There Must Be A Poem Here Somewhere

There Must Be A Poem Here Somewhere


(for the 400 Indigenous folks, writers, who attended

 the 4 day “Returning The Gift” Writer’s Conference,

 University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, 1992)


Walked through the wind-dried woods

this morning looking for a poem –


a scrap to construct a writing of epic proportions

searched the parched underbrush and red sand

surveyed the leaf covered trail, poked a probing

finger into an indentation in the stone shaped

like a bird nest asked the stone with a pinch of

Tobacco to release a poem of its flighty ways


walked through the blank halls of the university

journal and pen in hand, scribbling with the tempo

of laughter from brothers and sisters gathering

their own stories some more lost than others

missing familiar homeland terrain where wild

Moose, Corn fields, Plumed Serpent, jumping

Salmon composed their own musical story

waited patiently for someone to relate it to


I sought the common root that binds us the

wet rawhide/Buffalo coat pulling us together

stretching us well beyond our imagination


heard it told in a loud voice how

the white man stole our sounds of magic verse

then buried our poems in drawers of sunless

museums gasping for the scent of green grass

summer rain and the call of Eagle 

the broken Hoop of the People?


“see that tree over the roadway?” 

old Kiowa Chief Satank whispered

to a captive companion “I shall not go beyond it in slavery


O sun, you remain forever, but we Kaitsenko must die.

O earth, you remain forever, but we Kaitsenko must die”

and chief Satank went no farther….


prisoners on our own ancestral lands how often

do we choose just short of the Blooming Tree of Life?

the Hoop of the Nation is broken only in our imagination


poems live and sing where we least expect to find them

move to the beat of ceremonial drum urging us come listen


spoke with two grandmothers who live alone in the woods

who light old family stories in the fireplace to keep warm

spoke with teenaged writers grown wise before their time

on city streets and dusty roads of the reservation inventing

new recollections of brave Chief Satank I walked

beneath red-purple sunset forest moonlit night 

along with black silhouette movement of Xhixhimeka

chanted poems by firefly light and green frog rhythms


heard the ageless voices of our fore parents

lap Little River shore line “we are still here

wait   look   we are still here!”   found a near

perfect rose stone under dried out stream

slate rock I added it to my growing collection

of still-damp rain water verse


found our campsite

near the shoreline of Little River

heard your warm sleep-sounds Kathe

Walking Bears Siberian Husky dream whimpers

when I settled into the arms of family I felt

the dark soft green Earth move slightly

as our Mother nestled into Her proper place


so many poems to choose from


                                                                 Aztatl X



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