SEE ALL TAGS & MOODS
I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
The river is famous to the fish.
The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.
I like the lady horses best,
how they make it all look easy,
like running 40 miles per hour
is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.
I like their lady horse swagger,
scurried around a classroom papered with poems.
Even the ceiling, pink and orange quilts of phrase...
they introduced one another, perched on a tiny stage
to read their work, blessed their teacher who
The instructor said,
Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you —
I was a kid other kids’
parents gossiped about.
They told their children
what I was: too negative.
I get it. Fair to fear
contagion of bad attitudes,
let the colonial borders be seen for the pretensions that they are
i hereby honour what the flow of water teaches us
the beauty of enough, the path of peace to be savoured
I like people.
I’d like some paper people.
They’d be purple paper people.
Maybe pop-up purple paper people.
Proper pop-up purple paper people.
From an original rock painting in Topock, Arizona, now digitized on a
Before this city, the Creator pressed his staff
into the earth, and the earth opened—
Now, we take the moon
into the middle of our brains
so we look like roadside stray cats
with bright flashlight-white eyes
in our faces, but no real ideas
of when or where to run.
In every which way, I am living
for potential. I’ve mined cadmium
enough to roulette with Death
and Mars, bloodshot brute,
is swollen in my honour.
My function is action —
to pummel through concrete
The world has become corrupted
from our hearts
to the way our gods love us
as if they know they’re already dying
and they’re determined to drag us down with them
I remember my birth
like it was tomorrow, the unholy sensation
You sit in the forgotten bone-dry hills
surrounded by sand and sagebrush
above Buffalo Pound Lake.
A day and a night, and then
three more days and nights.
Dem did sey she pregnance
Cum a sea full a mi
Weighing har down eena har shoe dem
Dresses, coco, mangoes an baggy an arl
Dem did sey de ship nearly sink
Mi mumma nebah sleep a wink
I only know rivers
Waters elongated to the unrumpled recitatif
of endless land
The Bow knows
Has tongued and grooved the firmament, baby,
of this Last Best
It has to be loved the way a laundress loves her linens,
the way she moves her hands caressing the fine muslins
knowing their warp and woof,
like a lover coaxing, or a mother praising.
One thousand eight hundred seconds.
Protest is not supposed to be comfortable.
I am fourteen
and my skin has betrayed me
the boy I cannot live without
still sucks his thumb
how come my knees are
always so ashy
what if I die
Take the thickest socks.
Wherever you're going
you'll have to walk.
There may be water.
There may be stones.
There may be high places
you cannot go without
I was walking up some stairs in a building
Inside parts of the building were new
but no one lived there anymore
I passed a lucky fox head on the stairs—
gap tooth black girl
back corner of class
poetry on blank paper
save the school's
curriculum for later
A view from two sides of Polaris, it is said:
the living awaits destined relatives to retort.
These people go around waking the sleeping ones
You can't be an NDN person in today's world
and write a nature poem. I swore to myself I would never write a nature
poem. Let's be clear, I hate nature — hate its guts
Stepping off the plane in Whitehorse
the last thing I expect to feel
not quite alone
but close enough
here in this great black north.
As we drive away from the airport
Here's how you make pemmican
big ghosts contra
band my diction war
korea's north sees red as
america flags china's chopped limb
british crowns hong kong
cut for duplicity more capitalist than capitalist
somewhere a little girl is reading aloud
in the middle of a dirt road. she smiles
at the sound of her own voice escaping
the spine of a book. she feeds on her hunger
Blue-white afternoon. The Bow river churns and smokes
as the city rumbles, economy chokes and bundled homeless
build cardboard homes in the snow. Yes, Walt, this is the new
To be a good
ex/current friend for R. To be one last
inspired way to get back at R. To be relationship
advice for L. To be advice
for my mother. To be a more comfortable
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
A work of art is a world of signs, at least to the poet’s
nursery bookshelf sheltered behind the artist’s ear.
I recall each little motto howling its ins and outs
to those of us who might as well be on the moon
If I am judged
If I am punished
If I am dismissed
If I am misunderstood
If I am celebrated
If I am envied
If I am competed with
If I am slandered against
If I am seen
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
My Black heroes don’t drop names like Fendi Gucchi Prada
My Black sheroes rock afros like Angela Davis and Assata
But my sheroes are more than a trend and they’re bigger than a hairstyle
for Alton Sterling, Andrew Loku, Philando Castile, et al.
I wanna live, son. But which son are you?
There where the rivers are made
of moonshine and the lights still wait,
Blousy guitar I don’t want to count the beats Hey Hey
My pen I have bed hair in the best way Daughter
of sunlight and air and I’m glad you were born
on this day or put another way: that you were
I understand you.
I get what you’re trying to say.
What you’re trying to say is you want me to get it.
I get it. You want me
to understand. You want me to know
(for the Chinese maroons, British Columbia, 1999–2001)
if you arrive in the belly of a rusting imagination, there are grounds to
outlaw you. but Canada is a remix B-side chorus in the globalization
— say the names say the names
and listen to yourself
an echo in the mountains
say them like your soul
was listening and overhearing
and you dreamed you dreamed
Both guitars run trebly. One noodles
Over a groove. The other slushes chords.
Then they switch. It’s quite an earnest affair.
Praise the rain, the seagull dive
The curl of plant, the raven talk-
Praise the hurt, the house slack
Gotta love us brown girls, munching on fat, swinging blue hips,
decked out in shells and splashes, Lawdie, bringing them woo hips.
As the jukebox teases, watch my sistas throat the heartbreak,
(a twelve-tone poem)
trite yap show
rosy twit heap
A thousand martyrs I have made,
All sacrific’d to my desire;
A thousand beauties have betray’d,
Someone waiting in the lobby of a Hotel Imperial amid
the spaciousness tourists and peeling gold leaf
might see it all as too hesitant for truth
yesterday at the Oakland zoo
I was walking alone for a moment
past the enclosure holding the sun bear