Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Poem: At Risk Children

In the midst of an economic depression,
Not recession,
Because this has gone on too long,
Depression weighs heavy,
On the burden of my shoulders,
I try to shine my light,
But one challenge after the other,
Oppression and the layers,
Are a thin glaze that is put over me,
By those who strive to maintain,
A sexist culture,
A racist culture,
A pain in my belly all day culture,
I've survived,
And the tribal rhythms from all my roots,
Ojibway,
Anishinaabe,
Indigenous European roots,
Before,
The Crusades,
And land being divided up and sold,
And controlled,
And womyn's bodies being raped,
Womyn's leadership wiped out,
For the sake of Christianity,
Christ,
Manifest destiny,
An ultimate defeat for all of us,
Matriarchal societies dismantled,
Overnight,
And the Earth became distant,
And my spirit became disoriented,
My brother recently relapsed,
And after six years of sobriety,
It starts again,
All that has gone against,
Him,
Me,
Is against us,
Attempts from all angles to defeat us,
Teachers,
Friends,
Who abandon us,
And label us "at-risk" children,
Elementary school counseling,
I've got cigarette butts in my pocket,
Excessive wealth is all around me,
But the lack of compassion and love from the community is excessive,
When it should be the opposite,
The Native community distant,
And the in-fighting,
And the white community ignoring us,
And other communities of color not giving a damn about Native people,
Telling us that their problems are worse,
I can't fight,
I can't fight,
The alcohol follows me,
Although I walked the Red Road to Wellbriety,
I've seen the look,
The disorientation of the ancestors in my face,
In my Mother's face,
In my Father's face,
In my face,
The ancestors souls disjointed,
So our souls are disjointed,
And I am ready to face my wounds,
But I ran away,
And I run away,
I am only human,
Down here on this Earthly plane,
Tears run down my face,
Thinking of oppression,
That attempts to destroy the survival of Native people,
Tears run down my face,
And my heart still aches,
Everyday.

5 comments:

torgana said...

Oh, wow. I was feeling down about the election, but this poem reminded me that it's not about the election: it's about the people. Thank you. Your words are beautiful and powerful.

The Tuttle Shamblins in Oregon said...

This is a beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing it.

Anishinaabekwe said...

torgana - Yes, I was feeling very down about the election. After seeing greedy and slimey Republicans take over most of Michigan and the country I am extremely disheartened. As someone who has lived in economic poverty even with a Masters degree I am afraid that I will struggle more unless I create my own organization. I have survived being unemployed, underemployed, fired, laid off and treated like a second class citizen on the job. I am afraid for Michigan but a part of me doesn't want to give up because of the vision I have to turn some things around here. Take a look at the election results -- http://elections.nytimes.com/2010/results/house

The Tuttle Shamblins in Oregon - I am glad you enjoyed this poem!

Catherine Mackie said...

You write from such an immense well of emotion. the words run together like the drops of water in a river. Thank you for sharing with us.

Anishinaabekwe said...

Catherine - Miigwech! Poetry is how I process life it all its intensity.