Yanash Kulli *

Yanash Kulli *

alone on the pathway
ancient spirits 
beckon deeper
into the wooded land

grandfather trees
guide the way
bowing in majestic arcs
peace and silence here

deeper still
to the sacred stone circle
to the healing waters
hidden inside the forest

a private stillness here
but for a trickle over the stones
an extraordinary place
do you feel its secret?

up from within the heart of the earth
sparkling cool waters
bubble since time unknown
the spring gently bestows its gift

stones capture the bounty
hold it as tiny creatures
skim across the surface
water flees over the rocks

across the land
among the ancient trees
and whispering wind
into the rivers to the great sea

Grandmother watches
she sings her blessed song
Yanash Kulli
bubbles on

* Buffalo Springs

© Rebecca Hatcher Travis. All rights reserved.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rebecca Hatcher Travis is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation who carries deep roots in both Indian Territory Oklahoma and Texas. Her first poetry book, Picked Apart the Bones, won the First Book Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas and was published by the Chickasaw Press. Her second poetry book, Constant Fires, was released by White Dog Press, a division of Chickasaw Press, in October, 2017. Other published work appears in literary journals, anthologies, online and recently in Tending the FireNative Voices and PortraitsMs. Travis is a member of Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. She lives in the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma, near the land her ancestors settled in early Indian Territory days. She continues to write and give poetry presentations.


Dawn Downey on How to Survive Christmas Alone

December 17

Pull the covers over your head to block the morning light, and rest in the spot where your husband ought to be. 

Remember sitting here in bed beside him, propped up with pillows, a map spread between you. You had traced the highways and picked the overnight towns between home and the retreat center out east, where you had planned to spend the last two weeks of the year. It turned out you had wanted to stay home. It also turned out Ben had still wanted to go. Ordinarily your disagreements ended with one of you saying I don’t feel strongly. Let’s do what you want. This one had ended with him standing quietly in his truth and you standing quietly in yours. Remember how your certainty had caught you off guard. 

Wince at the prize you’ve won by standing in your truth: Christmas Alone. Your family spread across the country and you without a plane ticket, your friends with families of their own and you without an invitation. 

Think about being one with what-is. 
Think about surrendering to each moment. 
Think how un-enlightened you are. You don’t want to be one with Christmas Alone. 

Suspect if you were a better person—generous, kind, considerate—invitations would flood your email and your voice mail. 
Get out of bed and check your voice mail. Feel ridiculous. 
Eat breakfast. Write. Eat lunch. Write. Eat dinner. 
Drive to yoga class. 

On your way home, curse the shortened winter days. Curse the dark driveway. Curse the gloomy house. Fumble with the remote control. The garage door groans open. Hesitate as the car idles. Idle with the car. Once inside the garage, pause before pushing the button to close the door behind you. Before crossing the threshold into the house, pause again, one hand on the doorknob. 

December 18
An out-of-town friend calls. Recognize her country-singer drawl and calculate: she lives by herself four hours away; you could visit her, stay overnight, return on the twenty-sixth, the whole Christmas Alone problem solved. 

A country-singer drawl cuts through your calculations. Your friend is worried her forgetfulness is turning into Alzheimer’s. She’s panicked she’ll be trapped inside her mind, inside a nightmare. 

Remember your grandmother. Fighting with the lock on the front door. She’d tugged the handle, and the deadbolt had banged against the door jam. Her boney fingers had stuck out from the sleeves of a jogging suit, and the pants were falling off her skinny bottom. 

Cesar Love Poetry

Black Molasses 
by Cesar Love

Light cannot pass through me
I swallow every spark
I put out each candle I smother the streetlamp
I douse the lighthouse

The moon, the sun, and the day
Down they go in my distillery
Everything bright milled by my night
There I make them black like me
There I make them pure like me

When I am ready, I make the world sweet
Give me flour, I make gingerbread
Give me water, I become rum
Give me an audience, I become music

I am black molasses
I go the speed that I choose
They say I move slow, but really I move free
In this sugar, you meet freedom
In this, sugar, you become four-alarm cool
The bongo of minutes, the gong of the hours,
Simple flickers on the still of your soul

"Black Molasses" was previously published in Birthright by Cesar Love
© Cesar Love. All rights reserved.


The handsome Native
His cheekbones are not chiseled
He is not made of granite
He is not made of marble

The handsome Native
His cheekbones are flesh and bone
They have felt hurricanes
They have met tornadoes

The handsome Native
His face fathoms all weather
He has withstood hatred
He has withstood other small winds

© Cesar Love. All rights reserved.

Cesar Love is a Latino poet influenced by the Asian masters. A resident of San Francisco's Mission District, he is also an editor of the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. His latest book is titled Birthright. His previous book While Bees Sleep was published by CC. Marimbo Press. cesarlovepoetry.yolasite.com

Back to the Blanket: Recovered Rhetorics and Literacies in American Indian Studies (American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series) by Kimberly G. Wieser

For thousands of years, American Indian cultures have recorded their truths in the narratives and metaphors of oral tradition. Stories, languages, and artifacts, such as glyphs and drawings, all carry Indigenous knowledge, directly contributing to American Indian rhetorical structures that have proven resistant—and sometimes antithetical—to Western academic discourse. It is this tradition that Kimberly G. Wieser seeks to restore in Back to the Blanket, as she explores the rich possibilities that Native notions of relatedness offer for understanding American Indian knowledge, arguments, and perspectives. 

Back to the Blanket analyzes a wide array of American Indian rhetorical traditions, then applies them in close readings of writings, speeches, and other forms of communication by historical and present-day figures. Wieser turns this pathbreaking approach to modes of thinking found in the oratory of eighteenth-century Mohegan and Presbyterian cleric Samson Occom, visual communication in Laguna Pueblo author Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead, patterns of honesty and manipulation in the speeches of former president George W. Bush, and rhetorics and relationships in the communication of Indigenous leaders such as Ada-gal’kala, Tsi’yugûnsi’ni, and Inoli. 

Exploring the multimodal rhetorics—oral, written, material, visual, embodied, kinesthetic—that create meaning in historical discourse, Wieser argues for the rediscovery and practice of traditional Native modes of communication—a modern-day “going back to the blanket,” or returning to Native practices. Her work shows how these communication, negotiation, debate, and decision making. 

Back to the Blanket: Recovered Rhetorics and Literacies in American Indian Studies
American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series

Remembering Auntie Out Loud

by Terra Trevor 

Great Auntie Josephine sits in her wheelchair. At eighty her hair is still mostly black, but she is too despondent to do more than sigh. Names and questions won’t stick in her mind. 

I still have Auntie Lydia. Wrinkled, shrunken, ten years older than her sister Jo, dark black eyes gone yellow, but with a memory bank of a mind. Without pausing she tells me stories, a web of words, the same ones I remember from childhood. 

After we fill up on pies and cakes, cameras are brought out. But I don't have any pictures of my dad's side of the family. The film was overexposed the day we all lined up according to our generation. 

For the first photograph the great aunts and uncles are grouped together. These are my grandpa’s siblings, and the line doesn’t hold a white face. 

The next group is my dad, my Auntie Joan and all of their cousins—the first half-blood generation in our family. It gives eyes of blue, hazel, wavy or straight brown hair. 

My brother, sister, and I stand with the largest group of mixed-blood Cherokee, Seneca cousins. We are not full bloods or even half, and yet we’re not white and never will be. And soon enough we will become the elders. 

© Terra Trevor. All rights reserved. 

First published in Yukhika-latuhse - (She tells us stories) published by Oneida Nation Arts Program 

Terra Trevor is the author of a diverse body of work and a contributor to 10 books, including The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing After Removal (University of Oklahoma Press) Children of the Dragonfly: Native American Voices On Child Custody and Education (The University of Arizona Press). She is the author of Pushing up the Sky, a memoir widely anthologized and a contributing editor at River, Blood, And Corn Literary Journal. Her work and portrait is featured in Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits (University of New Mexico Press). Her work also has appeared in News From Native California, Yellow Medicine Review and in numerous other books, magazines, anthologies, literary journals and online. 

Lois Red Elk Writes About Ponies—And Remembers Her Horseman Father

by Lois Red Elk-Reed

Mountain Journal

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