Sunday, December 13, 2009


Forget Grandmother

Woke up one morning to forget new status as grandmother
cognizant barely I am a woman of nature listen up now girl
nature is saying I understand everything I forgot grandmother
iffy culture shows me not to be too certain over not knowing
what to do each morning the quick little steps warn me I must
pretend grandmother she asks again “coo coo, where are you”
pays to answer or she might color a design on me with marker
like she did yesterday when I accidently posed as a toy or doll

Rev Me Up Double Take

In Nicaragua, a woman revolutionary celebrates
with her cadres. One of them might notice her
dark colour. Ask her if she has been to the beach.
It is a subversive way to ask if she is an Indian.
Stories told about solidarity & racism in Nicaragua
divulge greater quandary of how colour and class mix.
Woman thinks she must be Inca. Let’s hope she is that.
She confesses she has many resemblances to one.

Cuna might be another possible rival ancestry.
For sure Cuna because she is so like a friend I know
who is genuine San Blas Cuna when dressed in regalia.

It is not always the convincing evidence we need.
Someone at work told her she has the hands of
a potter. Generations sculpted those hands. Proof.
Five hundred years have faded our recollections
of who we are. In 1992, we trade past glimpses.

I remember I am a Mohican queen not half
wit half baked half hearted descendant but one
total regal caste in blood bones bare chested
Indigena who paddled out to check her weir.
Never precious pocahontas or Matoaka waiting
for discovery in original Tsenacomaco land.
Takes five centuries for a resurgence take back
ancestral dreamtime before us forgotten women
use imperialist nostalgia to reconnect the power:
resistance revitalization regeneration revolt

Taken for granted a woman juggles identities
--poet, revolutionary, Indian, mother, daughter
wife, ex-wife, grandmother & cultural worker--
I catch a peek of who I am when she talks.

Indigenous Verse Ability

Right off, ingenious character needs to apply
any part-time genius res identity on or off
assimilated come lately fork off tongues hack

Right on, dress accordingly use convenient
scalp wig or beaver hat trap appendage bag
reach for medicines label holistic holocaustic

Always, fuk wid Indin expert tease please
even if disabled walk with crutch is not even

Never, forget internal voice represents eternal
Injunaity croak sing songs of constant repetition

Remember, all ancestors big small fat lazy do-gooders
disguised helping professionals vary alarm sounding

Forget, ancestry breeds contempt for lesser bestials
why curse the drumstick butterballed to death apart

Come to it, pretend to copy another native vernacular
open the new age um biblical encyclopedia manual

Come off it, dust off the tonsil or operational vacancy
veer forward given our future is likely double doubt

Grab, bundle get a move on after all nomadism calls
visit worlds not on the internet or don’t shop around
not always about financial welfare though it helps

Let go, recognition reputation respite any reservations
linguistic liars documentaries what takes honest breath

Laugh it up, not everyday is a good day to genocide
not easy to chortle word choice snicker sounds cute
gross indigenous digs gross out counter digital return

Laugh it off, easy enough to do if a feather is stuck
unusual place not tickly by any standard of remorse
diversify humour learn to laugh at uncomplimentary

Marie Annharte Baker is the author of Exercises in Lip Pointing, New Star Books, Vancouver

A review of Exercises in Lip Pointing by Reg Johanson:

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