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Selina Tusitala Marsh's launch poem for Mophead

Selina's tokotoko

Mophead: How Your Difference Makes a Difference, written and illustrated by Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh, was launched at Unity Books Auckland on 24 October 2019. The following poem was written by Selina to commemorate the occasion.


Saving Mophead

I must save Mophead
From the ties, the clips, the combs
I must save her head
From the too-tight buns

I must save her scribbly hair
From the eraser's erasure
I must save her three-lashed eyes
Prevent them from closure

I must save her uneven arms
Her crooked elbows
Her arrow knees, her too-large feet
Her widely splayed toes

From the straight-backed stick figure men
Ruling the solitary line
Each each brother’s keeper
in bold, consistent, mime

For she is a broken thing
Ululating in black curves
Awkward in her struggling
Twisted, spiralled, swerving

Lava-lined cracks and fissures
Exploding in space
Impromptu fill-ins
racing over trace

For she, like tokotoko, blazes
Wherever she's drawn, she goes
Thick-thin scribbles outline the way
Inscribing what she knows

Each bold and zigzag stroke
Of her drawn-out form
Speaks to those who stick out
Those who don't conform

To the book or to the chapter
They disrupt the justified edge
She's the doodle in the margin
She's the illegal sketch

Mophead's one off the page
Her wild chaos stands her tall
For mistakes are made for making
She's an original, like us all.