15 August 2010

what i see

Out my front window
Hill 57 rises above houses
rust colored boulders
pepper summer dried grasses

neighbor voice echoes,
“Useta be injuns lived on that hill,
damn squatters.”

Little Shell tribe
of the Chippewa Cree
seeks federal recognition
landless they hit fences
honor denied
people denied

spirits dance
through grasses
atop 57
sweating story in glory of place

a man speaks of
one room plywood shacks housing
12-18 people
living breathing starving


walking the dogs
through remnants in 57’s low spots
toilet seats, high chairs,
stoves and tvs
debris reminds me
this is my lifetime
this is my world's
response to people

lack of recognition

We are sorry
but you
do not

Check out Sunday Scribblings for more responses to the prompt: view.


John's comments said...

Emotive and still politically sensitive subject I suspect in the USA. But on an personal level to see an 'historical' injustice as living and overlapping with the detritus of ones own life is all the more powerful. Thanks for dropping by. I find that having to 'perform' the work helps in its writing. To hear or read my Sunday Scribble click here.

--jenna said...

One of the reasons why I love poetry is captured well in your post, that of transcending the political and mundane, transforming it into something new and forcing us to see things from the "other's" perspective. Beautiful.

Dee Martin said...

"pepper summer dried grasses" love that line. So telling that the hill is simply named "57" - you can see the echoes in the photo of people long ago. Sad what has been (and has NOT been) done.

Aoife.Troxel said...

Thoroughly interesting take on the prompt and well thought out. I enjoyed it. :)

brenda w said...

John, Jenna, Dee, and Aoife.Troxel,

Thank you for taking the time to read this piece. It is an important issue to so many, and discounted or booed by many others. I appreciate that you took the time to read and comment.

Dee- That's my favorite line too, and it is in the view from my window!


anthonynorth said...

An important poem. And excellently written too.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said, Brenda. Your voice speaks for so many...this easily applies to our Canadian tribes still seeking equality and recognition.

It has been a dream of mine to visit Montana and see its 'summer dried grasses'...I can almost picture the view from your window!

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm your newest follower...

brenda w said...

Anthony, Thank you for your visit and comment.
Traveler- Welcome! Thank you for your kind words and your support. I've done some reading of Thomas King's work. In particular, "The Truth about Stories" addresses what King sees as the Canadian government's attempt to define indigenous people out of existence. It is an excellent read. It is also where I got a coyote story that I share every year when snow shows up in the courtyard outside our classroom.

Larry McCay said...

I love the seemingly desperate pace of your writing here. Thank you for sharing its view!

aspiemom said...

This is a beautiful view of Native American culture. I'm so selfish I never considered that. Well done!