ESSA MAY RANAPIRI

a phone call about the nature of pronouns gendered and otherwise

u said u liked the ‘th’ sound in they and them the softening of it
and how it fitted around my rage
made it/for it
to be okay to touch
i talk u through other constructions
ones that subverted phonetics
me as a slice of not that
when expecting this
the xe sound like zay
and the formualation xir (pronounced zeer) which implies belonging to
as in their
or hers
or his
wishing u were mine
listening to the clap of ur feet
as ur
walking home or to a friend’s house
it is raining in the dark
u push my name up against the things i tell u
and that feels important

Image of essa may ranapiriessa may ranapiri (Ngāti Wehi Wehi, Ngāti Takatāpui, Clan Gunn) is a poet from Kirikiriroa. They are a part of the local writing group puku.riri. Their book ransack was published by Victoria University Press in 2019. They will write until theyre dead. Give the land back, all of it.

ranapiri comments: This poem is a love poem one about romantic love for someone else but also love for the self; finally understanding that youre worthy of being respected in certain ways. Also I guess its a bit of a lesson on how to pronounce some of the constructed pronouns I use in the book. I like to resist understanding a lot in ransack but here and in other places I want to be received clearly.

​Poem source details >

Links
essa’s website
Victoria University Press author page

Photographer credit: Loren Thomas