Daily Archives: May 30, 2016

Yankee Doodle

Originally posted 5/30/2011.

Watching the parade
I at once (somewhat
unfairly) distrust

the clergyman
walking amongst 
the children,

the admiral
speaking of sacrifice 
from the podium,

the policeman 
the kids

the Puerto Rican flag
on the sidelines,

the politician waving
and shaking hands
along the route.

I’m wrong to suspect automatically
that nothing is what it seems,
but after all

this is 
an all-American holiday, and I’m
a Yankee Doodle Dandy,

Yankee Doodle do or die.  I grew up
with an erratic Uncle Sam and
I wasn’t born yesterday. Certainly

I’m wrong
to automatically suspect
anyone of anything but

isn’t the larger wrong 
how my mistrust has so often been 
so well founded,

cheapening and weakening
any chance at an honest
Yankee Doodle joy?

Mirrors At War

Mirrors go to war armed with glass 
and glossy bullets. Perfect aim, 
lust for fame, long pained memories.  
Effortless strategy, clear risk assessments.

Armies stare at each other
before battle begins. They recognize
themselves in the enemy lines.  They
charge certain of who’s over there.

Mirrors at war break as any glass breaks.
All those silvered knives littering the ground
of battle. All those tiny, sharp reflections; civilians
will be shredding their feet and shedding blood

for eons after. Both sides ever
unable to walk straight. It won’t be forever
till someone angers up and takes up the charge,
and then it will be mirror, mirror once again.

A Little Something

Originally posted 9/15/2012.

A little something to chew on:
I’m neither Italian nor Mescalero,
and also both.  

A little something no one wants to hear. 

A little something:
this big paleface isn’t.
A little something:
I have no card to show you to give you government-level proof.

A little something:
you can gut yourself
bending over backward

to prove your value
to people you could care less about.

A little something:
the family was divided, but that doesn’t show.
A little something:  
it came up every time
I looked at my father and knew he would say
I was one thing one day, the other on the next.
A little something my mother never spoke of.

A little something:  my grandmother
called my dad a thief
every day.

A little something:  I am a lot of poison.
A little something:  I don’t trust. 

A little something:  on the rez I’m just another eyeroll, another shrug.
A little something:  to my Italian family, I’m not quite there.
A little something:  to supposed allies, I’m easily forgotten.

A little something:  I have had White friends
openly reassure me
that it’s ok with them
and being Indian does not matter,
it’s not the same, it’s not the same as if I was…

A little something in my clenched hand.
A little something with talons in my shoulder.

A little something:  you don’t have a clue 
what’s behind the eyes of anyone, what they recall,
what they went through, what they go through.

A little something:  
sometimes I don’t mention it
for months to new acquaintances
just to listen to them talk without knowing.

A little something:  
sometimes I mention it at once
to new acquaintances 
so I can get the stupid out in the open.

Sometimes I am surprised.
Sometimes I wish I was surprised.

A little something in my eye.
A little something behind me, whispering.

A little something:  I can tell you are bored with this.
A little something:  I can tell you think it’s overblown.
A little something:  I can tell you think it’s not huge pain.
A little something:  I never said it was,
but you can’t hear that
over your own damn noise.

Don’t deny it.

I can hear you. 

You all say it,

you all say it straight or slant
and somehow
you wonder why I keep 
a certain distance, keep 
a little something