Poem by Tezozomoc

 

The Violent Guilt and Shame


“We are the survivors. We are the evidence of their crimes. They don’t want us as a reminder of what they did.” — John Trudell

And now it is winter in America.
It is the summer of our discontent.
The American colonial project
Clouds the view of our past.

In naturalizing nature
We take the right to life,
The sovereign liberty,
And we take the property;
And diminish its power.

These people
They are so naive
So free with their property
If you ask them
They gladly share it with you.

              “They would make fine servants…
              With fifty men we could subjugate
              Them all and make them do whatever
              We want.” — Christopher Columbus

You see it’s not satisfied
With merely holding people
In its grips
But wants to empty their brains
Of form and content.
In cynicism, it turns to the past
Of the oppressed people,
And distorts,
Disfigures
And destroys.

As if Fredrick handed
Fanon his words…
The people must realize
Power gives nothing
Away for nothing.

The system works
Because it doesn’t work.
It is a system of exploitation
In its brutal form
Which comes with guns
and re-inscription
Of territory with its
Platt maps
And its 11th century
Juridical appropriations.
It occurs in subtle ways
A loan, food aid, black mail
Rendering a few to dictate
Over the masses in the
Name of civilization.

Today we can’t see
The obfuscated
Facade of neo-isms
It was easy to see
The “Whites only,
No dogs or Mexicans” signs.

              “Southern trees bear strange fruit,
              Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
              Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
              Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

              Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
              The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
              Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
              Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

              Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck,
              For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
              For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
              Here is a strange and bitter crop.”― Abel Meeropol

Today as survivors
We are constantly met
With our oppressors
Explosive outbursts of anger,
Their hypervigilance,
And their intense
Sense of alienation.

The theft of the land
As eidetic dreams
Are re-experienced
As historical collective
Traumatization
Re-inscribed on
The body without organs
Or organs without bodies.

The eidetic dream of
Role reversal
That the marginal
People of color
Will inflict the same on the
Deed holder.

The americana of double speak;
The motif of split self;
The territorial telluric killer
And the righteous narrator
Of western civilization.

The perpetrator trauma
Is uncheck left only
With more violence.

No collective desensitization
Or reprocessing, no
Time perspective therapy.

The perpetrator trauma
Of historical genocides
Have not delivered
On the economic
Cultural, psychological
Reparations promised
By atonement and forgiveness.

Today when we make claims
To authenticity,
To culture,
To language,
To property,
To power;
We are met with
Renewed acts of violence.

Outbursts of anger
Engendering domestic violence
And street crime
Against our claims as first peoples;
First nations,
First stewards
Of the land and
The people.

We are met with
The collective emotional numbness of,
“Jews will not replace us!”

The estrangement
And apathetic violence of,
“Grab them by the pussy.”

              “When asked by an anthropologist
              what the Indians called America
              before the white man came,
              an Indian said simply, ‘Ours.'”‘ –Vine Deloria Jr.

Tezozomoc is a Los Angeles Chicano Poet and 2009 Oscar Nominated Activist. His work has been published in journals like The Silver Stork, Come and Go, and the anthology The Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters.

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