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Sienna Feb 19
A little native girl,
went upon her day,
not yet understanding,
what was to come her way.

Pale people on ships,
descending down the bay,
would go on to take her,
far, far away.

Too young to comprehend,
her life would never be the same,
and was ripped from beneath her feet,
without any shame.

A glimpse of harsh reality,
in the darkness there she lay,
only foreign men lying to her,
telling her it was okay.

Years went on by,
the destruction of our say,
the blood of the ******,
is now in our vein.

Their newest family,
yells that nothing will ever change;
we cause nothing but issues,
"Just shut up and assimilate,"
Ken Pepiton Feb 14
From labyrinth in Istanbul, my eye spied a familiar cord

How can any education
Be a sufficient insurance
For a pathetic population
Keeps favoring ignorance

From <>

Truth known makes free,
truth hid is not ignored,
it waits the fire the next time innocents
are sacrificed to lies. ... thanks, you gave me a spark,

as real as any angel a self anoints another, go
be a lying spirit in the mouth of the tyrant's prophets,
let all the wise

laugh at the possibility of one peacemaker's leaven,
leavening the entire lump, liked or not.

Plop. On to the publisher's desk, piles of wonder and ifity.
A fantasy realm,
counter trope, here the so-called victor-victim ratio,
is imperceptibly low,
we have a regulation: each day requires
its sufficiency of evil,
no harm done is intentionally not possible,
otherwise you get a dimension of flat metric orthogonal
constructive critics
assuming unassigned roles. Do you dance? Or only read along?

Behold how great a fire words may kindle in a satisfied mind.
Permission granted is a state to be in, if you can imagine that's our native earthling state. If we are not the happy people, such must be imaginated.
Julia Jan 11
Once upon a time
Before the whites stormed our prairies
Like it was theirs from
The beginning
We roamed as we pleased
No cares but our own
Life was simple
We were
They came like a wolf in sheep's clothing
Only wanting peace and a
Fair chance
We comply
We make space
Yet they are not
They take our outstretched hand
But pull a thread of our clothes
From behind our backs
with the other
Turning and running
till we are left naked
And we wonder
When they will be
We’re driven to places
That are not our home
They claim they have Providence
On their side
They will do as they please
Until their goal is
So here we live
Where they say we can
In the way they allow
And though it has been
Hundreds of years
We will not be silent for
Our killed brothers and sisters
Our stolen land, our stolen lives
We will not be silent
We are not
I am not Native American, this was for a history final where we tried to look from a different perspective.
Rayma Nov 2020
when we first came to this land,
blood was shed for our entitlement.
when we first came to this land,
we took the things that were never ours
and trampled its native growth.
when we first came to this land,
we instilled in it a sickness that may never be cured;
we tarnished sacred lands with greed we call virtue,
and when we did so, we stood on the throat of humanity.

there are some people who are doomed to repeat history.
there are some people who will trample native growth,
spread sickness,
and stand on the throats of our people.
with the heavy weight of six centuries upon our shoulders
we stand,
a hobbled nation no longer able to stride,
heads held high,
through this sea of blood without meeting challenge.

with six centuries passed, we commit genocide anew.
it is not the native growth that suffers,
but the very peddlers of greed who are infected
by the sickness of consequence.
but they alone will not suffer.
as we march through this new iteration of history
wearing death masks instead of cloth,
thousands of innocents lose their lives
in a battle of which they were never a part.

the single day that we dedicate to gratitude,
the one day of the year some remember
to give thanks in between passing heavy dishes,
is not a commemoration of discovery.
it is a commemoration of consequence and greed.
and six centuries later,
it is our own people whom we will massacre with the cry of freedom.
This year, I'm celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day by staying home and staying masked. America's history is a ****** one, but there's no reason why we can't stop history in its tracks. With Covid-19 cases continuing to rise and falling further from our control, please rethink your plans if you're gathering with people outside your home this Thanksgiving. Anyone can get the virus, and your need to gather with family while others remain stuck in isolation could **** your parents, your grandparents, your nieces/nephews, and even you. Holidays happen every year, there's no reason why you can't miss just this one. Please stay safe and celebrate responsibly. Wishing everyone out there lots of love and healing, and a quick recovery to those infected/effected by the pandemic ❤
Krystal M Toney Sep 2020
My feet tease the path
as I dare to venture
deeper into my own
simple pleasures.

Beckoning to the trees
to sing the melodies
of our tired ancestors
as the wind flows through their leaves
like fingers over a harp's strings.

The hawk dances with the shadows,
daring the sun's rays to cut in,
hand outstretched, shinning and asking
may I have this dance?

The owls hoot the language
of muzzled tribes.
Low and deep,
filling the forest with the vibrations
of forgotten souls.

And as the world calls,
the armadillo crosses my path.
It follows me to the ledge.
It offers me it's armor
and pushes me off the edge.
In honor of the armadillo that crossed my path not once BUT twice. May your visits continue to remind me that the forest is not only alive BUT LIVING.
Norman Crane Sep 2020
water drops
     drip on rocks
          from the tops
               of tomahawks
Pigeon Sep 2020
trauma drifts down through the branches of my family tree
like summer pollen
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Fadwa Tuqan has been called the Grand Dame of Palestinian letters and The Poet of Palestine. These are my translations of Fadwa Tuqan poems originally written in Arabic.

Enough for Me
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Enough for me to lie in the earth,
to be buried in her,
to sink meltingly into her fecund soil, to vanish ...
only to spring forth like a flower
brightening the play of my countrymen's children.

Enough for me to remain
in my native soil's embrace,
to be as close as a handful of dirt,
a sprig of grass,
a wildflower.

Published by Palestine Today, Free Journal and Lokesh Tripathi

by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In my solitary life, I was a lost question;
in the encompassing darkness,
my answer lay concealed.

You were a bright new star
revealed by fate,
radiating light from the fathomless darkness.

The other stars rotated around you
—once, twice—
until I perceived
your unique radiance.

Then the bleak blackness broke
and in the twin tremors
of our entwined hands
I had found my missing answer.

Oh you! Oh you intimate and distant!
Don't you remember the coalescence
Of our spirits in the flames?
Of my universe with yours?
Of the two poets?
Despite our great distance,
Existence unites us.

Published by This Week in Palestine, Arabic Literature ( and Art-in-Society (Germany)

Nothing Remains
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight, we’re together,
but tomorrow you'll be hidden from me
thanks to life’s cruelty.

The seas will separate us ...
Oh!—Oh!—If I could only see you!
But I'll never know
where your steps led you,
which routes you took,
or to what unknown destinations
your feet were compelled.

You will depart and the thief of hearts,
the denier of beauty,
will rob us of all that's dear to us,
will steal this happiness,
leaving our hands empty.

Tomorrow at dawn you'll vanish like a phantom,
dissipating into a delicate mist
dissolving quickly in the summer sun.

Your scent—your scent!—contains the essence of life,
filling my heart
as the earth gulps up the lifegiving rain.

I will miss you like the fragrance of trees
when you leave tomorrow,
and nothing remains.

Just as everything beautiful and all that's dear to us
is lost—lost!—and nothing remains.

Published by This Week in Palestine and Hypercritic (read in Arabic by Souad Maddahi with my translation as a reference)

Labor Pains
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight the wind wafts pollen through ruined fields and homes.
The earth shivers with love, with the agony of giving birth,
while the Invader spreads stories of submission and surrender.

O, Arab Aurora!

Tell the Usurper: childbirth’s a force beyond his ken
because a mother’s wracked body reveals a rent that inaugurates life,
a crack through which light dawns in an instant
as the blood’s rose blooms in the wound.

by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hamza was one of my hometown’s ordinary men
who did manual labor for bread.

When I saw him recently,
the land still wore its mourning dress in the solemn windless silence
and I felt defeated.

But Hamza-the-unextraordinary said:
“Sister, our land’s throbbing heart never ceases to pound,
and it perseveres, enduring the unendurable, keeping the secrets of mounds and wombs.
This land sprouting cactus spikes and palms also births freedom-fighters.
Thus our land, my sister, is our mother!”

Days passed and Hamza was nowhere to be seen,
but I felt the land’s belly heaving in pain.
At sixty-five Hamza’s a heavy burden on her back.

“Burn down his house!”
some commandant screamed,
“and slap his son in a prison cell!”

As our town’s military ruler later explained
this was necessary for law and order,
that is, an act of love, for peace!

Armed soldiers surrounded Hamza’s house;
the coiled serpent completed its circle.

The bang at his door came with an ultimatum:
“Evacuate, **** it!'
So generous with their time, they said:
“You can have an hour, yes!”

Hamza threw open a window.
Face-to-face with the blazing sun, he yelled defiantly:
“Here in this house I and my children will live and die, for Palestine!”
Hamza's voice echoed over the hemorrhaging silence.

An hour later, with impeccable timing, Hanza’s house came crashing down
as its rooms were blown sky-high and its bricks and mortar burst,
till everything settled, burying a lifetime’s memories of labor, tears, and happier times.

Yesterday I saw Hamza
walking down one of our town’s streets ...
Hamza-the-unextraordinary man who remained as he always was:
unshakable in his determination.

My translation follows one by Azfar Hussain and borrows a word here, a phrase there.

Biography of Fadwa Tuqan (aka Touqan or Toukan)

Fadwa Tuqan (1917-2003), called the "Grande Dame of Palestinian letters," is also known as "The Poet of Palestine." She is generally considered to be one of the very best contemporary Arab poets. Palestine’s national poet, Mahmoud Darwish, named her “the mother of Palestinian poetry.”

Fadwa Tuqan was born into an affluent, literary family in Nablus in 1917. Her brother Ibrahim Tuqan was the most famous Palestinian poet of his day. She studied English literature at Oxford University and won several international literary prizes.

Tuqan began writing in traditional forms, but later became a pioneer of Arabic free verse. Her work often deals with feminine explorations of love and social protest.

After the Nakba ("Catastrophe") of 1948 she began to write about Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories. Then, after the Six Day War of 1967, she also began writing patriotic poems.

Her autobiography "Difficult Journey―Mountainous Journey" was translated into English in 1990. Tuqan received the International Poetry Award, the Jerusalem Award for Culture and Arts and the United Arab Emirates Award, the latter two both in 1990. She also received the Honorary Palestine prize for poetry in 1996. She was the subject of a documentary film directed by novelist Liana Bader in 1999.

Tuqan died on December 12, 2003 during the height of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, while her hometown of Nablus was under siege. Her poem "Wahsha: Moustalhama min Qanoon al Jathibiya" ("Longing: Inspired by the Law of Gravity") was one of the last poems she penned, while largely bedridden.

Tuqan is widely considered to be a symbol of the Palestinian cause and is "one of the most distinguished figures of modern Arabic literature."

In his obituary for "The Guardian," Lawrence Joffe wrote: "The Palestinian poet Fadwa Tuqan, who has died aged 86, forcefully expressed a nation's sense of loss and defiance. Moshe Dayan, the Israeli general, likened reading one of Tuqan's poems to facing 20 enemy commandos." In her poem "Martyrs Of The Intifada," Tuqan wrote of young stone-throwers:

They died standing, blazing on the road
Shining like stars, their lips pressed to the lips of life
They stood up in the face of death
Then disappeared like the sun.

Yet the true power of her words derived not from warlike imagery, but from their affirmation of Palestinian identity and the dream of return.

"Her poetry reflected the pain, loss, and anger of the Nakba, the experience of fleeing war and living as a refugee, and the courageous aspirations of the Palestinians to nationhood and return to their homeland. She also wrote about resistance to Israel’s injustices and life under Israeli military occupation, especially after Nablus fell to Israeli forces in 1967, heralding Israel’s long-term occupation of the West Bank, which remains to this day." - Zeina Azzam
Michael R Burch Feb 2020
for Thomas Raine Crowe

...These nights bring dreams of Cherokee shamans
whose names are bright verbs and impacted dark nouns,
whose memories are indictments of my pallid flesh...
and I hear, as from a great distance,
the cries tortured from their guileless lips, proclaiming
the nature of my mutation.

NOTE: My “mutation” is that my family appears to contain English, Scottish, German and Cherokee blood, meaning that my ancestors were probably at war with each other. Did my English ancestors force my Cherokee ancestors to walk the Trail of Tears?
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