Wind the tape back by Danielle O'Halloran


Danielle O'Halloran reads her own poem, Wind The Tape Back, written in response to the exhibition Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

Ani O'Neill 'etu iti
Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū; purchased 2018

View on soundcloud

Same shit different day.

Different day same shit.

Taking the god with the bad 

like we always have 

somethings gonna have to give.


What we see is real

signposts the looters left. 

The stars are back in lines for 

a new era of love and discomfort

we just forgot how to read 

stuff the stories missed

like how every action has a reaction

and ours is to seek the higher.


Taking care of the remains

rituals made of now and then 

once were voyagers 

with handfuls of light, now

Inside us the dead 

where all the stuff and monuments 

are turned to sand.

The heart takes it all.


Our sovereign selves are

plastic skinned survivors

made of video and 

fish hooks we pull up

along all eight points of the star mound

to remake the sacred centre 

wherever we happen to be born.


Wind the tape back 

and no worries if it's stuff you forgot

Go ask the kids and they’ll tell you.

Ask the manu, the gogo, the piwakawaka, the kowhai, the rosemary, the peach, go ask your dog.

It's all good.

You're not lost.

You got-choo. 

Author's notes:
'Taking care of the remains' refers to an account given by his Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Efi (former Head of State and Prime Minister of Samoa), and his recollections of an event at Pulemelei star mound, archaeological dig, from his book Su’esu’e Manogi: In Search of Fragrance.
'Inside us the dead' - is borrowed from Albert Wendt's poem of the same name.