With Reservation – Revisited

 

“Words do not pay for my dead people.”

Shall we talk
about
it
awhile while we travel the miles
of
defiled
land
slaughtered
animals
murdered
people
that
lead
to a
place
you will be
graciously confined to
called
a
reservation
but
you
don’t
need
an
application
just
lose
your
apprehension
and
stay
put
here
awhile while we hand out the piles
of
stingy
food
rationed
goods
white man’s
ways
that
you
are
being
graciously supplied
without
hesitation.

“Good words will not give me back my children.”

Yes, but you fled
showing great
premonition
against our
demands,

AND

we require
your
supplication
without
RESERVATION.

“Treat all men alike. Give them all the same law.”

Sure, just submit
to our
imposed
economic
spiritual
cultural
bounded
limitations

until we discover the next resource we want.

“Give them all an even chance to live and grow.”

You ARE free to live
and grow –
within the
restriction
called
a
RESERVATION
and
all
its
white man’s
imposed
economic
spiritual
cultural
bounded
rules!

“Let man be a free man – free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself – and I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty.”

Sigh.

We’ve talked
about
it
awhile
while you traveled the miles
to
bitter
tears
stolen
lives
broken
hearts
that
you
have now
been
forever (until we discover the next valuable resource we want need)
graciously subjected to
called
a
reservation
but…

“You might as well expect the rivers to run backward as that any man who was born a free man should be contented when penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases.”

but…

“I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and all the broken promises.”

but…

“All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers…”

but…

“Words do not pay for my dead people.”

~

All the words in quotes above were taken from a speech given by In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat (Thunder traveling over the Mountains), more commonly known as Chief Joseph. He was chief of a tribe of the Nez Perces (Wal-lam-wat-kin band of the Chute-pa-lu), a group of people who had maintained peace with white people since they had first met and helped Lewis and Clark in 1805. It was always his goal to live peacefully with the white people. After a few young Nez Perces men took revenge on a white settler group who had killed their own fathers and brothers, Chief Joseph’s tribe became the target of military action and revenge, in spite of his appeals.

~

I am revisiting “With Reservation”, first published last year, in recognition of Native American Heritage Month and the continuing battle in my state (Line 5) and others to recognize treaty rights and improve the living conditions of and opportunities available to Indigenous groups. We have a long way to go.

The United States celebrates something we call “Thanksgiving” this week. In schools, students are taught the story of Native Americans who helped Pilgrims during a difficult season and the meal they shared to celebrate the harvest. In truth, colonialism resulted in the decimation of hundreds of nations and millions of human lives. Those who didn’t perish faced the loss of culture, dignity and ancestral lands. The destruction to natural resources that Europeans wrought on the so-called “New World” has included everything from buffalo to water. The persecutions and resource grabs continue to this day.

~

The complete original post can be read here.

~

Words and Photography ©2016 & 2017Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetrynoDAPL & human rights. Bookmark the permalink.

It Cracked

it cracked
like an old bell
statutes of liberty
when, from Command’s seat, pronounced
judgments on where a brother takes a knee
while islands flood in the darkness
and neighbors shift rubble
the king’s worn crown
it cracked

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Entry posted in poetry & Rictameter Verse. Bookmark the permalink.

Where Breath Failed

where breath failed
and tongues were tied
in ropes of persecution
dark words
caught on the lips
moistened by endless tears
rolled off the chin
filling ink-well pools

empty pens
in dehydrated hands
dipped to quench the thirst
of parched minds’ papers
leaving fluid trails
that dried
tattooed
on the skin
of humanity’s
beaten
drums

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse. Bookmark the permalink.

 

Cherita #5

“Line 5” has corroded

snake oil flows
through aged pipelines

it slithers 12 miles
through Native land
pushing fossilized lies

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in #noACP, #noDAPL, poetry & cherita. Bookmark the permalink.

#liftLine5

for more information:

http://www.channel3000.com/madison-magazine/city-life/the-next-big-pipeline-protest/578582133

They Swim

They swim
poor little fish
straight through the safety nets
that would hold them
in fresh water’s flow
they are too young to vote
or weave social change
into protective boundaries

They swim
through gaping holes of greed
lacking resource and means
to bind the shredded holes of ignorance

They swim
swept downstream
to river’s brackish estuary
where
the salt
through osmosis
dehydrates cells

They swim
assimilating the filth
prostitution
drug abuse
theft
abuse
bulging, murderous eyes
desperate

They swim
until
defeated
oxygen depleted
poor little fish
belly up

They float

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse. Bookmark the permalink.

A Candle Lit

a candle lit
they made too much of it
it was nothing
little flicker
casting wimpy shadows
in a dark room
filled with the hot air
that
critics
naysayers
and
waylaying souls
all
breathe
like
wing-clipped, impotent dragons
fresh from
fire gland removal surgery
nail clipping
fang filing
and
plugging their nostrils with lambs’ wool to protect against the stench
of the sulfuric lies they spew

little flicker
like stage blood
offends
in drops
the cultured, privileged eyes
now covered
but
provides
aesthetic gore
to those sheep led to the slaughtering fields of
deprivation
starvation
and
war
their sanguine fluids shed
they
can
relate

little flicker
they made too much of it
it was nothing
wait
until
they
see
the
flame
it
sparked

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse. Bookmark the permalink.

 

What?

what does a ban say
on a sunny Easter Day

THAT

starving children,
the moaning human refuse
collected
for posterity
in refugee wastelands
must starve
WHILE
sheltered youth,
plump and spoiled
dressed in pressed watercolors
not junk yard soiled
are allowed free run
on a White House lawn
to hunt for candy-filled eggs

what does a ban say
on a sunny Easter Day

THAT

this year
the Easter Bunny voted
rolled his eggs for Trump

WHILE

children, impoverished,
hunted meals
from the dump

what does a ban say
on a sunny Easter Day

WHAT?

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse. Bookmark the permalink.

If

If
If it
If it were
If it were your
If it were your children’s bellies grumbling
of course you would feed them
knead stone into bread
until your fingers bled trying
can you squeeze water from clay?
filter impurities away?
with your skin?
steal shelter from garbage bins?
build scrap-tin walls with a cardboard roof
until it rains
filling puddles with the rust
of poverty’s chains
to what land would you flee?
if bombs showered your home?
all order violently destabilized
carry your children on your back
so you might keep their dead bodies from dying
for another day or two
how much time can you purchase?
when you can’t even buy food?
If it were your children’s bellies grumbling
If it were your
If it were
If it
If

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse. Bookmark the permalink.

A Spirited Tanka

march to Native drums ~

’til colonized beatings end ~

spark truth’s blazing fire ~

wishes won’t sop up spilled oil ~

words do not pay for the dead

~

(Inspired by the words of Chief Joseph, “Words do not pay for my dead people”, and the Native Nations March on Washington, D.C., today.)

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/american-indians-gather-d-c-four-day-protest-trump-dakota-access-pipeline/

#NativeNationsRise #IndigenousRising #NoDAPL

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Entry posted in tankapoetry & NoDAPL. Bookmark the permalink.