Thursday, April 24, 2008

dirt sandwiches

we are to go camping
in the desert
watch weather reports
cold fronts and warm fronts
kick up wind storms
dust storms

all the tender little morsels
packed in zip lock bags
in tupperware bowls
as much pre-cooked as possible

bacon a necessity
for any camping
though chorizo and eggs
wrapped in a tortilla
muy yummy

taking plenty of water
this is the nevada desert
after all

i'm concocting a new drink
'the oasis'
some blue alcohol
in a fishbowl
though i couldn't find
just the right fish
so i settled for rubber duckies
that bling bling when their bottoms
hit the water

we'll be a 100 miles from nowhere
not a soul in site
he'll probably be naked
he likes to do that
i'll probably wear costumes
i like to do that

we'll sit on lawn chairs
surveying the vast horizons
of our shared vision
talking smart stuff
and stupid stuff too
eating dirt sandwiches.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

a wonderful day

i'm having a wonderful day
was supposed to go to jury duty
it got cancelled
& as i already had
a day off
took it
decided to organize
my small apartment
i keep dragging stuff in
like it's a 4 bedroom ranch house
but it's maybe 500 sq feet
so i have to go up
up the walls
with shelves and storage bins
it feel goods to organize

i treated myself to
a banana split for breakfast

i repotted seedlings

i invited my kids to dinner
made everything from scratch

i watched an interview of
sandra cisneros
one of my very favorite authors

it's only 3 o'clock
i wonder what other wonderful
things will happen?

Monday, April 21, 2008

an interview

after my sacramento reading
b.l. kennedy asked
if he could interview me
for a series he's doing
for rattlesnake press
sure my ego said

sitting in his cozy living room
i scarfing down sweetrolls and danishes
we begin
he clicks on the tape recorder
and says
let's start at the beginning
so even though it could have started
with my birth
i had to preface it
with historical influences
my parents
reservation life
government policies

dad, a chippewa, taken to an indian boarding school
when he was 6
and forbidden his culture
mom, a shoshone, raised on the rez
with 11 sisters
raising turkeys and vegetables
the depression not touching them

how government policies
were pushing indians off the rez
into boarding schools
to acculturate them
into the great american melting pot
the american dream
dad grew up with that
bought it

and they both ended up going to
haskell indian school
in lawrence kansas
a great american indian melting pot
jeez. let's just throw hundreds of
19, 20, 21 year old young men and women
from reservations across the nation
and watch them 'hook up'
navajo with sioux
yakima with comanche
chumash with iraquois
shoshone with chippewa
a good way to make sure
the language is lost
they couldn't talk to one another
except in english
the death of languages

and the government had a policy
of relocation
get the indians off the rez
and move them to the cities
for employment
mom and dad came to san francisco

i was born
in schurz, nevada
so i could be born 'free'
mom came back to her rez
to wait at gramma's
then they drove the 40 miles
to the indian health service hospital
like most indians over 30 years old
from nevada
ask us
we're all born in schurz

so that is how it starts
that is how i start
shaped by government inteventions
& my parent's buy in of the great
american dream

at one point
we even had a cadillac
now we're all back
on the reservation
with dreams of language lost
soured by government policies
and high mortality rates
where are our warriors now?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

defend the 'snake'!!!

A preface…I post poetry under the name ‘snake’ on some on-line poetry sites…like ‘the poet’s place’ and the camaraderie is such that people I have never met still care about ‘me’ and my work enough to defend me against somebody doing a kind critique of my poem “divorce travails’. I’d post the critique, but I’d rather post the defense:

“OK...I just wanted to say ( hi snake) that snake is
snake and I want her to stay snake. There are styles and
there are styles and who we are is what makes us
different and snake comes from a place that she made and
she shares all to honestly sometimes ( and I love that)
a very interesting and tough short stick draw.
I do think the piece is a bit floppy in places but then
I know that here it will get nailed to keep its shape
(like a buffalo skin) and she may take it back if it is
still close to her favorite colors and textures. My
snake is a volatile fire breathing native american woman
and just that puts her at the head of the line for me.
Form again, sigh, and form again. We are water trying to
make our own shape but we never sit for it very long. I
think...Good exchange here. But leggo of my snake!
please. :-)


Friday, April 11, 2008

culture worker

remembering the past
full off my people's
whose bodies withered
before other men's
vaccinations withheld
until just a few remained
but we survived
our new tribal clinic
is state of the art
we have a well-baby clinic
baby shots recorded
reminders sent out
we believe in our culture's
ability to change in order
to survive
no more smoke signals
we have internet
and cell phones
yet we still have
the highest infant mortality rates.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

divorce travails

it seems like each time
i do it
it would get easier
actually the first 3 were 'easy'
after trying to resolve stuff
the wrongs the rights
the making of lists
which eventually tip the balance
in favor of splitting
getting out was always such a relief
even leaving this last one
was an immense weight off my
beaten down shoulders
even got a good title for
the poetry book
love at gunpoint
but the actual divorce process
the he said (big f-in' liar)
she said (gawd's honest truth)
was so strung out as to
enrich the pockets of the attorney
and neither him or i
really benefitted in the end
what i said in the beginning
was fair
and was how it ended
but it took $25,000 in atty's fee
to come to that conclusion
next time everything
will be in writing
it tickles me that i would
even consider a next time
but i'm an optimist
and hopelessly romantic
and i might add
a little stupid.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

there are smart people

whose brains curl into themselves
into whole universes we will
never know
but then
it could be said
for crazy people too
unlike poets
who spill our guts
and brain matter out there
for anybody to digest.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


as a native american
i'm already pre-disposed
then looking at their checklist
i'm all of that too
particularly around waist
*physically inactive
hey! i've been sick
i broke my toe
i....i....have many excuses
*family member with diabetes
my mother and aunties
*gave birth to a baby weighing
more that 9 lbs
i guess the first one at 9lb 14 oz
set the stage
*blood pressure 140/90 or higher
yeah yeah
*cholesterol levels
i guess that's why i take those pills

they say many people don't know
they have it until symptoms occur
i had no symptoms
just that checklist

it's ironic
i display only one cowboy boot
in my office
i joke that
i'm looking for a
one legged cowboy
i didn't realize
he'd be diabetic too.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

shoshone aztec language reunion

the meeting draft
call to order
discuss information on webpage
registration forms & schedule of events
discuss workshops
language & cultural preservation
committe reports:
recording activities
must have prior approval
housing arrangements
best western has 66 rooms
reno sparks helping
eastern shoshone too
letters of solicitation
youth activities
arts & crafts storytelling
camping fishing
food services
need food & paper product donations
eastern shoshone proivdine moose,
deer, elk
ft hall donating buffalo & potatoes
cultural demonstrations
each state will have 2 hrs
for giveaways and demos
nevada, wyoming, idaho,
conference materials such as t-shirts, posters
logo from poster featured
fashion show
will also have displays
comanches bringing a bus
tribal flags & a sweatlodge
teepee race& hand drum contest
purchasing 8 teepees
donations needed
language programs
shoshone family words needed
archer & others
drum groups
wyoming & idaho
sunrise ceremonies
wyo, okla, & idaho in charge of sunrise
pow wow grounds
fish & game providing fire wood
hot springs
sweat nearby
museum will coordinate
away from speakers
no fee
windriver diallysis center has
13 chairs so make arrangements

a found poem so sad at the end.

the best april fool

was when i had my 6 year old daughter
come running into
my married man's bedroom
where i lay snuggled next
to his cheating heart
her rushed and breathless says
there's a woman at the door
that says she is his wife
and he turns white and jumps
sky high
taking the sheets with him
his heart visibly pounding
as we laugh and say
april fool
we did not last
much longer.