I’ve been meaning to put this link on the blog, but forgot about it.
This poem, Life Without End, is a poem I wrote a few years ago. I let it set around in the documents folder then pulled it out for a revision to get it ready for this poetry contest at Oklahoma State University. I’ve planned on entering this contest last year, but forgot to get my poems ready before the deadline. This year I remembered. Good thing too, as it should be my last fall at OSU.
The poem came about when I was reading Cadillac Desert. Copy and past the url since I couldn’t get the wordpress ‘insert link’ to work this time.
Oh God, here I stand.
I’ve forgotten to talk in a tongue
of a language long dead.
I watch them wrap
a bone and bead choker
around their throats,
audacious about their ancestry.
The proof is on the card
stored in the wallet of the wannabe,
This is my descendency.
I bleed your blood, too.
Shaking shells on pow-wow road,
full-bloods need no card
to dance their proof of permanence
onto the ground of their grandfathers’ wars.
They sing songs that rise
through the bones of their being.
If you dare approach,
they’ll tell you they dropped
down the birth canal
with porcupine quills
strapped to their heads,
and an eagle feather bustle
tied to their butts.
Their eyes smile when wannabes
believe their stories.
It’s the half-breed
who learned to carry
a dagger in each hand.
One for the red; One for the White
Accepted and denied equally by both sides,
she weaves along fence lines
that delineates between Indians.
There’s never enough blood to satisfy history;
and always too much to be freed completely.
Oh God, make me blind
to the day when I’ll bleed
the last bit of Indian out of me.
This is about the fourth year I’ve written a poem for the Intertribal Environmental Council Conference. It’s always an honor to be asked, and always a pleasure to be challenged to pen something new. This year I took a poem that I had written several years ago, but it wasn’t good. It was in the trash poems file. The poem is completely different from the original, and I think I’ve brought it some justice.
Streams of Change
Perhaps it’s leaf shadows
sleeping on your sandy substrate
that scatter my thoughts like sunlight
filtered through the canopy of cottonwoods
that tie me to your history.
I’ve witnessed you change;
watched a bank wall of white sand fall
grain by grain,
to cloud the crystal pool.
We humans wonder what stories
flow down the channel as you meander
on your journey to meet with the big river.
Will you reveal that you waltzed
with a thousand black-wing damselflies,
who buzzed with the music of life?
I think not.
I think you weave your secrets
within the deadfall and leaf scatter
strewn along your banks,
and leave me here to guess
about the ecology
locked below the sound of riffles
flowing over rocks.
As a burst of wind whips
willow leaves into flight
a growl of thunder travels
from the South.
I am awakened to find
damselfly wings silent;
riffles and runs now dry.
And I sense a season of change
Here are links to a few of my published poems.
Published in The Externalist
Published in the New Plains Review
Percussion of Valentine’s Day
Published in the Journal, The Lives You Touch