Poem: Giizhik Naawij

Cedar/Decolonial

The cedar on the water,
Ininwewi-gichigami,
In the light,
On a direction,
A path,

The hand,
The ancestor,
The water,
Become soothing to the soul,

The water,
Like a pure note,
Dazzling across the heart,

Without a sound,
Silence as memory,
The wind,
The pines,

Modern/Colonial

The old lamp,
Near the dock,
Near the village,
Near the hand,
The ancestor,
The water,

The sound,
The prayer,
Do you hear us?

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Translations

Giizhik - Cedar
Ininwewi-gichigami - Illinois Sea aka Lake Michigan
Naawij - Out in the lake

Poem: Mad Libs of Anti-Social Media

My obsession with rotary phones is real. More real than your smartphone. Rotary phones are elegant and regal. Decolonize today! When I run for Ogema in 2029 it will be mandatory to have a rotary phone in your home if you live on the reservation. Sincerely, real olde school Generation X-er.

My obsession with rotary phones is real. More real than your smartphone. Rotary phones are elegant and regal. Decolonize today! When I run for Ogema in 2029 it will be mandatory to have a rotary phone in your home if you live on the reservation. Sincerely, real olde school Generation X-er.

My Instagram left me running,
For myself,
In my own mirror,
Of self-absorption,
I knew I made it big on facebook with a clown,
That in town,
Ran away,
Like a king of a fling,
Ohhhh I am sure that stings,

The TRUTH,
You get the boot,
From the Russian bot,
Watching your activity,
Cuz youse is Indigenous on the internets,

I know you thinkin’ youse is wise,
Decolonizing with tons of hashtags,
You are so a millenilal,

Get a rotary phone,
Listen to the tone,
This is a poem,
So quit the roam,
Of your soul,

Phew!
Thank the God of Two-Spirit God’s,
Decolonial God’s in the Ojibwe night sky,
Alien cat God’s,
Alien angel human God’s prayin’ ya to thee decolonial JESUS,
All caps cuz he was a radical brown man,

What were you in your past life,
A lump on the log of anti-social media,
Smoke smoke smokin’ those likes up,

The world has taken the drug,
This is the smart plan,
To manipulate your soul,

Get out while you can,
Don’t bury your heard in the sand,

Delete,
Uninstall,
Roll it back,
Cuz youse is loosing track,
Of who you is,
In this world,

They will manipulate your mind,
So you think you are fine,
Why in fact you are not free,
Just let the app,
Tap,
Go,
Just be,
Like it was 1982,
With the talkin’ on the steps,
In the hood,
Before the corruption,
Disruption of the dial tone,
Phone.

Poem: Pasta

I’ve been trying to ease the pain of generational trauma,
Through prevention,
As I stand on my track in 48067 in 1997,
I gaze at the clouds,
The trains in the distance fill my soul with a fire,
To run and fly,

I am destined to be great,
But generational trauma takes a toll at age 20,

I’ve towed the line with some of the best,
My bourgeoisie White track friends let me not shave my legs,
They honor my heritage,

But what they don’t see is the pain or sorrow,
Yet to percolate to the surface,
In the suburbs everything appears to be alright,
With do gooder white liberalism,
Supporting my dreams,

But down in the dorm in Oshkosh, Wisconsin,
I am feeling the sorrow of Chief Oshkosh,
The looming darkness envelopes me,
I am in my darkest days,

Once the picture perfect role model,
I am now surveying the darkness of my soul,
Haunts of old,
Demons surround,
I don’t know what self-care means,

I am towing the line of self-mutilation,
Internalized grief eats away at my body,
Which gets funneled into running when I was supposed to be done,
With those competitive days of glory chasing my Timex dreams,

I am running on the land of a sorrowful place,
A sign of suicide awareness in the community,
Beauty has left my face,
I am physically gray,

From 2002-2006 I struggle to maintain my equilibrium,
I wanted to run away but where?

Pasta and perfection,
Measuring cups of Allure magazine direction,
Plastic beauty that I never wanted,

As a Two-Spirit my soul is torn,
Paint your nails,
Go out on the town,
Breathe the fumes of environmental racism of the sorrow of smoke,
Numb the pain in a bar off Cass Avenue before gentrification,

The Androgynous Man in Brown Pants,
Yes he is me,

I am the worker from my past lifetimes,
Holding onto that bread that is stifling my soul,
I’ve released that bread to the sea,
From the top of the Tower Bridge in my dreams,

This time in 2018 I finally heal and I can eat pasta again,
No longer do plastic measuring cups define my existence,
No longer does the dorm room eating disorder smell haunt my existence,
No longer does the current of unknown generational grief haunt me with every turn I make,
No longer does the perfection of athleticism and “stars of track and field” win,

My soul is more free and so are we,
The relations,
Ancestors,
Community,

It may take 12 years to crumple up that trauma and toss into the fire,
The smoke cleanses out and out and out,

They were listening to our prayers.

Poem: Sobriety Creates Beauty

Floral designs extend from my fingers,
To circle around mitig,
To mitigong,
Up to migizi,
And back to nigig,

Floral designs from my feet,
Rooted like mitig into the Earth,
Pause,
Breath,
Zaagidewin,
Zaagidewin,
Zaagidewin,

Otter carries floral designs,
With the medicines,
Across the water,
To Anishinaabe,

The message,
In the teaching,
In the prophecy,
In the healing of our people,

The floral designs,
Travel between worlds,
To the ancestors,
To the ones to come,
Debwewin,
Debwewin,
Debwewin,

Anung,
Our spirits as big as the night sky,
With all that wisdom,
In your body,
My body,
The Anishinaabe body,

Empathy,
As the nibish that nigig feels,
Delicate,
Cleansing,
Fresh,
Sometimes,
You cry for others who can't feel,

Floral designs,
On baskets,
On clothes,
In dreams,

Recovery has created,
This beauty.

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Translations

Anung = Star
Debwewin = Truth
Migizi - Eagle
Mitig = Tree
Mitigong = Trees/Forest
Nibish = Water
Nigig = Otter
Zaagidewin = Love

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!