essa may Ranapiri (Ngāti Wehi Wehi, Ngāti Takatāpui, Clan Gunn) is a poet based in Kirikiriroa whose first collection of poems, Ransack, was longlisted for the 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. This poem, commissioned by Britomart and written in response to the state of lockdown, is entitled Take. 


it takes dancing pirouette in the lounge 

ur dress swinging off ur naked body 

mascara getting in ur eyes 


tear through the book u left unread for three years 

it takes thawing the pastry over the vegetables 

frying in the pan and almost burning the pastry but 

catching it before 

it gets to that 

about being jealous of ur friend making 

tino rangatiratanga design tees in 

Animal Crossing 


want to forget want to forget 40 days and 40 nights


it’s the calendar being a rough guide 

pinned into a face we drew on the newspaper 

is it approving is it trying to tell us something about the nature of the air 


watch as Tane strains to push us apart so that we may see each other live


it takes freezing the very machine of capital 

it takes rancid beats on the lives of the rich of the policy makers who would have us

all dread 

it takes the drying flower crowns hanging up for heads to hold

it takes cracked egg with yolk break and cracked egg with yolk retained whole 

it takes peeling the blutack off of the maramataka 

it takes the moon leaning inwards to slow the tides of industry 

it takes a boss that doesn’t understand what is going on 

it takes playing battle royales all day 

it takes being saved by GodJustLikeBanMe on Titanfall 2 

it takes the kid outside on their trike and sound of plastic wheels on asphalt


it takes learning Māori in the morning 

te whare nei

te pukapuka nei 

te pene nei 

te tītipi nei 

tēnei wā

tēnei wāhi 


it takes a spiral of people standing further and further apart 

feet pressed into the earth hands raised to the sky like we’re summoning a spirit bomb to cleanse of our sickness 

a mass exorcism as the free market shits itself 


it takes posting horny selfies on Twitter and Instragram 

to summon the ancestors 

to summon the atua of no-more-neoliberalism 

of no more exploitation of essential workers 

no more selling the land for oil 

no more backing behind the dollar 

as it descends 

no more landlords on their landlord thrones 

no more real estate agents in their stolen homes 

no more cops to enforce the tyranny of

big big big big business  

no more pointing at the gdp and screaming this is the cost of people living on the streets living from couch to couch from meal to meal open mouths 

no more colonial bullshit 


to summon an atua that cares about tāngata whenua 

block off ur roads my people 

let the iwi rule on their rohe 

let the people of the land keep it 

keep the manu keep the ika 


keep the future held close in ur arms 


let the people who take and take and takē 

take stock of what they got 

cos it’s nothing but a dollar sign 

signifying [                ]

and leave them to their own devices 



the clothes flying onto the couch

blinking out the black bits in ur eyes

kanikani ‘til you can’t no more 

swinging ur arms around 

hugging the curtains and singing 

playing Tākaro while Netflix flickers on and on 

the whole universe of online

the whole universe of fibre 

holding together as we hold each other at arm’s length 

this is what it takes to survive capitalism in its death throes

fingers crossed