This poem came out as a burst of creativity in one sitting at the Blackbird Espresso Bar on Grafton Street in Cairns. The inspiration behind this came from the image of the Huli Wigman (a locality in the Papua New Guinean Highlands) while I was using Pintrest in a brainstorming session.
Part of the thought behind this piece of prose was aimed at being an exploration of how the Papua New Guinean man balances his own identity between pasin kastom, in the sense of being traditional, and being modern.
This is an ode to the modern man
whose voice echoed here and then
whose heart-lines drew lines across that ancient land
whose hands, blistered calluses, dug holes in those ancient lands
for foods to trade for cash so he could call himself the modern man.
This is an ode to that modern man,
who paid blood and tears for his children to have a life he could not understand,
to stand on lands he could not have again.
He is the modern man caught between the hands of time
with seconds ticking thin,
paint markings fading from his skin,
revealing visible scars from keeping the balance within,
on a fists edge, he keeps his worlds from colliding.
This is an ode to that modern man who still sits between now and then,
whose stone axe sits awaiting time in a GOMA Museum,
who will tell his grandchildren how it was used in his generation,
and how it disappeared in his generation.
And for them it will be history,
but for him it was his story
of how he became a modern man.
And now as he looks at the heart-lines on his hand
He recalls blistered calluses that connected him to ancient lands
and concedes to recite and ode to the modern man.