Poem: A Two-Spirit Case Study

I put my stethoscope to the community,
I listened,
Most of the time quietly,
Or "underground,"

Right wing Christians,
Who are Native,
White tribal government structures,
Two-Spirits who are shamed,
This isn't traditional,

Still getting shunned,
I listen,

When children are neglected,
Ignored,
Abused,
Not fed breakfast by their Father's,
I listen,

The soul is wide open,
Listening,

The soul is black,
Tarnished,
Damaged,
Disjointed,

Scrambling across the territories to seek bits and pieces of healing,
To run into shards of glass of liquor bottles,
The addiction of a thirst unquenchable, 
A thirst to heal not understood by dominant culture influences and colonization,

Running into walls,
Abuse sprouts onto walls and window panes in the form of mold,
Mold toxicity damaging spirits,
This is a mold toxic house,
The house a metaphor for toxicity all around,
A mold toxic body,
A mold toxic soul,

Shards of broken glass shattered into souls,
Sharp edges,
It hurts,
This racism,
This internalized racism,
This sexism,
This internalized sexism,
This homophobia,
This internalized homophobia,

To seek but to stumble,
Imperfection as a survivor of genocide,
Swaying under the dim lights of this podunk-redneck-hick-NDN-rez-town,

What you seek is not out there,
The teachings are what you seek,
It is not a pedestal,
It is not a tribal government structure,
It is not patriarchy,
It is not abuse,

The soul listening can assembled the pieces,
In a de-insdustrialized way,
In a de-colonized way,
Yet no one cares to listen,
Still I listen,
Quietly,

A Two-Spirit observance and case study,
A community broken.

Poem: Reporting Live, Maybe the Clans Are There

Reporting live,
From da woods,
The podunk parts of the "State of Michigan,"
Where redneck-hick-NDN folk wander in da woods,
Flannel shirt wearing,
Truck driving,
Wood smoke smelling folks,
Resin on our hands,
From tending to the fire,

The pines are beautiful,
Maple trees,
Burnt orange and brown colors,
Sun setting pink beauty,
Dashed across the sky,
Fog settling in,

Appearing,
Disappearing,
Reclusive,
Rustic rust belt,
Fight,
Flight,
Hardship,

Maybe the clans are there,
To help her,
The teachings,
Support her,

As the sun was setting.
Who would listen to the marginalized,
When we aren't popular,
Or dressed the way you prefer,
In our flannel shirt,
Jeans,

And we show up in our rusted truck,
With dirt covering the sides,
And you critique us and call us "country,"

Defending our territory,
Defending our people,
As Anishinaabekwe,
You can label us,
As we don't fit into your world,
We decline your offer of the comfort that kills,
The soul,
The heart,
The clans are there,
In the lowlands.

Poem: Further North

Photo: In da UP, eh! Summer 2010


The Marquette locomotive was down here,
South of the Mackinaw Bridge,
I saw it go through town here,
Here in "working class,"
Manistee Michigan,
A down to Earth town,
Salt of the Earth people,
Morton Salt people,
Paper industry people,
Tired people,
Working for the people on the hill people,
Working to get food,
In the cupboard,
Under lock and key,
Lock and key,
Gas in the car,
Drive to work,
To town,
Back afar,
To the Manistee National Forest,
Hunting,
We hunt,
I'm hunting,

I'm going further north,
In my mind,
Landscapes and remoteness,
Crystal clear waters,
And further north,
Further north,
Where there are clear waters,
Less bourgie people,
Less pretentious city people,
Trying to build their fancy homes on the shores of Lake Michigan,

I'm going further north,
Further north,
In my soul,
My heart aligned with the land,
I can go north of the bridge,
That mighty mackinaw bridge,
So I can escape this land down here,
Which binds me,
I love Sleeping Bear,
But sometimes the pain,
Makes me fly in mind,
Fly away,
From what I have known,
Anishinaabe Territory,
I try and fly,
I do,
Sincerely,

I'm will go further north one day,
The land and my heart,
Home,
Love may be somewhere,
I may find it.

Poem: The News About "Radical" Activism

The pain being directed at someone who is wounded,
They have expected a perfect angel,
Able to take all the daggers,
Knives being jabbed into her,
They want her to just be spirit,
Detached from her body,
Take the burden of pain from all,
Not human,
She is here to heal,
For them,
In service,

"Radical" activism can be just as hurtful,
Labeled as a "radical women of color,"
But given a bucket full of towels,
And told to clean,
Standing next to other women of color,
But limited,
Treated as a third class citizen,
Below second,

"Radical" activism,
Same as any colonizer,
Same as a bible thumper,
Same as as a bigoted conservative Republican,
Same as a priest telling the woman she is born into sin,
Same as a misogynistic patriarchal male,
Radical women of color,
Look at yourselves,
You delve,
And dive,
Create and divide,
The same way of what you fight against,

Your radically hurtful towards sensitive souls,
Healer types,
Hermits,
Wayfaring strangers,
Lone wolves,

The American Indian might walk by you,
You might want to use us as a token for a book cover,
Or appropriate our teachings,
And in the beginning of your speech,
Say,
"The American Indian is..."

The American Indian woman might walk by you,
You might not even care,
She is at the bottom,
Way bottom of the barrel,
Have you seen her soul,
By looking at her eyes,
At her heart,
Which is wounded,
A heart which is black,
The line for the repair shop of our hearts is long,
We aren't in front,
They shop owners haven't even ordered the parts for shipment,

Don't you understand,
You're radically hurtful,
You have radically hurt,
You have sidestepped and trampled us,
The invisible minority,

And you have absolutely nothing to say about it.

Poem: The Land is Us

The water is on my skin,
I can feel the sand on my hands,
Akki,
Nibi,
The tall pines are a part of me,
I cannot shake the land that is a part of me,
Migizi,
Bineshii,
Ajijaak,
Aandeg,
Baapaase,
The dunes roll onward to the lake,
To the lake,
My feet race,
I catch up to nibi,
From my soles,
To my soul,
I connect,
I cannot shake my connection to the winged ones,
The fourfooteds,
Waawaashkeshi,
Zheshegowaabikosh,
Waabooz,
My friends,
My home.

Photo: A view from Arcadia Dunes looking north.