Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Winners of the "Codename: Geronimo" poetry contest!

When Turtles Fly is proud to announce the winners of the first ever "Codename: Geronimo" poetry contest.  Please see the previous blog entry for the contest's inspiration.

I've chosen 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and honorable mention.

Each of these poems approaches the topic from different angles, yet each also participates in one of Native American literature's signature acts: that of rewriting, or correcting, the historical record.  Whether it is Anita Endrezze's conflation of colonization and Middle Eastern war, soldiers with "boots heavy as centuries," or Kim Shuck's ageless "debate over the bones," or Kimberlee Lee's warning to hate-mongers of any era, "We see you in your darkness/it's where you always go," or Tiffany Midge's haunting question, "How many times should they kill Geronimo?" these writers understand and point out the terrible genealogy of racism and oppression.  And, these writers know that to correct and reconstruct history from a Native perspective is to directly engage with lies - those fierce guardians of "history"- that are deeply embedded in the mythology of the United States.  Each of those poets goes singing into that conflict, understanding the necessity of their intervention.

I'm honored to have their words grace this blog, and my life!  Thank you, poets!

And here they are.


A Rogue Wind Over Fort Sill
Spring Song for Goyathlay 2011

Windows are such lonely things the
Dry of Turkey Creek the humidity of
Osrash the debate over the bones these
Threads these words that stretch that
Call a handful of dirt this invocation that might be a
Cure for unhealing wounds for the lack of a
Scapula an ulna or an ingredient in an amulet for
Hiding in hills unfound the
Invisible blamed or blameless the
Lost in the crevices those
Folded, sequestered words kept
In a box at someone’s throat or carved into a
Gemstone a word learned
Silently this cure this
Contact poison this
New connection

by Kim Shuck



“We are all the children of one God. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we have to say.” Geronimo (Goyathlay, or “one who yawns”)

The sun
is a prairie of light.

The darkness
listens to us
as we wonder
if it is separate
from ourselves.

The prairie moon
is yellow grass
and river stones.

The People sing,
 their voices
 lost in the vastness.

Then comes the soldiers,
with orders that march on
boots heavy as centuries.

The silence of light
clouds of blasted light
as Time passes from enemy
to enemy. Whose hands
are clean from the ashes
of the dead?

The earth turns

Tail winds of bombs,
bullets cracking
the sky
into our bones
your bones,
all the bones of the sky
breaking dawn
into splinters
of death.

by Anita Endrezze

Name Game

It’s not as if we didn’t know
The politics of Indian hating live
On in your war machine red with blood
Driven by fear hidden in code.
We see you in your darkness.
We know the places you go
Always repeating yourself in patterns
Too familiar, too loud, too slow
Foolish in your pride, you don’t think
We notice; you are wrong
That man was no Geronimo
We see you in your darkness
It’s the place you always go.
by  Kimberli Lee

Codename Geronimo

In 2011 someone made an order, kill Geronimo;
soldiers dispatched by jet, by car, with orders to kill Geronimo.

The Brits had a new princess and Fergie’s daughters had silly hats
but the Royal wedding was eclipsed by the killing of Geronimo.

I heard about it on the radio; bin Laden’s been ratted out
living in a pleasant Pakistani suburb, KIA Geronimo.

He used his wives as shields; there is nothing about
that fact to cheer yet some did after killing Geronimo.

For tribal nations the namesake’s a hero, little doubt
occupy their minds as to the military’s code KIA Geronimo.

It’s just another cry for war without
restraint. Our hero wasn’t a terrorist, the real Geronimo

fought to protect homelands, way of life, I’d say devout,
feared perhaps but how many times should they kill Geronimo?

by Tiffany Midge

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