I. I am a bleeding white woman heart liberal sitting in a recliner imagining forgiveness envisioning an educational system where truth includes telling on ourselves II. Could you forgive them, Mrs. Warren? for specific atrocities, never butchering mothers, babies in bellies profaning female forms dead and spread
vaginas: cut and dried hide covers for saddle horns indigenous parts become white man’s medicine pubic scalps bring applause conqueror’s eyes shine I mean I know it was a long time ago, but could you forgive them if you was alive then? me, plunging blades into soldiers’ breasts until they take me from me, spent no no, Victor, not then How ‘bout now, if you was Native now, could you forgive them? holding onto hatred burns seething holes through spirits (don’t give them that) forgiveness frees it opens hearts— open hearts spread kindness and you already know how I feel about that Yeah, but you ain’t Native so you don’t know fer sure. III. Think about this, Victor— In 1972, I was 10. In 1972, Montana added Article X Section 1 to its Constitution. “The state recognizes the distinct and unique cultural heritage of American Indians and is committed in its educational goals to the preservation of their cultural integrity.” In my 1972 Montana classroom, we celebrated Columbus Day. Manifest Destiny rose up, a noble beacon of light. Tribal diversity never entered the room. Constitutional law, denied. In our 2010 classroom, we uncover the bullshit, Victor. Just like Coyote scams feathers from ducks, the United States government scams people to impel ideologies.
We know what Columbus did. Forgiveness? It’s nebulous. Do I forgive the educational system for lying to me? No, It ticks me off. But I’m doing something about it from within the system. Get inside of the system Victor—figure out its workings. Only then, can you ferret out change. Remember the ducks, When they understood Coyote’s motives they averted his advances.
A big thank you to the muses Big Tent Poetry inspires. The prompts offered at Big Tent get me thinking. This piece was difficult to get through. I almost didn't publish it. Something my friend Kate said nagged at me, and I hit the publish post button. "You can't censor yourself."
Here is the prompt:
Is there a question you are burning to ask someone? Is there a person (living or dead) you would love to have a conversation with? Maybe, as our IRL poet friend shared, you have had a conversation with someone that bears repeating (and examining through poetry’s sharp lens). Perhaps someone has posed a question to you that you simply, at the time, could not answer. Take some time this week and compose your answer in the form of a poem.
A high caliber of writing exists under the Big Tent. Be sure to visit for other takes on the prompt.