I am walking,
poetry on my phone,
for the first time.
The sound of my own voice,

Words enter
the sounds of silence,
on a city playlist
that’s never been so hushed.
An inner city playlist
I’ve never heard before.

There is something
about the very ordinary man
doing squats in the park
that makes me want to run to him:
tackle him,
bowl him over,
jump on him,
kiss him on the lips.

There is something
about the ordinary dad
with the bike helmet on,
ushering his kids safely
on the bridge
within a two-metre radius.
He is suddenly
and it makes me
want to put my hands
gently, on the sides of his helmet,
and say, hey,
I love you.

There is something
about the lone wolf man
on the horizon
in his noise cancelling earphones
standing on Mt Roskill
taking photos of the setting sun.
I want to say, hey,
Let’s meet under
the next full moon?

There is something
about the guy running
in his kung fu shoes
with his dreadlocks bobbing,
I want to say, hey,
Run home with me –
straight into my bed.

I want to say
to the two
impossibly athletic
tall blonde men,
speaking Russian
to each other,
in impossibly tight-bright tracksuits:
hey, wanna threesome?

It’s like joining a dating app
in the time of COVID –
a dating app
when no one
can really date.

There is something
about the untouchable
that makes me
want to touch.


Dr Karlo Mila (Tongan / Pākehā) MNZM is an award-winning poet, mother, writer, activist and researcher.  She is the Programme Director of the Mana Moana Experience at Leadership New Zealand. The kaupapa of this programme is to vitalise and prioritise Pasifika ancestral knowledge in contemporary contexts. Karlo lives in Tāmaki Makaurau with her three sons. Her third poetry book, Goddess Muscle, will be launched this year by Huia Publishers.