Response to Pantene ‘3 minute miracle’ ad:

‘After shampoo and every wash, use three minute miracle.’

After every wash – which is at least once a day, using products that are so deeply embedded already in daily life and quietly kept on the shower shelf; a soft, silky and daily disguise against the signification of the constant requirement for re-application in the promise of ‘stronger, softer, silkier hair’.

Here, there is no lasting moment of deliverance; it must constantly be re-attained.

After the disappointment of imperfect hair following the first promise, apply again a further product; seek a further promise.

“I need more than my conditioner, I need a miracle.”

“Introducing, Pantene’s new 3 minute Miracle conditioner.”

“Make a change, see the change and feel the change.”

Again, we are sold a fake miracle, our act of purchase a co-optation of hope and aspiration – an addiction to the next product, or rather, an addiction to the promise of promise.

Once addicted, to leave ones hair unkempt for a day is to lay amidst constructed ruins.

two mountainous ridges

you approach, curious, ask to look inside but not to invade;
we try to be generous,
our body language is the dip between two mountaneous ridges split by the last sun –
the words “almost three months” enter the world a morning mist, i feel
softly de-centred; trying to realise that even a photograph never can return us to these moments.

if you give a thing a name, does the name become a net?
a quiet spider’s web reaching out across the sky?
in the campsite carpark under the milkyway, you name this an “alternative lifestyle”
we later fill in the gaps: post-work, post-politics, post-rent: another world emerges.
is this reminiscient of the post-60s technological Utopia of horizontalisation, fairness, equality, democracy
that Adam Curtis taught us of? be warned!

what does it mean for assymetry to exist so strongly, fragmented and splitting the human worlds?
‘our class’ – these words become important, here, too, because travelling so freely is not free.
on the internet we sell identities – of people, of things, of ideas.

we are still lost trying to make sense of the last meeting.
food shared becomes moments shared between new friends,
later they are identified by their home country.
cultural differences become apparent even in micro moments.

cut across the the water at 8 am

the shore line is a still reflection
shaking, i am a small naked human body
caught in between the double movement of real and mirror image,

pried open with the strength of this landscape-
the mist breathes out across the landscape of myself, as if it were never there.
what is a memory?

wrinkly hands gently lower into the temperate pot of boiled water from 30 minutes earlier:
the questions we wanted to ask but never found space, lost in translation or
instead spread across your oven-warmed toast.

an empty nutella jar,
or the serious questions that did not find space easily,
because life here is ‘easy-going’.

memories of the last step break the surface,
conversation ripples between 6 strangers who share tea, toast, a swim,
we are contextual beings –

generous, violent; multiplicitous.
we are made of chemicals.
we are all human.

unknowable, like the veering path of a raindrop down our windscreen that is blown off course;
i am not that raindrop.
the bubbled transformation of steps moving forward, breaking water as a reminder of movements just past.

 

grey mouth

today, we find ourselves waking
45k from a national tragedy,
stretched between openness and closure.

get in the car, his head tilt said
and ‘cunt’ was the endearing term he chose when they first pulled up besides
the ute and four square beach towel, 3 metres from us.
does the word ‘agency’ retain any riches here?

the air is perfumed smoke; old mine, gold digging.

across that 3 metres of gray gravel worlds, she and i share a brief glance –
open door, closed window, stove top coffee, take away coffee,
a meeting neither of us knew how to respond to.
should i look away?

fags hanging out sides of mouths at 9 am,
there will be rain for a week.
‘good on ya’ –
even foreigners get confused about ‘real kiwi living’.

a conversation with a stranger

If your grandparents rose from the grave and ‘saw how many Asians
lived in Invercargill,’
you tell us they would die again.

We are the first NZers you have met on day 1 of your 5 day trip,
while you wear badge of ‘tourist’ up here:
you say you wanted to see somewhere new, you talk to everyone.

I am trying to make myself opaque
as you talk about how the Māoris in Invercargill are
“good Māoris”

Your quick backtracking suggests my face gave away some secrets,
and I later question my own judgement that heard me repeating in my own head:
“that would not be appropriate, that would not be appropriate,

challenging him on these comments would not be appropriate
right now, on holiday, under the bright sky and sun, on the furthest part of the South Island;
be kind, listen, learn: the sheep pastures are our idealic backdrop.

When counts as appropriate?
When counts as appropriate to challenge a stranger, now over and over again.
My white body is not a signal of what I consider appropriate for casual conversation between strangers.

When you ask where we are from,
you were kind and happy and well-meaning, told us proudly of your family, your wife, your daughter;
we were a young ‘kiwi’ couple, listening to Gil Scott and blending into tourists,

learning about this place we are from.

two bands in the front lounge

a historicized love of a 6 year genealogy made from maps,
i am the new owner of a blind memory caught on these streets –
jeans lost in lipstick.

smoke trails excuse themselves from the building, calling
‘the white man is a problem’ and other drags –
your words evaporate like beer foam,

these are cris-crosses named gatherings,
dressed by the movement of moss on the
pavement above a tunnel haunted by the music of shared mythologies;

the question that fingers search to answer
against the textures of a purse gone mad;
opened front doors.