Saturday, November 12, 2016

Native American Heritage Month--A Poem for Standing Rock and #NoDAPL

I've been so frigging mad about the news coverage of the Standing Rock protests. The media, for the most part, can't be bothered to go out and actually investigate what's actually going on. No lattes out on the prairie. So they just take the word of the lying sheriff and governor. After NPR's recently, I just blew, and my poor husband had to listen. Finally, I decided to try to tame the anger in form. So, a sestina for Standing Rock.


I have run out of time
and patience with news coverage so
lazy and biased with a bow
always to
the company owners, powerful and rich,
and to what they want said.

It never matters what my people have said
again and again. Every time
government or corporate forces, so
violent and powerful, require us to bow
in submission, and we won't, the rich
dictate what's broadcast—and written, too.

When I try to explain to
well-meaning white friends, they've said,
“But disorder!” to which I reply each time,
“But oppression!” and sow
seeds of doubt in their comfort. The bough
must break some time and dump the rich

into the mud with the rest of us. The rich
tapestry of cultures that we are can't be reduced to
only WASP—Native, Black, Latino said
to be lesser, negligible, inferior. Each time
I hear this, the fire of anger grows within, so
hot and fierce. It's time for the ruling class's farewell bow.

So long we've stayed peaceful. Soon, it may be time for bow
and lance and rifle, if the rich
can't be compelled to lift the boot, too
sure of their own power to listen to what we've said.
They don't realize it, but they're running out of time.
In arrogance, they rip the fabric of the nation we sew

back together in new, shiny shapes, so
colorful, strange, stronger, tied with the bright bow
of human dignity and rich
gleam of equality and justice. To
those who've always had power and said
to the rest of us, “Give us time
to dole out bits of freedom,” we say, “No,” so...

You've run out of time. Now, reap what you sow.
We'll no longer bow in submission to
the demands of the white and rich. Hear what we've said.

© Linda Rodriguez 2016