Yanash Kulli *



Excerpted from Constant Fires by Rebecca Hatcher Travis

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.

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.

chickasawpress.com/Authors/Rebecca-Hatcher-Travis

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. 

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.

Cheekbones 

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, Lenape, 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. 
www.terratrevorauthor.com

Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits


Tending the Fire by photographer Christopher Felver with an Introduction by Linda Hogan and a foreword by Simon J. Ortiz, celebrates the poets and writers who represent the wide range of Native American voices in literature today. In these commanding portraits, Felver’s distinctive visual signature and unobtrusive presence capture each artist’s strength, integrity, and character. Accompanying each portrait is a handwritten poem or prose piece that helps reveal the origin of the poet’s language and legends.

As the individuals share their unique voices, Tending the Fire introduces us to the diversity and complexity of Native culture through the authors’ generous and passionate stories, reminding us that “Native Americans today are as modern as the Space Age, and each in their own way carries forth the cultural heritage ‘from whence they came.’ Their abiding legacy as the first people of this continent has found its voice in the hard-won wisdom of their art and activism.

University of New Mexico Press

Featured authors include: Francisco X. Alarcón; Sherman Alexie; Indira Allegra; Paula Gunn Allen; Crisosto Apache; Annette Arkeketa; Jimmy Santiago Baca; Dennis Banks; Jim Barnes; Kimberly L. Becker; Duane Big Eagle; Sherwin Bitsui; Julian Talamantez Brolaski; Lauralee Brown; Joseph Bruchac; Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle; Elizabeth Cook-Lynn; Jonny Cournoyer; Alice Crow; Lucille Lang Day; Susan Deer Cloud; Ramona Emerson; Heid E. Erdrich; Louise Erdrich ; Pura Fé; Jennifer Elise Foerster; Eric Gansworth; Diane Glancy; Jewelle Gomez; Rain Gomez; Sequoyah Guess; Q.R. Hand, Jr.; Joy Harjo; Allison Hedge Coke; Travis Hedge Coke; Lance Henson; Trace Lara Hentz; Inés Hernández-Avila; Charlie Hill; Roberta Hill; Geary Hobson; Linda Hogan; LeAnne Howe; Andrew Jolivétte; em jollie; Joan Naviyuk Kane; Maurice Kenny; Bruce King; Sharmagne Leland-St.John; Chip Livingston; Charly Lowry; James Luna; Lee Marmon; Molly McGlennen; Russell Means; Deborah Miranda; Gail Mitchell; N. Scott Momaday; Catherine Nelson-Rodriguez; Linda Noel; dg nanouk okpik; Simon J. Ortiz; Laura Ortman; A. Kay Oxendine; Juanita Pahdopony; Evan Pritchard; Mary Grace Pewewardy; Ishmael Reed; Martha Redbone; Bobby J. Richardson; Ladonna Evans Richardson; Barbara Robidoux; Linda Rodriguez; Wendy Rose; Kurt Schweigman; Kim Shuck; Cedar Sigo; Leslie Marmon Silko; Arigon Starr; James Thomas Stevens; Inés Talamantez; Luci Tapahanso; Nazbah Tom; Cecil Taylor; Rebecca Hatcher Travis; David Treuer; Terra Trevor; Quincy Troupe; John Trudell; Gerald Vizenor; Elissa Washuta; Floyd Redcrow Westerman; Orlando White; Kim Wieser; Diane Wilson; Elizabeth A. Woody

Goodbye Christopher Columbus

by Terra Trevor

In mixed race America all of our individual histories and cultures matter, yet since 1937, on the second Monday in October, the day Congress named Columbus Day, Christopher Columbus was allowed to ride herd. 

My son bounds from his classroom. Eyes filled with brown warmth, he peeks out from under a cap of shiny dark hair, holding a milk carton cutout fashioned into the shape of a boat, with two smaller makeshift vessels trailing behind. Out of the corner of my eye I see children clutching newspaper sailor hats and Columbus’ Ships coloring pages. With his eyebrows curved in question marks my sons tells me that there is also a song about Columbus, sung to the tune of Oh, My Darling Clementine. And then we both laugh at the absurdity. It’s both funny, and not funny. 

We are a mixed-race, mixed-blood, Native American family. My son knows there is controversy surrounding Columbus and his Day of recognition. But at age seven it’s not his job to carry the weight. As his mother that responsibility belongs to me. 

Read more at HuffPost

“We have stories / as old as the great seas / breaking through the chest / flying out the mouth, / noisy tongues that once were silenced, /all the oceans we contain / coming to light.” —Linda Hogan

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