This Mess

It occurs to me
in the crisis of the moment
that if I shave myself clean
and grow my hair long
and suck in my cheeks
and buy the right feathers
and bind some part of me
in leather and movieland’s
expectations of what the 
Indianness of me 
is supposed to look like
I still won’t be any closer
to exposing my true self
than I am tonight with this unruly 
stiff curled head and 
this gray bush upon my chin
as the nation
on fire as always with its own
blurred questions of identity
and never funny joke morals
tries on another uniform and
plans for another set of 
massacres and considers
what genocide
will work for good this time
so I begin to laugh 
certain that with my being
I embody the great mistake
of the Founders in that
when they were planning
to overspread and exterminate
and absorb 
they did not take into account
how stubbornly we would remain
outside of their definitions and
no matter how hard they tried
to change us
no matter how hard they tried
to snuff us
no matter how hard they tried
to mascot us and put us
to their own mythic use
in the end 
they were manifestly
destined to fail and thus

in days like these
a half-breed like me
with no apparent touch
of their stereotypes showing 
can still be a pure and straight up
middle finger from
all the Ancestors to
this mess of theirs of which
they’re somehow
so inexplicably proud

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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