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Alien Cyborgs Staining Their Fingers With Flower Stamens Then Swiping Left

By Hana Pera Aoake

Whenever I think about my phone I see it as an extension of my body. I’m constantly aware and chained to my body. I wonder whether I would undergo a cyborgization process and whether that would subvert the power dynamics that imprison my body. I was thinking about the violence of water today and how sharks were trying to eat the fibre optic cables in the ocean connecting us together. The ocean is like the cord that runs from one edge of my room to another plugging my computer in. Google maps erased Palestine off of google Earth. It’s now just ‘apparently’ apart of Israel, rather than being an illegally and aggressively occupied territory.

I wonder sometimes if we are all aliens and one day soon the world will implode. Baba Vanga. The ocean separates us but it also connects us. Islands continue to disappear. Did you know that if global warming continues ice caps in Greenland filled with radioactive waste will be released from an abandoned Cold War era US military camp. What if everything does break. My body erased. The blood of my ancestors who both stole and were stolen from. Erased. Displaced. Alien. I often think about how I came to exist and how the blood that flows through my bones is connected to trauma and to water. Thousands of years ago my ancestors travelled from Taiwan and spread throughout the pacific following the stars.

Breath is everywhere. There are no edges.[1]

I hate this sense of competition. It seems impossible to hold anyone accountable without seeming like an asshole or being framed as ‘aggressive’. Critical intimacy. Critical understanding. Safe spaces and safe people. Gaslight. Alienate. Aliens. Another alternate dimension. The freeing of the body. The promise of leaving the body through cyberspace. Control over the body. The white gaze that perpetually recolonizes me. Loss. Grief. Do androids dream of electric sheep? For some people it’s easy to be hateful online because there’s a disconnect between an online projected self and a real person. Emoticons as hieroglyphics. Emoticons as signifiers of emotionality. Coming together rather than tearing each other apart.

ii

All I could think as I sat on the ledge was how I suddenly felt very much alive

I often think about visual signifiers of power and how through language we articulate these conundrums. Foucault challenges the notion that power is wielded by people or groups by way of ‘episodic’ or ‘sovereign’ acts of domination or coercion. He describes it as being dispersed and pervasive. ‘Power is everywhere’ and ‘comes from everywhere’ so in this sense it neither has agency nor a structure. Oh Foucault.

This heaviness pulls at the weight of my breath. Bricks in my throat lumped together cutting across my lungs. I can’t breathe. I can’t go inside because I don’t want to relive the trauma of still being alive. I can’t have superfluous catch ups outside and not feel their presence. Widening my body to make it bigger. I can’t go inside to this carefree pākehā environment where no one thinks about the violence of the police, because they’ve never had to. I can’t go inside because I’m afraid. I don’t always feel afraid. My skin is lighter. Invisible brownness. I don’t feel safe in this area. The typography seems to grow bigger as I walk past. POLICE The colour blue is often said to be the most calming. Safer communities together. The facade of helping people. Colonial military forces enacting white violence in the name of safety. POLICE

I tried to jump off a over bridge in Auckland once and I got arrested. A policeman widens his body to occupy more space. U look like a half breed. Fear. Spear tackle me to the ground and hit me repeatedly. I wanted to die. Imagine if all the people sitting outside smoking cigarettes on the steps at Meanwhile weren’t predominantly white, middle class and art or design graduates from Massey. Place me in a cell for six hours alone after I try and kill myself. He couldn’t say my name but recognised my last name, because of my cousins. Kevin found solidarity and community through violence. Kevin’s life is crippled by a P addiction. Imagine if everyone at Meanwhile right now was brown. What would the relationship we have to this place be like? The constant indirect gaze of colonial authority leering over this window space. Using Te reo as a way of congratulating yourself on your whiteness. Living without autonomy. Drowning. Dragging memories like forgotten files across into the trash folder.

iii

My cousin said I was parahitiki and used too many big pākehā words.

[ Ko Ranginui e tū iho nei. Ko Papatūānuku e takoto nei ]

I went on a date and all I could think about was how much I wanted to pash him.

It wasn’t mutual

It wasn’t a match

It wasnít a friend vibe

I tried to really talk but no words came out that meant anything

Talking as fast as Loralei on Gilmore girls

I love simplicity

The act of not belonging

Cigarette stabbed out on ur arm

Social currencies

Ontological apathy

I love white boys

Life is just one big sausage sizzle after another except the meat is white

Satisfying and loving myself

Remember when we half had anal and I kind of liked it

Sexting this girl on tinder ill never meet in person

Standing on his chest in 6 inch heels

Pay me to sing Stars are blind by Paris Hilton at karaoke again

Remember when we got high and had sex to Cocteau Twins and u said u loved me so much it hurt

He found me on tinder so he could apologise for fetishising my body

Craving the validation of the white male.

Needing the attention.

You are okay

His gleaming whiteness just like all the others

Hetero desires based around assimilation

Never forget who you are

Pera is buried on Mount Taupiri looking out onto the Waikato te awa

The Waikato te awa is my tūpuna, taonga and the mauri of my iwi and itís what guided our waka through Aotearoa

I stood with her and felt the weight of her body

Astro turf as a signifier of how ongoing colonisation is

Dominance of social space

Small dogs

Funky hats

White dreadlocks

The wine was nice

Accept me

Value me

Desire me

Fuck me

Discard me

Sexless and without an anchor

Tied to nothing and no one

Without community

Without family

Without place

No mountain

No river

No waka

The mobility of the middle class

The burdens of the working class

But u are kingitanga

Pricking my finger

Blood steaming out of my body in slow pumps

Scraping my skin of all itís worth

Denying my duality

You are okay

Rage thatís permeated through my pores

Being Ďaggressiveí

Ur gaze and ur Ďpoonaahmouí steal everything thatís mine over and over again

Donít pop off

Museums and galleries just steal, fetishise and then pretend knowledges they can never understand

At least the olives were good

I want to fight Francis Upritchard

How fucking dare she though?

She just stole everything

Destroying all of her work

Burning city gallery

Iím sorry boo you canít subvert power dynamics as a white oppressor

At least there was a great cheese selection

Ur mihi lacked mana

The discomfort of whiteness

Patting your pākehā self on the back

My Tūpuna wrapping me in the cloak of their love and strength

I wanted you to love me

I wanted you to adore me

Spiders building webs across the ceiling

Dust clumping on to my body

Letting go of my anger

Not completely

Just letting it sizzle


[1] Anne Carson


Hana Pera Aoake is an artist and poet based in Te Whanganui-a-tara, Aotearoa. Hana primarily works collaboratively within the indigenous art collective Fresh and Fruity, which initially started as an ARI based in Ōtepoti. Hana’s work investigates their own positionality as both Māori and working class within institutional power structures within the art world. They are interested in writing as verb. Hana mostly works through text, conversation, performance and site specific interventions. Hana is currently crippled by debt studying a Master of Fine Arts at Massey University.

Hana Pera Aoake on Instagram