I look up at the power lines, watching a pair of my brother’s old all black Air Maxs dangle while the sun goes down. I puff on my ciggy and observe the street which raised me. I exhale. It is soothing, watching old memories flash by me. I watch my brothers go up and down the street pulling wheelies, the common thing Otara is known for. I turn my head to the left and focus on Hine’s old pit bike. Hinepukohurangi, oh I miss her. I avert my gaze to stop from crying, just in time to notice a black Holden pull over. ‘Another customer’ I think in and out. I go back to my seat and look up. The street lights have turned on. I spark another smoke up and notice that the house across the road has been boarded up. I look close and recognise the same bullet holes in my house in theirs too, all because they called noise control on ‘The Bikestars’ house. I grin and shake my head. ‘Stupid.’ I look down at my top and read what it says.
“AOMOJO” I smile and look up, yelling “AOMOJO!” Three seconds later I hear half of the street yell out “AO.” My brother screams out. “FREE THE SWARM IN PERRY.” I laugh and say “AO,” waving my middle finger around with my yellow rag waving lazily in the breeze. The sun's gone down and the night is still young. I get up from my seat, yellow rag hanging down off my pouch. I start walking towards Gilbert. As soon as I get to my driveway I notice that my shoelace is undone. I bend over and tie my left lace.
“ AO what you up3z CASHKILLA.” I look up. “Nah nothing just chilling.” “Off to yzkillahs - catch you up there AO.”
I pull my middle finger up, watching him gas off on his dirtbike. I start walking towards town centre and watch all my old childhood memories pass me by. I remember Facekilla, Young Sid and Mr Sicc shooting “Put your colours on,” at the local dairy. I was mesmerised by how much yellow there was, especially how all my childhood heroes were all in one place together. As my shadow slowly moves around me on the street; I gaze down at my matte black G Shock. “21:00” it reads. I look up and spot the shortcut that cuts through Ferguson to Cobham. I lazily follow the route remembering the fights I've had down here. I watch the scene around me; I turn away to avoid the scenario. The cold air pricks my skin making it feel fresh. In my head thinking people from the outside wouldn’t notice there’s a war raging round us in the ‘Hood of Otara. Fry-heads on the corner watch their money dissolve, people begging just for a couple of coins. Kids growing up surrounded by all kinds of madness, broken home status, role model gangsters. Alcoholics and fry-heads surrounding my house, some of them were even my immediate family. The neon “Open” sign lights pass me by, illuminating my face with an eerie red glow. A memory flows right past my eyes of when I was eight. My dad took us kids to the shops for Chinese takeaways. While we were still out some ex-friends of his were taking pot shots at the house. It sends a chill down my spine thinking about how another member of my family could of been killed in the crossfire. “21:15” is what my watch reads. As I snap back into reality; I continue walking in a slow steady pace, I was young back then and didn't know what was going on at the age of eight. I couldn’t believe how naive I was back then but I still smile. My Hine used to say I was such a silly girl. At the age of six, she parroted everything my Nan said.
Thug In Peace my little sister, each day that passes by I miss you even more. The sky is holding a perfect white waning gibbous moon. My foot falls feeling numb to my feet, as I stare at the old alleyway. “21:35.” The year 2018 I remember some SDV’s (Silent Do Violent offenders) swarmed an Otarians house. Smashing windows, doors, cars. Basically anything they could put their hands on.
I take the right turn off the main road onto Yzkillahs street. Sometimes I think I bet it's hard where you from, but it aint as hard as here. Southside Otara: round here there ain't nothing you can catch besides a court case. I need a job but I ain’t qualified, Otara be my birth place 274. Living in the streets where I was taught to behave. I take a ciggy out of my pack and light it up. The stress disappears through my body. “AO CASHKILLAH!” I look up smiling and I throw my middle finger up. “AOMOJO!” As I take a step forward, I couldn’t care less what people think about me or my AO brothers. Because I know from that instant, I’ll forever have love for my hood. Otara 274.
Catch me on my block.