Poem: Accents in the Seventh Generation

What is frightening is the dehumanizing effect of judgement,
What is scary is the assumption that an accent means one thing,

This is an ode to busting stereotypes and being proud of roots/identity/culture,

Phase 1

Land claims,
Re-routing lines to connect/communicate,

Phase 2

Loud voices,
Uncomfortable in my shoes,
Running,

Phase 3

My friends laugh at my Dad's accent,
It was how I was raised,

Phase 4

He couldn't read,
And didn't know until he was 40 years old how to do so,

Phase 5

I am crying my eyes out,
Because my Dad can hardly read his 40th birthday card,

Phase 6

Years later he walks a sober road,
He loves reading the Bible,
He loves reading the dictionary,
This is better than reading a 40,

Phase 7

Seven generations later,
We walk a sober road,

Surmounting challenges,
Hurdles tripped over,
We cry as we rise,
Recovering, 

This is the seventh generation,
Educated,
Powerful,
Beautiful,
Healed,

This is the seventh generation,
"I grewed up in Highland Park,"
Makes me smile,

I love the Highland Park/Detroit/Inner City Blues Make Me Wanna Holler Accent,
I love the urban/street survived accent,
I love the rising above addiction but still maintain my street smarts accent,

We keep it real,
We know who we is,
We are so much in this together,

Accents in the seventh generation show resilience and pride!

Poem: Mixed Race Urban

Urban speak,
Don't tell me how to speak,
Nice,
Proper,
Damn,

See,
The culture wants to put me in a narrow box,
Speak proper and right grrl,
Speak proper and right grrl,

My multi-faceted self,
Includes urban speak,
Yes,
Not proper,
Or what is deemed to be proper,

Yooper talk,
Don’t cha know,
Eh?
NDN,
Rez talkin’,
Cultured from the urban foundations,
University talk,
Sociologically inclined to speak of injustices,
Micro small Odawa rez town,
Naaminitigong,

Urban speak,
Highland Park roots of my Father,
Motown tunes ringin’ all around,

Speaking in a way,
How I see,
How I define,
How I be me,
Truly me,

All the pieces,
Beautifully blended together,
Urban speak.

Poem: We Grew Up in Coffee Shops

We grew up in coffee shops,
Cigarettes,
Cheap coffee,
Refills,

Breathing smoky air,
Grunge era,
The broken tile on the floor,
Follow it,
Trace it,
Leather jacket,
Pain,

We can trace the coffee cup with our fingers,
Teenagers,
Rebellious,

Noir Leather,
Sure we went in the store,
At age 12,
The leather was cool,
So were the whips,
Chains,
Masks,
The workers at the store,
Laughed at us youth,
Rebellious in our jean jackets,
Pennies in the pockets,

Wanted to paint our nails a sparkly pink,
Red,
Blue,
Dye our hair purple,
Green,
Rebellious youth!

Running,
From our homes,
Painter,
Worker,
Phone,
Telephone,
Rotary phone,
Workers,
Tired workers,
Crack open that 40,
Toss the cap in the trash,

Rebellious youth,
Maybe our feet can hit the bricks,
Downtown,
Uneven bricks,
Meet and congeal with,
And coalesce with,
Railroad tracks,
Onward,
Fast,
One direction,
Rails,
Wheels turning,
Furious motion,
We put down pennies,
Fast,
Race to catch the trains,
Our hands grip the fence,
To watch the train,
Train engineers,
Waving,

And we start walking back,
To get a cuppa,
Sugar,
Stirrer,
Warm our hands,

We grew up in coffee shops,
Drag queens,
Pride flags,
Smoky air,
We loved Divine,
And cross dressing,

There was a great love,
In growing up in coffee shops.

Poem: Ajijaak

Ajijaak is flying above,
Ajijaak silent,
Slow moving,

Ajijaak near the akki,
Near nibi,

Listen,
Silence,
Peace,

Ajijaak is speaking,
Listen with your heart,
Listen as you breathe,

Quietness,
Serenity in the soul,
In the midst of change,
Oppression,
Being invisibly Native,

Ajijaak,
Honors you,
As a Native person,

Ajijaak sees you,
Sees your spirit,
Sees your heart,
Honors your spirit,
Honors your heart,

Ajijaak flies low near akki,
Near nibi,
Listen,

Look at the nibi flowing,
Nibi flowing like blood in your veins,
Nibi is healing,
Healing to ajijaak,

The message delivered if you are open,
Openness,
Patience,

Do not dismiss the message,
The message is here for you,
Ajijaak speaks,
Surprises you,

Ajijaak is connected to you,
Listen,
Listen to Ajijaak,
This is the gift for you,
The message,
The omen.


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Translation of words used in this poem:

Ajijaak (ah-jee-jak) - crane
Nibi (ne-be) - water
Akki (ah-key) - land