hocken F.L.S, Published by Whitcombe and Tombs Limited, 1930 


waiting to be adopted
caged kittens curl and groom themselves at the top of the stairs make my way down 
saturday markets and humidity and rain
umbrellas and couples and flowers
and rye loaves
wrapped in white tissue paper  
which will not be saved for christmas time
like my nanna did 


I step inside but the outside moves with me
scan a code
accept terms and conditions 
go further
past post punk installed fury
beyond care bears
hover over good will hunting and those divine runways until
I pause by floating partitions 
a staff member smiles
then quickly looks away 


I find my our place
adjacent to
just around the corner
within eye shot 
of close contact
moments drawn
towards tables
inched together
self-doubt surfaces 

in the same way
different fonts
grouped together
you feel


I open a book
the one I slipped inside my bag 
years ago 
from the library
it will never be returned
I was compelled to remove it 
from a shelf
with my Ancestor’s blessings
so that this destructive version 
of far-fetched and fraught and fanciful stories may not continue down the line
I smuggled this book out
it travelled a long way
held here in my hands and foucault fingers pages upon pages
some glossed with images
most lined with lies 
hard cover looks soft now
ready to 
face the music 


kanohi ki te kanohi
my flammable eyes survey this 
landscape of literature
I flick through moth-wing dusty pages
some books look like bibles in disguise 


I breathe in historical odour
the archive of me meets the archive of him
my brown blood on simmer
some pages want to come away from the lumbar
spine time cannot continue to hold 
that which is uncontainable
twisted history fails the polygraph test