2021 award winner

South – Caitlin Jenkins

By | 2021 award winner | 11 Comments


our streets grow tread marks in the pattern of tapa cloth,
the men in blue roam them recreating
Da Vinci —
bronze skin mona lisa.
who knew your last supper would be a $2.50 Big Ben pie and a bottle of stars—
will we ever breathe the same freedom
as our brothers north and west?
cause oceania’s waves feel a little too familiar in the backseat
gps broken cause somehow it only circles round these streets—
you are but a direction on auckland’s map,
folded tightly into the plastic corners of
red and blue led lights,
police siren jams but not the jawsh 685 type
… forever branded as the bottom
the south of new zealand…
but it’s okay,
we’ll tau’olunga on their disrespect
wake them up at dawn with our cheehoos
breathe a brown colour palette back into their colourless minds
love us enough to not need it from anyone else
grow with each other
be strong with each other
block out their white noise with white noise
fill the cracks of Aotearoa’s pavements with more reasons to love south…
and put us back on the map…
unfold us out of the plastic corners of red and blue led lights
help reverse the damage of our roots with the healing of our new generations
cause leaves still bloom even more beautiful after the fall
for when our streets grow tread marks
we’ll repaint them with coconut oil and fala paongo,
when the world wants our faces to kiss the concrete
we’ll still be safe in the arms of papatuanuku
cause when things go south—
we’ll deal with them like south—
with the love our roots nourish us in….
bronze skin mona lisa,
who knew your last supper would be a feast of the colonised minds…
undo the bleaching of your brown colour palette
refill them with all shades of you
cause no direction will define where we’re really from,

Caitlin Jenkins
Year 13
Papatoetoe High School