Poem: Sittin' on the Edge

Sittin',
Sittin' on the edge,
Sittin' on the edge of the bed,

Those old sheets,
From Kmart,
Or Walmart,
Whatever the working poor can afford,
Maroon,

Sittin' on the edge,
Genocidal amnesia,
Ancestors surround,

Its hard to feel them,
When you want out,

Hands on the face,
A white face to many,
Invisibly Native to most everyone,
White middle class delusion,
TV turned on,
Drink,
Drink,
Drink,

Who is to listen to,
Who is to care,
When you are invisible,

Hands on the face,
Sittin' on the edge of the bed,
Trying to cry,
To feel,
Beyond choked,
The remnants of the pillory can be seen,
Around the arms,
Around the neck,

Some people think they are sittin' on the edge,
White middle class,
Heterosexual,
Hyper-patriarchal,

Take it back,
Sittin' on the edge,
Ancestors behind,
Around,
Sweetgrass,
Its not burning down,

Take it back more,
When the ancestors had to lie about being Native,
Take it back more,
Before colonization,
A culture lost,
Genocide,

Sittin' on the edge,
Not just about that moment,
Not just about exploitation,
Underpaid worker,
Unknown to most,
Really what went on,
Through the generations,
No ownership taken from the damage,
The majority culture fails this way,

Sittin' on the edge,
The legacy should not be this.

Poem: Oppression

Oppression is like a leaky pipe,
From the ceiling,
Dripping water,
Like tears,
Into a bucket,

Oppression is the stale smell,
That haunts you,
From generational wounds,
Sorrows,

Oppression is,
Crying over the sink,
Tears leaking through the pipes,
Dripping into a bucket,

Oppression is a dial tone,
Can't make the call,

Thunder,
Thunder,

Oppression is our hands over our face,
Collecting our tears,
As we wipe them on our pants,
Into the laundry,
Leaking from the pipe,
Like tears,
Into a bucket,

Oppression is,
Confinement,
Four walls toppling onto us,
Barreling onto us,
No voice,
No voice,
Cold,

Thunder,
Thunder,

Oppression is layers,
Layers of film around the bucket,
That form,
Hard to clean,
Hard to remove,

Thunder,
Thunder.

Poem: Brown Metal Garbage Can

Sometimes we can only do so much,
That metal garbage can,
In the middle of my dorm room,
In Wisconsin,

Sin,
Harboring fate,
Wait,
I'm breathing,
But I check my pulse,
It beats,

The time warp I was in,
Distant of some past,
Heaviness of generational wounds,
Unknown,

Unknown force,
Forced upon me,
It was dark,
An uncomprehending force,

While I lay in my bed,
Pick at my thighs,
My skin turns red,
Because I pinch my skin,
The redness,
Pain inside,
Outside,

While I lay in my bed,
The springs hurt my hips,
Hurt my hips,

I didn't want food,
I ached for something in my heart,
A longing that brought me back through the darkness,
Through a long dark night,

Stenches,
Old smells,
Old energy,
I had to barrel through,

That day when I realized my eating disorder had a grip on me,
I still stood on my eating disorder pedestal,
While demons whispered into my ear,
About how I could hurt myself more,
When really the demons were my souls wounds,
Pain I ran from,
Ran from fast,

Now my hands grip my thighs again,
I lay in the bed,
White walls,
Window to the outside,
Students outside,
I feel so isolated,
So alone,

My legs itch,
Extreme hyperactivity,
Due to nutritional deficiencies,
Chemical imbalances,
Music is dark,
Darkness,

I lift myself from the bed,
Leave boldly,
Leave fiercely,
I bound across the campus,
My mind,
My body,
My spirit,
Disjointed,

Somehow the fine precision of my soul,
The yearning to heal beneath the rubble,
I make my way,
Not perfectly,
I wanted to forget the brown metal garbage can,

Purification,
Collecting pieces of my soul,
To be whole.

Poem: We Became One

This poem was inspired by a dream I had two nights ago. It wasn't a pleasant dream as it was giving me a look into my past of about seven years ago while going to undergraduate school in Detroit. I never wanted to know Detroit but I went to undergraduate school there because it was close to home and was more affordable. I don't like big cities and find that being Native in big cities is very challenging. This poem is also about the experiences of my family and relatives in the urban environment. Additionally, this poem was inspired by how annoying a lot of new age stuff is in becoming one with the world. I wish people would open up their eyes to the pain and suffering that takes place all around them instead of believing everything is peace and love. I find that these people claiming peace and love need to step outside of their privileged little box and see whats going on in the rest of the world.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


We became one with cigarette butts on the ground,
In our pocket,
In our ashtray,
We became one with trash lining curbs of city streets,
We became one with the smoke from the incinerator,
One with the haze,
One with the particulate matter,
We became one with the club lights,
The misogyny,
The dripping sounds,
We became one with car exhaust,
Dashboards we hit in anger,
Windshields cracked,
We became one with a fragmented city,
One with empty lots,
Broken windows,
Broken cords,
We had to much to drink,
To be with a crowd,
In a crowd,
Invisible in a crowd,
Bowling alley fries,
Ringing in the ears,
We stand too close in front of the speakers,
We became one with loving the land,
In an environmentally unconscious city,
Being chased for miles in our car,
Because we shook our head at someone who littered,
And they hated the land we tried to love,
We became one in urban people treating us a third rate,
We became one in being the only Native student on campus during the night classes,
Driving home,
Woozy,
Must lay down on the cool grass,
We became one as the world spiraled onto the floors of our homes,
Tumbled into the arms of our families,
We became one with internalized oppression,
Having no outlet with unknown twists and turns,
We became one with the feeling of emptiness that the city gave us daily,
Shocked because of car jackings,
Arson,
Shootings,
Visible city wounds,
Metaphors for our soul,
Inside yearning for culture,
Heritage,
Language,
Honor,
We became one with seeking,
Retiring the demons,
Retiring the pain,
The rejection of who we are,
City buildings weighed on us,
We became one with the racism,
Had no outlet to talk about it,
Internalized oppression,
Smashing our fists on the ground,
Internalized oppression,
Sexual oppression,
Internalized oppression,
Silenced,
Internalized oppression,
Smoke in our lungs,
We became one with disassociation,
We became one with not knowing who we were,
We became one with genocide,
Annihilation,
Assimilation,
We became one with cutting our hair,
To disassociate,
We are no longer Native,
We became one with the daily genocidal dose,
From urban living,
A dose of haze,
A dose of particulate matter,
A dose of brick and mortar,
A dose of a bad taste in our mouths,
A dose of consumerism,
A dose of window storefronts,
And someone left a half empty there,
A dose of forget who you are,
As you are not Native,
Erased,
Your hands reach across the land,
In hope of connections,
To be found,
To dismantle this urban Indian you have become,
To become one with who you are,
Proud to be Native,
Visible,
To become one with being visibly Native.

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.