Parking Warden


My colleague says my skin colour shows that I like rugby.
I tell him, ‘I don’t follow rugby …’
He says, ‘Your skin tells me though …’
My skin has never spoken to anyone.

A man yells from a moving vehicle,
‘Get a fucking real job!’
He extends one of his fingers towards me.
That. Is. Talent.

A woman says the job I do is ridiculous.
Despite paying for the wrong space,
she continues to question my presence.
‘Like why do you even?’
Is that even a question?
‘I’m actually quite odd,’ I reply—
awkward and triumphant silence.

I am called a fat shit.
The driver isn’t in the best shape himself.
‘Why don’t you go for a run, ya fat shit!’
He snatches the fresh white print.
I try to catch laughter in the middle of my throat.
I walk almost 30 kilometres a day,
and I’m Polynesian.

At a pedestrian crossing,
I overhear a woman tell her child,
‘You see, son. If you work hard at school, you won’t have to do a job like that.’
She points to me.
I turn to the child, ‘And I have a walkie-talkie!’
The child smiles.
To his mother’s evil eye,
I pull a thumbs up.

Two elderly ladies ask for directions.
One lady says, ‘Darling, you don’t speak the way you look …’
The other: ‘You’re a very polite young man … Good for you …’
I pity them.

I see taxis on broken yellow lines
double-parked on a one-way street.
A driver spots me and alerts his companions.
‘Go, go! The brown one is here!
The brown one is there!’
I see panic spilling out of their ears and exhaust pipes.

‘Does anyone give you shit, bro?’
asks a man gripping a can of beer.
‘Why would they? Look at you …’
I attach a printed headache to a vehicle.
‘You’re a big dark-skinned brother. No one will give you shit, my kill!’
I have a sudden vision of myself, as fresh kill, on the roof of a parked vehicle.

A mechanic spots me checking resident and coupon zones.
He screams,
‘Warden! Warden!’

Just another white jaw rattling to remind me of what I am.


Listen to Aziembry Aolani read ‘Parking Warden’



Aziembry Aolani (Ngapuhi / Kanaka Maoli) is a poet with a sweet tooth and a love of animals, and he is a mad gamer. He has been studying at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington, and will have his work published in Anton Blank’s Ora Nui Journal sometime this year.