People around me talk about me and around me. Around-about me. I’m a roundabout. And in normal talk to them-normal-talk-selves, and to my mother and to my sister and to my brothers who know normal-talk, they talk only to them-normal-talk-selves.
They say around about me, he’s not all there.
So it must be that I am not here. That’s because I’m all over here and I can see you.
Hey, I say. Hey. Here I am.
And I wave and I wave. And I flap my hands, but roundabout me, they cannot see. He’s a handicap, they say. They’re all like that, they say. Handicaps.
He’s a good looking boy, they say.
I’m a good looking boy.
What a waste.
If I could talk to you in normal-talk language so you can understand me, this is what I would say to you.
And then you would know.
My name is Jordan Te Awanui Taurima. Jordan Big River, one-more-river-to-cross.
My sister Rosie says to me. Look at me, look at me and say, Jaw.
Look at me, look at me and say it together.
No, say Jaw-Din, Jordan.
Jaw-Din-Jordan. Jaw-Din-Jordan. Jaw-Din-Jordan. Jaw-Din-Jordan.
I go to school in a taxi-van-bus. I put my lunch in my bag and my bag on my back, and my colour red underpants for accidents in my bag on my back. And my ticket taped to my bag on my back for when I get lost and found.
I am Jordan Te Awanui Taurima.
Special Needs Class.
Satellite Unit. Victoria Street Normal School.
I am lost.
Please ring 095) 2765-9990111,
And say you found me.
I wait at the gate at my home-matey. And all my special needs are in my bag on my back. And those are the things I carry. And I hop on the taxi-van-bus that takes me to school. See you when you get home-matey my mummy says.
I wear a colour red hat and a colour red jersey and colour red over-pants because I like colour red. Glo-heart lollies: but not tomatoes. Strawberries: but not tomatoes. Tomato sauce: but not tomatoes. And I count to four and get a glo-heart, and I write,
J-O-R-D-A-N and I get a glo-heart, and I have clean underpants all day, and I get a glo-heart.
I’m a good-boy-Jordan.
I go to my classroom, Special needs class. Satellite Unit. Victoria Street Normal School. I go past the two legs children. Handicap, handicap the two legs children say and to me they point and to them I point too. And they say bugger off you doongy egg. And I say egg. Don’t like eggs. And they show me two fingers and I show them two fingers too.
And they hahahahaha. And I hahahahaha all the way to my special needs class. And I hang up my bag on the hook where my bag-tag says J-O-R-D-A-N, that’s where it goes because that’s my label above my bag hook. And everyone has beaten me to class again, because they don’t stop to play and their bags are all under their name labels. Hello Mrs Bo Bell, hello Danika, hello Mathew, hello Jerry, hello Derek, hello Monty, hello Andrew. Hello.
At my Nanny Jo’s house, in my Nanny Jo’s garden at her house grow lots and lots of flowers. Red, and yellow, and pink, and green. Violet and purple and blue. We go to her house to visit her. She is not well.
Rosie, take Jordan outside in the garden, Mummy says. Go play in the garden Jordan. Go play on the swing. My sister Rosie picks some flowers. Not like that Jordan. Pick them nicely.
We put the water in the bucket and we put the flowers in the bucket and Rosie says smell Jordan and I say, smell Jordan and I haaachooo. Haaachooo, haaachooo, haaachooo. And Rosie says yucky Jordan you put your snot everywhere.
Yucky Jordan. Yucky Jordan. Use paper towel!
Come have a see-saw Jordan. Up, down. Up, down. Up, down. Then I get off and walk away and Rosie gets a sore bum she says. Ow Jordan not spose to just get off. I hurt my bum.
At my Nanny Jo’s house, the children with two legs and two arms each laugh and laugh. Hahahahaha. So I laugh too. Hahahahaha.
What a doongy egg. Hahahahaha. So I laugh too. Hahahahaha.
Laughing at us you doongy egg?
Egg. Don’t like eggs.
I’ll bash you.
And I laugh. Hahahahaha.
And I play the game. With them.
I stand in the middle and the children hold hands and dance in a circle around me. We play Simple Simon Says and they make me win that game every-time because I am Simon now, not Jordan. And the children say, and I do. And I scratch my bum because Simple Simon says to. And the children hahahahaha.
Then we play look who is there punch-a-nellow funny fellow and I am in the middle and I am punch-a-nellow funny fellow, not Simon, not Jordan. And I pull down my colour red over-pants and my colour red underpants because, ‘what can you do punch-a-nellow funny fellow? What can you do punch-a-nellow funny man?’ Then I cover my eyes with my two hands and I wait for them to, ‘we’ll do it too punch-a-nellow funny fellow, we’ll do it too punch-a-nellow funny man.’ And I hear them teeheehee and hahaha and when that stops I put my hands down but the children have all gone away. Then they come back and I stand against the wall and the children throw the ball at me. I stand against the wall. I play the game. I spread my arms out and I spread my legs out too. The children throw the ball at me and when it hits me they teeheehee and hahaha. And I ow-ow-ow.
Teeheehee and hahaha. Ow-ow-ow.
Handicap, handicap all the children say and to me they point and to them I point too.
I play the game. With them.
I’m a handicap, but I’m not a wheel-chair handicap. I’m a normal one. I walk on my two legs. So, I don’t line up with the wheel-chairs when the taxi-van-bus comes to take us home-matey. The wheel-chairs go first. Danika is a wheel-chair; she’s got no legs, just empty pants legs and no arms just empty arm sleeves. At lunches-time the teacher aids feed Danika, but I can feed myself. Mrs Bo Bell says, use the knife and fork, don’t stuff and use the paper towel to wipe your lips. So, I use the knife and fork, don’t stuff and use the paper towel. And Mrs Bo Bell says now you may have a drink Jaw-Din.
After lunches-time the teacher aids take Danika and the other wheel-chairs to change. But when they come back they are still the same. Jerry Timu, said, ‘Underpants. They change underpants.’ And I’m happy I’m not a wheel-chair, I don’t want to change underpants with Jerry Timu, I don’t want to have colour blue underpants.
Mathew’s got one leg that can come off and one leg that can’t. He’s got one long arm and one half-arm, and a big head with a motorbike helmet on it. And when he has anepeleptic fit, the teacher aids yell out, Mathew’s having anepileptic fit. And Mathew’s leg that can’t come off goes bang, bang on the floor and when it stops he has to go and change underpants and over-pants. And no, good-boy-Mathew glo-heart for him. And I want it. But Mrs Bo-Bell says no Jaw-Din. You may not have it.
Derek has got two legs and his two feet touch at his toes when he takes his big boots off to remove his over-pants and underpants and get washed up and put new underpants and over-pants on when he has an accident. And the teacher aid says, please go back to class Jaw-Din, but I want the glo-heart for Derek’s accident. No says the teacher aid, no Jaw-Din. Monty wears big boots with knitting needles strapped to his legs. Monty’s eyes don’t work. He cannot see. So he wears dark glasses to let everyone know his eyes don’t work. Andrew is a normal handicap like me. Jordan. We hold hands because we have two each. I can write my name and get a glo-heart. Andrew can’t because I hold his writing hand and I don’t let it go so I can have his glo-heart too.
We hop in the taxi-van-bus for normal handicaps. I’m the first one in so I sit in the back seat. Go away Andrew don’t hold hands in taxi-van-bus. No glo-hearts here. We go through the town around and around and we all look out the window. Jerry Timu over there rocks backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, and his tongue won’t stay in his mouth. And he does the pukana at the people on the streets. And to us they point and we hahahahaha at them and wave-out, wave-out Jordan to the funny people standing on the footpaths and laughing. And the taxi-van-bus takes Jerry Timu to his house and I wave-out, wave-out Jordan. And the taxi-van-bus takes Andrew to his house and I
wave -out, wave-out Jordan. And the taxi-van-bus takes me to my home-matey and mummy says wave out Jordan, wave out. And I wave-out wave-out Jordan.
At my Nanny Jo’s house, Rosie says come here Jordan. So I go there and she says, all of youse, to the two legs children big ones and small ones, all of youse just leave my brother alone.
And Eli my brother, Rosie’s brother too, comes out and he says, kai time everyone, go wash your hands.
Wash, wash, wash. Dry, dry, dry.
We have kai in the garage. We have some soup. We have some fried bread and golden syrup. And we have some pizza with no tomatoes. Rosie says it’s alright Jordan I picked them off. Tomato sauce: but no tomatoes.
‘Hey look you fellas, that doongy can ‘nuse a knife and fork.’ And all the children look at me. What a doongy egg eating pizza with a knife and fork. And they ha,ha,ha,ha,ha. And stuff their mouths and wipe their lips with their sleeve ends.
Nanny Jo’s sick. Rosie says I’m sad. Eli says I’m sad. I say I am hungry Jaw-Din. And I use the knife and fork, don’t stuff and use the paper towel. Chew-chew- chew- chew- chew- chew- chew- chew- chew- chew ten times. Swallow. And now you may have a drink. Wipe mouth.
Nanny Jo sleeps in the box bed in the sitting room. The flowers that Rosie and me picked are in jars on the tables and on the floor and on the window ledges. All the ladies and mothers cry. Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo. Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo. Blow nose. Use paper towel not sleeve. Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo. Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo some more and some
more. Falesi at school is from some more. I go to Nanny Jo and I say to her, listen to me, listen to me. Look at me, look at me and I say, ‘Wake up Nanny Jo, wake up.’ Because I want to hop in the box- bed. And I try to open up her eyes but they won’t stay open and her eyes close down again. And Eli says, ‘Bugger off you gross egg and Lily-Belle and Tarn and Kaa go, ‘Eeeeuuw Jordan.’
Then we go for a ride in the car and we put Nanny Jo-in-the-box in a big, big hole-in-the-ground and we make her into a flower garden. My Daddy is a flower garden. And the people sing my song to me one-more-river-to-cross and I sing back to them one-more-river-to-cross. And Rosie puts all the flowers in the garden and we take the jars home to put some more flowers in on another day. Violet and purple and blue.
At my school, the sports day is for the children with two legs to run and run and get a ribbon prize. Red ribbon: first best prize, blue ribbon: next best prize, yellow ribbon last best prize. No ribbon, no best prize. Yellow like eggs ribbon, don’t like eggs. Blue like Jerrys’ underpants ribbon, don’t like Jerrys’ underpants. Red like strawberries and sauce and my jersey and underpants and glo-heart lollies ribbon. I like red, but not tomatoes.
Danika has tomatoes for her lunch. I want a red ribbon: first best prize. Danika has eggs for her lunch. Don’t like eggs. The teacher aid gives Danika lunch. Open wide Danika. Good girl Danika. Eat eggs and tomatoes all up. Close mouth on spoon and egg, and look like egg-‘n-spoon race going backwards on sports for two legs children day. Open mouth Danika. There’s a good girl. Danika, open your mouth. Open your mouth, open your mouth Danika, you-little-bitch.
The teacher aid ties one leg each from the two legs children and: on your marks, get set. Loud, loud clap goes bang. Go. And run and win the three legs race. And get a red ribbon. And the other children clap and clap and clap and yayyyyyy. I want a red ribbon and I get Mathew’s leg that can come off and I run in the three legs race and run fast past the other three legs children and I am the first. I get the red ribbon and I put it in my over-pants pocket and the teacher aid says hey you give that back, but I won the race and I don’t give it back and I ahhhhhhh scream. And I keep the ribbon. And I throw Mathew’s leg at the teacher aid. And I want to have an accident but I don’t because I have a colour red ribbon for first best prize.
The wheelbarrow race is for two, two legs children. One of them walks on their hands he’s the wheelbarrow and one of them holds legs and pushes harder and faster. On your marks, get set. Loud, loud clap goes bang. Go. My mummy and Dick play wheelbarrow racing and go harder and faster my mummy says to Dick and he goes harder and faster
and mummy screams and she gets the red ribbon. And I clap and clap and clap and yayyyyyy loud and Dick says, ‘Piss off.’
Danika, I say to her, you can be a wheelbarrow instead of a wheelchair, and I push Danika hard and fast past the wheelbarrow children and they all fall down and Danika says weeeeeee and we cross the end line and Mrs Bo Bell says, ‘No Jordan, no red ribbon.’ And I tip Danika’s wheelchair over and she is underneath it and I lie down beside the wheel that spins and spins rounrounroun, rounrounroun. And I aaahhhhh and have an accident.
On a not school morning my mummy was sleeping so I went to wake her up. ‘Wake up mummy, wake up.’ And her eyes were like a rainbow, violet and purple and blue. So I said, listen to me, listen to me, look at me, look at me. ‘Wake up mummy, wake up.’ And I touched the rainbow to make her eyes open and she did. Violet and purple and blue. And colour red dripped from her nose and coloured the white pillow-case. Mummy had a real rainbow face.
‘Get out of this room,’ Dick said.
‘Leave him alone,’ Mummy said.
‘He’s pissed on the toilet floor,’ Dick said.
‘Psst,’ I said.
‘I said get out.’
‘Out,’ I said.
‘Go now,’ He said.
‘No ow,’ I said.
Violet and purple and blue, Mummy got out of bed. ‘Get out of my house,’ she said to Dick. Then Dick threw all his things in his big school bag and he said, ‘I’ll be back to waste you all.’
And Eli came in the room, ‘Being a clown you Dick egg,’ he said.
‘Egg,’ I said. I hate eggs. And tomatoes. And Eli he said, go in the sitting room to me. And he said to mummy, you too. I heard Dick go ‘Ooof.’ Then he drove away on his truck.
I bounce, bounce, and bounce on the trampoline. Bob, Eli’s friend and Emma, Eli’s friend and Muzz-Kutu, Eli’s friend, but my best friend, and Billy, Eli’s friend with the dread knots on his head, they fill the empty beer cans up with the sand-pit. I bounce, bounce, and bounce on the trampoline.
‘My brother Eli says, right you fellas we’ll wait for the prick Dick to come back and we’ll bombard him with these. We’ll have turns at keeping watch. Who wants to go first?’
And I say pick me Eli and I wave and wave and get off the trampoline. I wave and I wave. And flap my hands and wave and wave some more and Eli says, ‘Get out of the way you doongy egg.’ And he says to Sammy my brother, ‘You Sammy bags you to go first.’
‘I’m not playing Eli.’
‘It’s not a game egg you’re going first. It’s five o’clock now so we don’t have to start until dark, say nine-ish.’
‘Ish,’ I say.
‘Get,’ Eli says.
So I get on the trampoline and I bounce, bounce bounce and Muzz-Kutu hops on and we bounce, bounce, bounce and mmmmm together.
My nanny not my Nanny Jo because she’s in her garden, but my Nanny Martha comes to our house one day. Say hello to nanny mummy says and I, mmmmm and Nanny Martha says, ‘What does he make that stupid noise for?’ and my mummy says because he’s happy. And Nanny Martha says, ‘What’s he got to be bloody happy about?’ And I put my hand out to shake hands and bump shoulders like Eli and Muzz-Kutu and Bob and Billy and Emma and Nanny Martha says at me I don’t know where your stink hands have been.
And she says to my mummy, he might have been scratching his bum. And mummy says go and play with your toys Jordan. I wave and I wave. And flap my hands. I spin the knife that cuts the bread because that’s the one that spins the best. Rounrounroun, rounrounroun. And I look sideways over there that way and I don’t move my head and I look sideways over there the other way and I don’t move my head. Nanny Martha says,
‘Take that bloody knife off that kid, he’ll hurt my mokopuna.’
‘Nanny, hey Nanny Martha I’m your mokopuna, I’m Jaw-Din.’ Say Jaw-Din Nanny, say Jaw-Din to me faster. Jaw-Din, Jaw-Din, Jaw-Din. She can’t see me and she can’t hear me. And I spin the knife. Rounrounroun, rounrounroun.
‘I said take that berluddy knife off that dopey looking monster, he’ll hurt Tai.’
Mummy says to her that I’m not a monster. And I say monster and Nanny Martha wants the knife to cut some bread for Tai so I give her the knife and I mmmmm and she ‘Ahhhhhhh.’ Screams. And I ahhhhhhh scream too. My Nanny Martha has to go home because my mummy said, go home. I wave and I wave-out Jaw-Din. And flap my hands. Ahhhhhhh, mmmmm.
Bob and Emma and Muzz-Kutu my best friend, and Billy with the dread knots on his head and Eli wait on the trampoline for Dick to come and waste us all. And I bounce, bounce, bounce and Eli says, ‘Get to bed.’
Sammy waves and waves at me. He’s up on Ellen-over-the road’s roof because it’s his first turn. And I wave and wave and wave. And Eli says, ‘What’s that clown waving for?’ And I hear a truck noise. ‘It’s him, get inside Jordan.’ And I don’t want to so I don’t go. And Bob and Emma and Muzz-Kutu my best friend, and Billy with the dread knots on his head and Eli hide behind the hedge and Dick can’t see them. I wave and wave at him and he walks down the drive way and Emma and Muzz-Kutu my best friend, and Billy with the dread knots on his head and Eli throw the cans of sand at Dick and he, a haaachooo. A haaachooo, and he all falls down. They throw and they throw then they run out of cans and Sammy is doing the ka mate ka mate, ka ora ka ora on Ellen-over-the road’s roof. Then when Sammy’s run out of the ka mate ka mate two more times he does the Le Manu some more. Then Ellen comes out of her house and mummy comes out of our house. And Ellen says, ‘Youse stop wasting beer.’
‘That’s enough Eli,’ Mummy says. She brings Dick’s school bags out and puts them on the drive way beside him sitting up now. He’s got the rainbow face. Look who is here
punch-a-nellow funny fellow look who is here punch-a-nellow funny man. And I bounce, bounce, and bounce. And Eli, Bob, Emma, Billy and Muzz-Kutu stand in a circle around Dick. They want to play Simple Simon says, I want to play too. So I go over and Eli says, ‘Mum, take Jordan inside. Ellen, go home.’
Eli looks like the monster on Sesame Street, come and play everything’s ay ok.
‘Help me Maia, please?’ Dick says to mummy. Somebody-help-me-please, I say, somebody-help-me-please.
‘Help yourself,’ Mummy says and she spits some spit out of her rainbow face and then it’s on his shirt. She holds her hand out to me, and says to Ellen come inside Ellen. And Ellen goes inside. And I flap my hands and go inside. And Mummy and Ellen drink beer not sand and I spin, and spin, spin and spin the pot lids.
And Dick’s truck noise goes away. And then I have to go to bed and to sleep.
I think I am all here. I touch my face and my head and my chest and my puku. I touch in my underpants. I am the same as Jerry and Monty and Derek and Mathew and Andrew in their underpants. But not Danika. I tell my toes to wriggle and they do. And my eyes work to let the light in and out when I blink-blink-blink. I have got all the parts that normal-talk people and two legs people have. I just don’t have normal-talk. And I can play games. With them. And I can have an accident when I want to. And I can write my name, and read it too, so I will always know where to hang my bag. And the things that I carry in my bag on my back are all that I need for my special needs.
I am Jordan Te Awanui Taurima. Special Needs Class.
Satellite Unit. Victoria Street Normal School.
I am lost.
Please ring 095) 2765-9990111
And say you found me.
Close eyes. Now mista Mummy says. And she offs the light.