Poetry: Ode to the Conservative Woman Who Helped to Heal Me

The dim lights behind the curtain near the factories,
You are closer to the low hum and rumbles,
Closer to working class struggle of sounds that snuff out your dreams,
Sounds that silence your screams,
Sounds that perpetuate division,
Across the small town – rez town,

The door opened,
I greeted her and sat down,
She said she should couldn’t stop crying,
She showed me the book that she was reading,
The Verbally Abusive Relationship,
Expanded Third Edition,
How to recognize it and how to respond,

The dim light,
Curtains drawn,
Low hum working class sounds,
Mold and mildew smells,
How to respond? 

I too was frozen

She cried in her bedroom,
She said she couldn’t stop crying,
The love she felt,
It never went away,

I too was frozen

How to respond?
But to close the door,
To listen to the low hum,
Watch the steam rise from the factories at night,
The food bank corn,
The Kmart shoes,
The tears soiling sheets, 

She too was frozen

The conservative woman in Manistee, Michigan,
Aninshinaabe Aki,
Was this woman,
Was me,

The book I emphasized as resources to others,
I sat gazing out the window,
Crunched up in a ball,
Sipping tea,
Laying my asema on the snow,
Dim lights flickering,
Bad wiring for the working poor,
The factory smoke,
The low hum on the land, 

The door I shut numerous times,
The pinnacle of this moment,
I couldn’t stop crying,
She couldn’t stop crying,                                                

I was frozen,
She was frozen,
We were frozen,
But we were healing together.

Poem: I Went to the Racist Work Environment

No one supports for real

It is the fashionable “activist” thing to say you went somewhere,
That you went to Standing Rock,
That you got that “badge,”
That you are a part of a “movement,”

White Liberals Always Abandon You,

Some White liberals are happy bullying you,
They are racist but “God-colonial-willing,”
They will go to Africa instead of seeing you,
They have 60 plus acres of stolen land,
Resources and access to more things than I ever,

White liberals eat and hoard,
Hoard and eat,
Devour our land,
Always hungry for more land “conservation,”
In a do-gooder-feel-good-gold-star-kind way,
I am White and a liberal shouting from the Manistee National Forest,
I done did good you see me and my colonial might,
Meanwhile pushing-hiding the Ojibway/Metis Two-Spirit,
For colonial fame and unearned fortune, 

This abuse is for real,
I am calling it out,
I am tired of the white liberal festishizing us,
Simultaneously hiding and silencing us,
For the power and might of the colonial control of the wee-town,
They are sinners according to their “God,”

Gchi wiigwam

Tiny houses are racist since we always had the entire land,
Water,
Abundance of food,
Abundance of love,

Nothing tiny is who we are as Anishinaabe,
Star knowledge is not tiny,
It is only this new idea of colonial exclusion in which we need to be tiny,
For the sake of tokenizing on a panel,

It is our inherit right to have everything expansive as the night sky,
Decolonization means reclamation of this unparalleled expanse,

Racially Hostile Work Environments

Trying to make it and stumbling into the colonial oppression,
I went to racist work environment on numerous occasions,
I am treated as the other in othering ways,
White liberals turn a blind eye and they go to Africa instead,
They are colonial bastards,

The racist work environment on numerous occasions,
Became numerous occasions,
For millions of First Nations,
Inuit,
Metis,
Mestizo,
Indigenous,
On Turtle Island,

The colonial people in their tudor clothes,
Click click click down the hall,
To gossip about that mad Indian,
Pshht – why is she so mad?
I don’t understand – thaha – that Indian should be grateful for these pennies we give her,
Pieces of porridge in a tupperware bowl,
For the corner of the pie,
For the corner of the rez,
For the corner of a book,
For the corner of chaffed identity,

I’m looking for clothes that aren’t colonially chafing me,
As I move about and try to live you see,

Work environments where white racist lips,
Move their colonial mouths,
Adjusting that ugly royal tudor collar thing,
Their colonial mouths moving,
Over board room tables,
White documents by white hands detailing racism,
Pshht – I’ve got white law protecting me,
Fair and just and fair for me,

The work environment,
Defined by the colonizer,
Under colonial wage and labor laws,
As defined by colonial anti-discrimination laws,
As defined by the colonial EEOC,
Now it shall be resolved that discrimination will occur in settler colonialism,

The Non-Community

Every white liberal parades down the street with a “community building” banner,
I didn’t know 500 likes on anti-social media meant community,
I “hearted” your status,
Superficial dopamine sugar highs without the depth of meaning,
The non-community is what is real,
Not everyone wants your version of “community,”
Your version ignored these daily cuts of racism,
And tokenizes our pain,
It is why we walked neared the edge,
But you feel good with your empty words and liberal abuse,
That simultaneously marginalizes us even more,

The land as my arm

My arm endured these cuts,
From these racist work environments,
This is the war machine,
On my body,
On my soul, 

I went to the racist work environment,
I survived war on my body,
Mind,
And Soul,

This movement is within me,
Within the prayers of our ancestors,
This healing fire and cleansing power,
My voice is reclamation!
My body is mine!
My soul is bright!
I am a warrior!

Poem: Space

Decolonial space,
Sober space,
Land for the return to the Anishinaabe space,
Matriarchal space,
Jingle dress space,
Traditional hunting space,
Manoomin processing space,
Processing generational trauma space,
Because I am tired of the drama space,
We are not invisible space,
No reason to hide space,
Two-Spirit space,
Ojibwe constellation outer space,
Otter space,
Inner space,
Racism free space,

I know what you want,
A healing space,

Rezitorial lines,
It's my river,
I'm tired of all the space you take up,
Move aside patriarch!
It's my space!

Poem: Warrior Within

There is a warrior within that can rise above,
There is a warrior within that can rise above in the face of oppression,
There is a warrior within that can rise above in the face of addiction,
There is a warrior within that can rise above in the face of sadness,
There is a warrior within that can rise above in the face of anger,
Intense rage,
Intense depression,
Intense helplessness,
The warrior knows the heart and soul can rise above,
The feelings of powerlessness,
The feelings of defeat,
The soul can rise,
The heart in pain,
Can heal,
There is a warrior within that can rise above with bravery,
The warrior has always been there,
The warrior can remove layers of shame,
Guilt,
Darkness surrounds the warrior,
The warrior within can sweep aside the darkness,
The warrior is powerful,
The warrior has a voice,
See yourself as the warrior that is present,
Peaceful,
Content,
Healed,
And healing,
Valuable,
Loved,
By your family,
Parents,
Sisters,
Friends,
Relatives,
Cousins,
Aunts,
Uncles,
Grandparents,
Ancestors from all directions and sides,
The warrior can find strength within,
Remember there is a warrior within that can rise above.

Poem: The Origins of Colonial Crisis

Part 1

It starts with King Henry VIII,
Do not press hard on my ribs,
Remove the chains around my lungs,
My heart,
The cloak,
It’s done,
Burn it in the fire,
To cleanse,

The chains,
They left scars,
My heart is in pain,
Unhinge slowly,
Start to breathe,
It is okay to breath,
Please breath, 

Part 2

It’s time to leave the Tower,
I am tired of gazing out into the sea,
The smell of mold from the chambers,
The darkness of the bedroom,
That one window that faces the sea,
I am tired of the royal show,
The royal garb,
The crown jewels,
The performance for the court,
My enemies in the court gossip and sneer,
Meek and timid,
Too afraid to face me directly,
I travel these cold halls in the Tower alone, 

Part 3

What is hidden we will shine light on,
The mold in the bedroom,
The torture of the soul,
525 years yet to face,
Sexual violence,
Assault,
Pain,
The mold will die when the light enters,
Housing,
Justice,
Free yourself from the self-made – colonially-made prison,

Part 4

You keep talking about,
London,
England,
Britain,
As if we are still Tudors,
The origin of colonial crisis is in the soul,

Part 5

Land acquisition,
The court and betrayal,
The melding of colonization and patriarchy,
Dominion and torture,
Working class peasantry,
Bread in the court on the royal banquet table,
Spilled on the floor,
We dust it clean,
But the trauma returns,
We shake hands and smile above the oubliette,

Part 6

The dresses are gone,
The exit is clear,
I found the stairs to leave,
Anne Boleyn is peacefully resting now,
The crown is no longer hers, 

I want Anishinaabe Aki,
I am gazing at our land before colonization,
Before the execution,
Persecution,
Patriarchy,
Accusations of adultery and witchcraft,
My body was not assaulted in the name of Christ,
Our bodies were healed,
We had great love in our communities,
Traditional governance meant traditional matriarchy,
We tend to these decolonial baskets, 

Mishomis is harvesting manoomin,
As healing as this is,
His hands point to where we need to heal in our bodies,
Zaagidewin mishomis,

Part 7

Patriarchy has done incredible global damage,
King Henry VIII’s dominion is the origin of colonial crisis,
Naming it,
Mishomis,
The healing,
Our neck,
We heal together,
Every single day,
I touch my neck,
My voice,
Our voice, 

Are our tears ever enough?
Is our love strong enough to decolonize colonial pride?
Arrogance,
Ego,
Narcissism, 

The King – he is losing power,
The jig is up,

Part 8

I hope to see our Anishinaabe prophecies fulfilled,
Ode – the heart,
It hurts still these days,
We can tend and heal,
Decolonization is painful,

Part 9

Ajijaak dodem,
Echo makers,
Speakers for the community,
We will speak for this healing,
For the voice,
For the ancestors,
For the ones to come,
For the ending of the colonial crisis,

Noojimo.