Online Poems By Wendy Rose Essay Research

Online Poems By Wendy Rose Essay, Research Paper

Itch Like Crazy: Resistance

This is one of those days

when I see Columbus

in the eyes of nearly everyone

and making the deal

is at the fingertips

of every hand.

The voices beyond my office door

speak of surveys and destruction,

selling the natives

to live among strangers,

rewards fr sine service

or kinship with the Crown.

The terror crouches there

in the canyon of my hands,

the pink opening rosebud mouths

of newborns or the helplessness

of the primal song.

Ghosts so old

they weep for release,

have haunted too long

the burrs and ticks

that climb, burrow and stick.

Sand Creek, Wounded Knee, Piedras,

My Lai, Acteal, Hispaniola, Massachussetts Bay Colony,

my mother, the stones, channels of water,

blood of her veins, every place

a place where history walked,

every ring on Turtle’s Back

a mortar to split our seeds,

every sunflower bursting from asphalt

raises green arms to the sun,

every part of Tewaquachi

has formed the placenta

from which we emerge,

every red thing in the world

is the reflection of blood,

our death and our rising.

Now I dance the mission revolts again,

let the ambush blossom in my heart,

claim my victory with their own language,

know the strength of spine tied to spine,

recognize him when he arrives again,

this hungry one, must feed him

poisoned fish. Must lure the soldiers

into trap after trap, must remember

every bit of this.


Margaret Opens the Bon Ton Saloon

Bear Valley, Mariposa Land Grant, California


To let: solid building, two rooms, suitable

for enterprise and hard work:

frontier town on the Mariposa Grant in the southern part of the Mother

Lode. Local Indians pacified and tame. — John C. Fremont, owner-seller

I never liked that man.

My new husband, Maurice,

thinks the world of him.

"John Fremont will be president one day"

he says, with a grand patriotic wave

of his old Prussian hand,

grander than the wave he gives me

when I saddle the mare for a ride.

We would do well enough

to sell sarsparilla and meat,

but Maurice says no;

the miners must have

their Saturday spirits

and we must collect

the coins.

There is not another white woman here.

But I am strong. I listen without flinching

to the cattlemen and miners

explode through the door

from the dust of the road

and settle themselves at the bar.

Let hang the next story writer

who comes to my table

with notebook and camera

to ask of my long memory,

the rocking on the sea

and slow bump of wagon wheels,

neverending tall grass of Missouri

giving way to sagebrush and stone,

the high mountain passes,

a multitude of pigeons overhead.

I will not say I was hungry

or that redskins came to our wagon

and frightened me. I say only

that San Francisco was sweet

and the stage to Mariposa

smelled of mens’ sweat

and the cloying perfume

from long petticoats

rustling in the scrub oak leaves

to sop the water

from foothill creeks.


Alien Seeds

(on reading a book about plants growing wild in


How is it that I did not know the gold hillside

near my house

is as foreign to the land as any intruder, as the straight boards

and liquid rock poured onto the land where my house stands?

All these, wild oats, the strangling grass, even the succulents

with the secret of moisture within, the tumbleweed

rode on the tails of strange beasts or were caught

in the wool of Spanish sheep. How can I not feel

the killing, the massacre that cleard the valley, the foothills,

the mountains of my kind? For every seed, its wagon train;

rhizomes colonize underground, spines catch foxes

on their little hooks–barbed wire crosses our nations

and taproots suck the stolen dew

no matter how dry the desert.

Thistles thrive on the most ravaged flesh;

invaders ruthlessly kill just as the bloodthirsty men

who drove their cattle from shrine to shrine

lowered their rifles, aimed, fired.

The Elders have always known this.

They fast and pray, then hunt

for exactly the right kind of grass

as their grandmothers before them;

they pick a few, never the first one,

never more than they need.

They return home with great art in their eyes.

And now they walk forever with empty hands,

baskets made thin with ribs sticking out.

Beads, yarn, safety pins replace beargrass and willow.

Eucalyptus rolls its seeds on the ground,

we slip and fall, hurtle into the sacrifice,

gather not grass but sorrow in our hands.

Vanishing Americans, endangered species,

vermin and weeds, call it what they will,

rock hard places where bones rattle down.


For the White poets

who would be Indian

just once

just long enough

to snap up the words

fish-hooked from

our tongues.

You think of us now

when you kneel

on the earth,

turn holy

in a temporary tourism

of our souls.

With words

you paint your faces,

chew your doeskin,

touch breast to tree

as if sharing a mother

were all it takes,

could bring instant and primal


You think of us only

when your voices

want for roots,

when you have sat back

on your heels and



You finish your poem

and go back.


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