Tuesday Night Minwaajimo
Here we sit on Indi’n time, (no relation to Greenwich)
In a classroom with two bearskins and an 8-point buck head
Not replicas, genuine taxidermitage the OppSit of avatars and Navstar.
The bulletin board is salmon-flesh-red with munido and dodem signs
Our chairs tan and black, with wheels to make us mobile,
Same as nomadic Anishnaabe, in the old life, when The People moved
From hence to thence and here to there,
From sugar bush to fish camp to hunting camp and back to sugar bush
Moving year-round in a musical chairs cycle.
Guitar picker in the corner but no band in the wings,
Behind us an infirmed microcephalic soul,
Howls with the voice and pitch of a non-English-speaking seagull
I am grateful to not be on LSD or Jimmy Jones Kool-Aid, or DDT, never mind an LST
Surfing through bullet-riddled surf toward Tarawa, as many Indians did back
In Dubya-Dubya Deux. S’il voux plait, let our own origin story shine through here,
It is the job of poets to tell such Tells and Tales, both the long and the short of them.
We are here gathered here, Scribblers and like ilk, as tight as cats, as varied as the Cast of Cats,
All colors, hues and creeds and deeds,
My brethren are dressed in a plethora of footwear
From combat boots to bowling shoes. One girl has purpled hair
And smooth bronze flesh and I watch her purple dance,
While a poet recites his poem of Ten Cent Beer at a Mexican
Baseball game, losing me in the middle innings,
I was always a starter in my time, and finished my own messes,
Never relieved, not once in years, I am thinking of Nonbinary
Bozos, that new class of neither AC nor DC,
I think they are mostly declared one way or the other in this tribe,
My mind is not in Mexico or Spain, but in France
And dancing in The Finale, pronounced Pigalle,
The writers up front argue politely over who shall start and who shall anchor the nite.
(We out here couldn’t care less). And one of them crinkles a full cheap plastic water bottle ,
making it sound like small knuckles cracking, as if that dreaded Torquemada were here interrogating children, stifling their screams.
These brother-sister are scribblers of the Earnest Earnest clan, Heart-On-Their Sleeves Lodge,
passionate neutrals in all but their own art. The girl with robin egg blue toenails has Matching accessories,( an art in itself, I am told)
Details all the way down to her soles with paper-thin color-coordinated flips of flops.
Indi’n women outside the classroom are talking about red clover
Better pick it now, cause there won’t be none in the stores.”
One poet looks like a leading character from Lillyhammer, same hair, same long face,
but From Iron River, samish-samish as Norway? No matter: Drink-Fish-Hunt-Do Drugs-Make Whoopie,
you know all that 80s stuff nobody any longer cares about, if they ever did.
Listen to the debate over who goes last last last last as
Poh-ehms, poyms float out at us like daisy-cutters, she says, “I squeezed their lives
Like pulp through a juicer and I love this line from a poem about writing obits for parents.
Entering long-term care homes, such things being like scouting, you know, “Be Prepared?”
At least three faces in the mass mess from the bulldog countenance clan,
And the hemisemiquasiquaver voices snapping behind me is like old peanut shells
Being opened bare-fingered. Another poem about love spawned by the polar vortex winter
“A couple years back.” It all reminds me of post-mission gatherings of eagles in the Takhli stag bar,
where bullshit and Salty Dogs reigned and urinals overflowed with the adrenaline from the day’s mission survivors,
all back safely from Downtown, a rare enough occurrence.
The gull boyman’s cadence has the throat-singing tone of a hypertropic drum cadence
An Indian drum group would find easy to follow, “Let’s all welcome our fancy dancers.”
The Indian writer with a maple syrup voice says something about someone asking her to
“Write me somethin’, out there, ya know how cousins are? (I don’t)
It’s like church, these gatherings, Et sine Deo in cubiculo,
With talk of drunken uncles and aunties who wear no panties
And rage against The Man, Whilst dogs bark through open windows
And pickup trucks with broken exhausts howl and roar the streetway.
Warrior marks, the one writer tells us, we have to earn them as we can
And all I can think is IIII and I know that’s got to be wrong-minded,
And not her point at all. The path home, she keeps telling us,
Death we call it. people still coming in and out of the room,
And nary a single solo word as they come
And go said, I can tell you, of Michaelangelo
This whole thing a play, our writerly culture on misdisplay
Do we know the U.P.’s premier band of Chet and Jenny?
Dude that was 1981 – get Thou on with it. The gull laugh-coughs
Alternately, like switching political parties. This is all great fun
But I need supper sitting down, not standing.
Miigwech. Color us outta here, it’s cluckmeat for supper.
June 14, 2016, Written on the Occasion of the Authors’ reading for the Michigan Authors’ collection,
at the KBOCC Wabanung Campus,L’Anse, Michigan. This is the Second Annual Gathering, and it Needs
A Better Name.