Love It or Leave It: A Thanksgiving Poem

The only real Americans

this poem was inspired by a painting i saw in a 1973 issue of National Geographic. the artist’s name is Charlie M. Russell. unlike many of that day (1800s) he did not characterize the Native American as savage. he handwrote in place of his signature a note:  “they are the only REAL americans”. so, here goes:

AMERICA:

love it, or leave it

they are the only real americans among us

skin as red as Sonora floors

he speaks the sound of clouds

and chants the thunderous

roar of a thousand horses

he is the door to the land

that birthed your patriotic pride and joy

closer to creation

than you may never know

with suicidal brotherly arms

they embraced the withering disintegration

of future generations

bondaged, brave, blind

bandaged, barbaric

tough and raw

with their bark still on

Iriquois ignorance

Judas justified

killing for keeps

left lying, dying on lifted lands

Muskogee, Comanche

molten manhood pooled in bands and

massacred mangled puddles of

sanguine sap that rosies the palms

of every hand

from the tears in eagle eyes

to the towers of Babel

they reach for skies

outstretched like arrows on a bow

for a God who has abandoned US

heard the lies about

the God they trust

trust us

bust us

justice

just us

just see

just me

trust me

treat me

treaty?

hmm…

words not worth the paper

they defile

with worshipped stars

and stripes striking pre-emptively

while the birth of a new nation

blindfolds the death of another

our once fertile, found red ground

sprouts a poisonous sea of green

drops a crocodile tear for offspring unseen

nourishing the seed of wrath in repose

stomachs churn

turned up nose

at the thought of blood spilled in His name

concrete gravestones stain

sacred stolen soil

still, they live here in vain

flying the banner of entitlement

BPA reveals splashes of its DNA

Red men

White skin

Blue eyes

forensic folly hints at

original sin

border fences line long

and line high before purple mountains

seams to keep gates of hell

open to hatred

they justify darkened Manhattan skylines

terror has found its way home

the rooster is calling

Illinois, Sioux me

you are a 4WD Cherokee

stranded on fruited plains

with Blackfeet and bloodied hands

still wet with blame

they are the only real americans

but someone stole his name

chanting Cheyenne wishes

for a Mighty Wind

to blow the unforgiving Sun

across our weeping, spacious skies

cast us into infernal Cree summers

Relentless, consuming

Like the wrath of centuries-old debts untold

he is Eskimo

he is Navajo

he is Paiute

Algonkin

Dakota

Miwok

Yuki

Shawnee

Chippewa

Maidu

Chickasaw

Yakima

Umpqua

Coyote

Shoshone

Witchita

Arapahoe

Pomo

descendants turned to dust in the womb

we will never know him

exiled onto desert tombs

with dehydrated tongues

and bleached histories tell

of killing blankets and crying trails

celebrated in the mockery

of drunken college punks in drag

rather than filling pride

birthmark badges

and federal IDs

savage aborigines

Godless and primitive

wild, like bitter berries

he is the sexy Masala in your good hair

the tan tint in Creole Rue

the safe haven for your forefathers

detours found Railroaded Underground

he is your ancestor’s brother

one-eighth on your grandmother’s

cousin side

mixed breed pride hide inside

erased so effectively

genealogies forgot him

overlooking a pasture of

bare Bison bones

when a word was whispered in the wind

from the past:

Remember

you are his worthless white wetbacks

thanks for Pilgrim-giving

shoulda let you starve on that rock

he prays for the strength of al Qaeda

the resilience of racism

and the swift, just hand of Noah’s Flood

911 was a joke in his town

for him, it was a Pow-Wow

twin teepee in the sky

made you realize

what it feels like to never die in spite of

eternal hunger

he wants his God-damned land back:

My people are broken

Like your promises

And it’s too late to atone

You’ve worn out your welcome,

America,

GO HOME.

Love it or leave it

© He Spit Fire

2007

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3 Comments

Filed under Poetry

3 responses to “Love It or Leave It: A Thanksgiving Poem

  1. “with their bark still on” – great line!

  2. Theresa Avalos

    The title, turned it all right side up, from the upside down tale of the history of the making of America .brilliant! I felt the heart beat of the Native saga through your heart.

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