Grounded

image

Wolf crawled into my skin

Fur pushing through feathers

“You’re grounded,” he said.

Talons became claws and
I howled.

Horse took pity and snuffled to me,

nose to nose until his sweet breath

became mine and

hooves let me fly again.

Stone and stars, beacons

Galaxies, guide

Tethered to truth,

We breathe fire

And fly.

 

Advertisements

On the Sun and Stars and Knotted Hair

The sun called you daughter
     long before you were first
     touched by dawn.

Trees bow before you more
     deeply than they do the
     wind.

You were made of the stars
     and were born in answer
     to a prayer.

You belong.

You gentle strength is forged
     by the fire of the heart

And woven into the fabric of
     the future.

Water will guide your power
     and grace through the fear.

You are here on purpose
     with purpose.

The whispers of angels
     and eagles
will get knotted in your hair

And your laughter will inspire
     the wind.

Ah-wa-heh, old child.

Let beauty ease your way.

You are stronger and braver than you know.

Combing

Bending, I bow my head
And lay my hands upon
Her hair, combing, and think
How women do this for
Each other. My daughter’s hair
Curls against the comb,
Wet and fragrant–orange
Parings. Her face, downcast,
Is quiet for one so young.

I take her place. Beneath
My mother’s have I feel
The braids drawn up tight
As a piano wire and singing,
Vinegar-rinsed. Sitting
Before the oven I hear
The orange coils tick
The early hours before school.

She combed her grandmother
Matilda’s hair using
A comb made out of bone.
Matilda rocked get wood
Chair, her face downcast,
Intent on tearing rags
In strips to braid a cotton
Rug from bits of orange
And brown. A simple act,

Preparing hair. Something
Women do for each other,
Plaiting the generations. 
~ Gladys Cardiff

Weaver Woven

image

Like the waves of the sea
and
winds from the mountains

The past
and Presence
rise to
meet me.

Grief,
gnowledge,
knowing,
impatience

To be heard
and seen
again through

Clear windows to wisdom,
without glass
ceilings or separations
of space or
generations.

They rise to
meet me
in this auspicious occasion
of remembrance.

In a gentle flow,
a crashing of atoms
so fierce
my breath and body

Give way into the nothing
of their everything.
And together

    we rise, we weave.

Silence is Complicity

I had a meeting two weeks ago with a woman, a tribal leader respected enough to be elected into a state legislature to speak for her tribe.

In the same manner that I am directed by Ancestors to others, I was sent to her and shared as much. At the start of our meeting I was up front when I said I wasn’t certain why Ancestors wanted me to meet her, because there are generally three reasons I am connected to someone. However, it seemed to me that an obvious place to begin was the connection of her tribe to that of my investigation of sex trafficking of indigenous women and children.

She was kind, she was open enough to give me a hug when we first met rather than a handshake, and listen without interruption.

I shared no details but gave a general picture as to the kind of information I had about other elected officials involvement in sex trafficking across the continent and mentioned a direct connection to another person in tribal leadership.

What struck me most was the lack of curiosity. I had hoped, while keeping expectations low, that my interaction with a Native American woman in a position of power and leadership would be dramatically different then the interactions I have had with men in tribal leadership and law enforcement positions.  However, her response was largely the same.

This time last year when this unfolding that I call the Fuckery began, even before I had any idea of what I was being woven into, I was told by those in roles of community spiritual leadership to keep my mouth shut. I was told that they, these people, the living kin of the Ancestors who had directed me to them, would not be able to tell anyone else about me. I was also told that should I be invited into a sweat lodge, and I was to go so far as to keep my prayers to myself.

Other tribal leaders have chosen another tack; to remain silent when I have reached out for assistance, fully aware that I’ve done so  at the direction of their Ancestors.

The elected official I spoke to this time did not suggest my silence (but did clarify her own in more ways than one). She shared that it seemed to her I’d become the voice for the voiceless.

And that to speak for them, those without a voice, the past and future victims, I should write a novel. “The story already reads like a thriller! If you change the names, even those you mentioned will know you are talking about them!”

In her apparent excitement, she missed the irony of that advice coming behind the piece of our conversation on the use of lies and omissions on the part white colonizers to create a convenient and fictionalized narrative that suited them.

I’ve said before that there is no apparent political will on the part of federal law enforcement to intervene in the sale of indigenous women and children for the singular purpose of sex, unless they happen to be an end to other means. I could be wrong about that. Institutionalized racism may not play that role in institutionalized predation. May not.

It now also seems clear to me that there is no political will to intervene in institutionalized predation on the very fields from which these young people are disappeared. I could be wrong about that, too. Institutionalized predation, woven into the fabric of marginalized communities, may not play the role in silencing leadership. May not.

The truth will be told. There is no thrill or fiction that can hide the truth that silent leaders are as complicit in the act of young women and children being fucked to death as the brokers and buyers and middle men.

That the tribal spiritual and political leadership response is damn-near identical to that of white federal law enforcement should not surprise me. It does.

It also reminds me that no government and certainly no criminal organization will seek to change the ways that allow it to maintain its money and power and access to legitimacy until the people choose to change it.

While I may remain in hiding, I cannot remain silent. I will speak for those voices have been silenced by death, the threat of death; by fear of family and loss of freedom brought by trust in the familiar.

Their story will be heard as loudly and clearly as their prayers.

There is no fiction that needs to be added to the horror of the truth; that young indigenous people are easily disappeared into the depths of human depravity. To be sold for the sexual pleasure of others. Sometimes repeatedly, sometimes only once. And, unless they are of the fortunate few, to the death. That is not fiction.

It’s a reality supported by a status quo that there is little political will to change and plenty of economic (and political) reason to maintain.

For the Love of a Girl with a Pink Rose in Her Hair

Her name isn’t Asifa

Though it could be. She could be eight years old, too.

She likes to fuss over her own hair, the rose placed just so. Not the rough, any ol’ way She does.

She might be ten. That rose makes her feel pretty.

Until the pretty of the pink gains weight as the head is bowed between another’s to take

him

a breath

them

To be parted like that is to

be scalped

By the highest bidder

Who likes them young enough to bend but not break

The spirit…

Of that little girl. She waits.

Asifa, Layla, Paula, Patrice, Denitra, the young might-be-a-little-Frida.

They could be. They Were.

They are no longer.

Sold to the highest bidder.

Sold out to the gravest sin.

For a bottom dollar,

no longer.

But still a vision with a pink rose in her hair.