I Am From
I am not a leader, not quite yet.
I am a follower of those before who cut this trail.
I am my mom, my kokum and her motherI
My mushum, his dad and soon my own father.
In the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions more.
I am, we are, this time came from our people, those silenced and those graved.
Our blood comes from our ancestors; we are all their prayers answered.
I am a follower, able to advance, only for those who have bled my path.
I don’t know my language, but it’s still mine. I pray in English, and that’s just fine
For the Great Spirit understands the heart, hears the mind,
Feeds the need of what was once our time.
My people are lost, misplaced so wrong, so now so many roam so sad and alone.
Our eyes carry the peace of the past.
So troubled to task, so to release, is to deny this cultural claim.
To drink, to consume all the same assimilated poison, the mind’s broken the spirit stolen.
I am not unique. I fought and fight the same battles,
For demons still lurk and leap from the blankets and shadows.
I am not unique. I am something else.
I am all my ancestors before me.
I am the living past.
Adaptable and sustained for this day and age.
I have more opportunity than a few decades prior.
It’s the past before that my soul seeks and cries.
Desires that make my heart slowly tired expire.
I beat this drum that was put in my hand. To jump start it, my heart, again.
I hear the voices revise, the pasts alive, in me is how they will survive.
I am not unique, and I am not your weak;
I am all my sisters and relations past.
My mother, my kokum, all everyone, I have in me their blood to withstand.
Through me they continue until we find some resolution for restitution,
Resurrection from reconciliation,
For boundaries like before with no restriction, no rejections.
They live once again.
And continue to cut, to slash, for wisdom to be given, they are on a mission.
Truth leads and sets direction and so I listen and honour and onward my deed, I proceed.
I am a follower, I come from those already rest, sent to my job, supersede.
It’s my turn now to cut, to bend, create, mitigate as I now navigate.
For those who follow, I will be a leader.
I won’t go far as them. But, I will go further than my family has ever reached.
In those who come after me, I too will live through them,
As followers to leaders, it’s passed down.
For our people are never gone, we just pass on our power.
We just are not as numbered.
So, I am a hundred thousand of my people in one.
I am not unique.
I never was and I will never be, and so alone not in life or on this path.
I have a hundred thousand commitments who carry me for the future generations,
My past, our ancestors.
Where I’m From
by Clara Apt
My name is Clara
I’m from a winding system of forest trails,
Bears, coyotes, and foxes, oh my!
I’m from lush green vegetation and fragrant flowers,
Surrounded by the soothing hum of buzzing bees,
I’m from an pet-packed abode,
With constant hollers of—
“Where’s the damn lint roller?”
I’m from the mood swings of Mother Earth,
Summer mirages and white winter glass,
I’m from the chatter of nosy neighbors
Until I look out the window
And they’re going, going, gone
I’m from a town spewing strong words of hatred and ignorance
Honestly, someone should just put a muzzle on it already.
I’m from the mecca of the descendants of Italian immigrants,
Pray tell, do we really need eight pizza places here?
I’m from the last dying breath of a marching band
The end of an era, they say it was
I’m from an age-old clash between progress and preservation,
They like to call the uprooting of culture
An “economic investment.”
The glistening stars of my home’s night sky
(they never reveal their faces in the city)
Beckon me to return.