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ghost dance (revised)


badger11

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It's only a paper cut, but....

 

My brother's finger bleeds.

A bubble pools around the wound,

dribbles and plops,

snaking his dancing men, the Cherokees alive

with blood.

 

Redskins don't have plasters, I plead.

 

My father wears my hat and colt.

He grins, and offers his pipe

for peace. It tastes not very nice.

 

I sip my cherry coke.

I'm a Native American

sulking with lipstick war

and without crying all my braves

die bravely in black

and white.

 

Is it time to dance? I ask.

 

 

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Original

 

My brother's finger bleeds.

A bubble pools around the wound,

dribbles and plops,

snaking his dancing men, the Cherokees alive

with blood.

Redskins don't have plasters, I plead.

 

My father wears my hat and colt.

He grins, and offers his pipe

for peace. It tastes not very nice.

I'm a Native American

sulking with lipstick war

and without crying all my braves

die bravely in black

and white.

 

 

Edited by badger11
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Hi Badger, I am not sure I know how to feel about this poem. For several years I supported a Cherokee boy while he was in a reservation school in Oklahoma and my cousin served her internship and residency in a Cherokee hospital. So I feel connected to the Cherokee even though most of the Native American people I know are from lesser known California tribes. So of course when I saw "Cherokee" I was interested to read this poem. The Cherokee Nation is the 2nd largest Native American tribe here in the states and they have successfully preserved their culture and advanced their people. I guess I have romanticized the plight of the Cherokee, a noble and proud people who travelled the Trail of Tears and survived. Nothing romantic about your poem.

 

I didn't understand "the Cherokees alive/with blood." Should there have been a comma after alive?

 

The last stanza seems to make a statement about how the Native American has been treated in the movies in the past but it seems disconnected somehow. Your images paint a picture but, I am not sure what I am supposed to do with it.

 

This seemed to be an experiment and I am sorry but it didn't work for me. You know I love your work so one out of hundreds isn't bad.

 

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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What I like in this poem other than the images is the rhythm and sonics in it- the r's in L1, the ou's in L2, the i's in L4, the e's in S2, etc. It could be just a portrait poem.

"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

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This one focuses on a coming of age experience, a rite of passage. The blood brother ritual makes the protagonist squeamish, and the pipe is, most certainly, an acquired taste.

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Thank you Tink, JJ and Tony. I've enjoyed posting this poem around the forums, which has provoked some thoughtful responses. Not least at opus.

 

One of the most heartfelt replies was this:

 

'

as an Aboriginal I often saw the irony of playing cowboys 'n In'juns all by myself -- the TV was a spectacle of Italians playing spaghetti-westerns in black 'n white -- we're often polarized by wearing these same spectacles to view the world in two-dimensional acerbity -- stereotyping makes things easier, which is why Artists are so far a few as they've managed to break-up the view to more than just a cliche', eh - who-knew? -- nonetheless iconoclasts often use a hammer for more than just nailing things together -- I've shared morning-water in teepee's where we sang all night - sweated in lodges to clear-up the sight -- I burned in shame as if in fright 'cause my tongue is red which can't be white and speaks in a language only the heart can hear, in aching-swells to your inner-ear ...

 

your poem uses the dark style of irony to be amusing and by so choosing you've a pithy wit writ deep inside of it ....'

 

 

http://www.wolflodge.org/sananda/great-ghostdance.htm

 

and a less favourable response:

 

'Well what the hell prompted this?

 

The whole bloody dismal scene is spoiled with snide little references to "redskins" an' "native americans" like this is a big emotion shift from redneck to redskin - oh, oh, we understand, sorry.

 

This is sentimental rubbish.'

 

all the best

 

badge

Edited by badger11
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Hi, badge. I read the poem and the comments and I see this is a provocative poem, which is good. I don't know about the others, but for me - not American person and even less the native one :), this poem is wonderful. I can't make compact expressions to write down in this comment, but I feel this poem on some very strange way. I see both versions now, and I would say that the second one, with those few new lines this poem looks even more interesting.

I feel this poem as some walking through the history. The ghosts dance is always around us so your poem is like some mirror to each of us - generally.

The first line speaks a lot, and enough to involve the reader inside your poem. And the last one, enough to explain the come back to the reality.

 

For me, this poem is very special and works to me in a spiritual way.

 

Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed a lot.

 

Aleksandra

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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Thank you Aleks. Perhaps you can relate to this because of your own heritage and tradition, an awareness of your people's identity and their struggles throughout history. I've been thinking about the 'spiritual' side too since posting since readers have shared their knowledge of the 'ghost dance'.

 

hope all is well with you my friend

 

badge

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

wow badge i thought this poem was awesome. i can relate. i grew up near the semonile indian reservation. i saw them do the ghost dance a few times. i can connect thru their spirituality becaise of my faoth and can relate with witch doctors and medicine men because of my proclomation that i am a seer lol;

Larsen M. Callirhoe

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Badge I understand why this poem invokes controversy but as a thing in-itself it provides a lovely intense experience of coming of age and the naivety of a non-first people reveling in his innocence. Another marvelous, well captured moment- after all the black and white is the illusion of the page- not the lived experience of the First....

 

Many Thanks!

 

DC&J

Gate(less.thumb.png.dc23b19d2478d37a9f6fcdc563973026.pnghttps://conjurd.substack.com/welcome Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-)

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