Posts tagged ‘2007’

Monday, 15 June 2020

I’m Not the Indian You Had in Mind by Thomas King

I’m not the Indian you had in mind
I’ve seen him
Oh, I’ve seen him ride,
a rush of wind, a darkening tide
with Wolf and Eagle by his side
his buttocks firm and well defined
my god, he looks good from behind
But I’m not the Indian you had in mind.

I’m not the Indian you had in mind
I’ve heard him
Oh, I’ve heard him roar,
the warrior wild, the video store
the movies that we all adore
the clichés that we can’t rewind,
But I’m not the Indian you had in mind.

I’m not the Indian you had in mind
I’ve known him
Oh, I’ve known him well,
the bear-greased hair, the pungent smell
the piercing eye, the startling yell
thank God that he’s the friendly kind,
But I’m not the Indian you had in mind.

I’m that other one.
The one who lives just down the street.

the one you’re disinclined to meet
the Oka guy, remember me?
Ipperwash? Wounded Knee?

That other Indian.
the one who runs the local bar
the CEO, the movie star,
the elder with her bingo tales
the activist alone in jail

That other Indian.
The doctor, the homeless bum
the boys who sing around the drum
the relative I cannot bear
my father who was never there
he must have hated me, I guess
my best friend’s kid with FAS
the single mum who drives the bus
I’m all of these and they are us.

So damn you for the lies you’ve told
and damn me for not being bold
enough to stand my ground
and say
that what you’ve done is not our way

But, in the end the land won’t care
which one was rabbit, which one was bear
who did the deed and who did not
who did the shooting, who got shot
who told the truth, who told the lie
who drained the lakes and rivers dry
who made us laugh, who made us sad
who made the world Monsanto mad
whose appetites consumed the earth,
it wasn’t me, for what it’s worth.

Or maybe it was.
But hey, let’s not get too distressed
it’s not as bad as it might sound
hell, we didn’t make this mess.
It was given us
and when we’re gone
as our parents did
we’ll pass it on.

You see?
I’ve learned your lessons well
what to buy, what to sell
what’s commodity, what’s trash
what discount you can get for cash

And Indians, well, we’ll still be here
the Real One and the rest of us
we’ve got no other place to go
don’t worry, we won’t make a fuss

Well, not much.

Though sometimes, sometimes late at night
when all the world is warm and dead
I wonder how things might have been
had you followed, had we led.

So consider as you live your days
that we live ours under the gaze

of generations watching us
of generations still intact
of generations still to be
seven forward, seven back.

Yeah, it’s not easy.

Course you can always go ask that brave you like so much
the Indian you idolize
perhaps that’s wisdom on his face
compassion sparkling in his eyes.
He may well have a secret song
a dance he’ll share, a long-lost chant
ask him to help you save the world
to save yourselves.
Don’t look at me.
I’m not the Indian you had in mind.
I can’t.

I can’t.

From: https://www.facinghistory.org/stolen-lives-indigenous-peoples-canada-and-indian-residential-schools/chapter-2/i-m-not-indian-you-had-mind

Date: 2007

By: Thomas King (1943- )

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Prayer for Voice by Ari Berk

First Word
Sublunary Sound
Voices of delight
Tongue of telling
Feather song
Talon’s mark
Breath of bones
Murmur of loam
Heart of Earth and Sky
Sing in me
reside in me
shape my words
now
and make them
bright as suns.

From: https://www.mythicjourneys.org/newsletter_sep07_berk.html

Date: 2007

By: Ari Berk (1967- )

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Like a Prisoner of Soft Words by Carolyn Doris Wright

We walk under the wires and the birds resettle.
We know where we’re going but have not made up our mind
which way we will take to get there.
If we pass by the palmist’s she can read our wayward lines.
We may drop things along the way that substantiate our having been here.
We will not be able to transmit any of these feelings verbatim.
By the time we reach the restaurant one of us is angry.
Here a door gives in to a courtyard
overlooking a ruined pool.
We suspect someone has followed one or the other of us.
We touch the spot on our shirt where the ink has seeped.
The lonely outline of the host is discerned near an unlit sconce.
As guests we are authorized not to notice.
We drop some cash on the tablecloth.
We lack verisimilitude but we press on with intense resolve.
At the border, under a rim of rock, the footbridge.
Salt cedars have grown over the path.
The water table is down.
And we cannot see who is coming, the pollos and their pollero,
the migra, the mules, the Minutemen, the women
who wash for the other women al otro lado.
Or the murdered boy herding his goats after school. 6:27,
the fell of dark, not day.

From: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/07/02/like-a-prisoner-of-soft-words

Date: 2007

By: Carolyn Doris Wright (1949-2016)

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Everywhere the Desert Met the Wind by Stuart Dischell

Out west we lived in a view.
We could see forever was not far
Enough. The dinosaurs
Had walked across our valley.
You could see their footprints
Stuck in the mud.
Our volcano was extinct also.
Our mountains treeless.
Our slow-moving river sometimes dry.
(One evening we snuck out on the golf course
Near the rental house and I played the pennywhistle
And you and our daughter did a mouse dance
And a jack rabbit watched from behind a cactus
Where he thought we could not see him.)

From: http://www.storysouth.com/poetry/2007/02/four_poems_1.html

Date: 2007

By: Stuart Dischell (1954- )

Monday, 9 September 2019

Change by Ann Beard

Our world forever changes every second every day.
Nothing halts the pass of time; old age will have its way.
each mighty cliff or ancient tree will suffer the same fate
life seems just an experiment, a transitory state.

The planet earth its fertile soil, the mysteries of heaven,
all forever changing in more ways known to man.
From the wonder of first breath to surrender of the last,
Time becomes the enemy devours all moments past.

Nothing is more fragile than the spirit of mankind,
as good and evil battle in each subconscious mind.
change is hardly noticed until friends or lover’s die,
then we weep and fear mortality while we say goodbye.

Change has made us who we are, a visitor, a guest
we dine on nature’s beauty babies suckle at the breast.
A child will learn and grow maybe someday take my place
But in a very different world, for I alone lived in this space.

From: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/change-78/

Date: 2007

By: Ann Beard (1944- )

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The Golden Chain that Set Me Free by Mir Mahfuz Ali

Anna decorated my bare neck
with a golden chain
for my birthday
and confirmed
her admiration for me
her appreciation
of me being
in her life.
Then she said,
in a caveat tongue,
if I ever took it off
or tried to leave her
she would tie me
with icy shackles.
That is not going to happen,
I reassured her
with an easing tone,
I’d keep the gift
where she wanted it
to be for good.
Promising her
with a huge hug
and a long, slow kiss.

I woke the next day
with a swollen neck
thick as a banana trunk
and scratched myself
until I bled.
Still I did not
snap the frond,
my bond with her
which proved
my honest love
that still wrinkles
every stream.
But she broke
the link with me
by moving
the golden pledge
from my neck
on to her own
declaring she was
setting me free.

From: https://www.exiledwriters.co.uk/portfolio-items/mir-mahfuz-ali/

Date: 2007

By: Mir Mahfuz Ali (1958- )

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

The Page-turner by Michael George Laskey

He sits in her shadow, keeps still,
as if he would be as invisible
to us as we are to him,
just his eyes imperceptibly moving

till the end of the page approaches,
when, rising from his chair, he reaches
forward, left-handed, and works
a single sheet free, then waits

for the moment to flip it over.
Pressing it flat with his palm
from below so it won’t lift up,
already he’s pushed himself back

out of consideration. Again and again.
Till the pianist bows, and he stands
apart disclaiming applause,
head down, holding the music.

From: https://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/page-turner

Date: 2007

By: Michael George Laskey (1944- )

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Just Now by Peter Campion

a ladybug, its carapace blown open
so a translucent trace of orange gleams
from its body, has ascended link by link
the smudgy silver curve of my watch band.
It must have helicoptered past the sill
while I was slumped here squinting in the paper
at the ashen packaging another bombing’s
made of a minivan. Made available
in the photo like the homeless in a poem.
The pain is far away. But then for moments
utterly clear: molten metal guttering
down from the Milky Way to fall on us.
And sometimes, God, it lands with all its will.
My spluttered prayer for it to hold its distance:
how ludicrous to blurt it from this comfort.
Still it impels itself from me. Please stay
away from me. Please stay away from this
insectile soul who only weeks ago
was wind and shit and jasmine leaves and rain.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/49895/just-now-56d22c76e360d

Date: 2007

By: Peter Campion (1976- )

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Tao Te Ching: 4 by Laozi (Lao Tzu)

Tao is empty—
Its use never exhausted.
Bottomless—
The origin of all things.

It blunts sharp edges,
Unties knots,
Softens glare,
Becomes one with the dusty world.

Deeply subsistent—
I don’t know whose child it is.

It is older than the Ancestor.

From: Lao-Tzu, Addiss, Stephen and Lombardo, Stanley (transl.), Tao Te Ching, 2007, Shambhala: Boston and London, p. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=hXoEv5WpqukC)

Date: 6th century BCE (original); 2007 (translation)

By: Laozi (Lao Tzu) (601 BCE-c531 BCE)

Translated by: Stephen L. Addiss (1935- ) and Stanley F. Lombardo (1943- )

Monday, 25 February 2019

Send Your Spirit by Solomon ibn Gabirol

Send your spirit
to revive our corpses,
and ripple the longed-for
land again.

The crops come from you;
you’re good to all—
and always return
to restore what has been.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/146848/send-your-spirit

Date: c1035 (original in Hebrew); 2007 (translation in English)

By: Solomon ibn Gabirol (c1021-c1070)

Translated by: Peter Cole (1957- )