Amskapi

I can’t tell you what it really is. I can only tell you what it feels like. -Eminem

 

I know more Lakota than I do my own language. Duwale. I know I’m not spelling that right.

Oki, saniitapi?

How many i’s are in saniitapi anyway? Have I got them in the right order? Have I got myself in the right order?

I am tired of my scrabble board self. Colonization bingo.

Nisto matsokapi. Poohsapoot.

I refuse to put my own language in italics. Fuck you if you can’t read it. This isn’t about you.

See, I can give you directives in my grandfather’s forbidden tongue but I can’t tell you much about how I feel. I can’t shrug you off. I can’t express gratitude in any way that you might understand.

For that, I have to go to an old enemy, to bands of misnomers.

I have to sit inside of their suffocation, holding bundles of sage to my face, to see my own reflection shimmering to life, bounced off hot rock.

Mitakuye oyasin?

No.

Minipoka.

 

 

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Peripheral Logistics

When I imagine

myself in moments of unspecific

grand gestures, I am

spinning–

 

arms outstretched, catching

sunbeams or

raindrops or

snow blossoms

in my cupped palms.

My whole being becomes

a chalice, collecting sentiment.

Who cares

 

what the gesture is? All

except this fragile

version of myself

is incidental. Until

it isn’t.

Until

 

we are leaving, the sun

beaming itself off rain

washed grass, your voice

landing

softly among the steam

rising

 

from beneath

us.

Goodbye Stranger

for Castiel

 

When love

looks like densely

woven flannel the color of last

life in autumn, getting stabbed

in the heart

is incidental.

 

You knew

this was coming

but

marching toward the inevitable

for eight years

does not an easier

death make.

Cleaner, maybe.

Simpler, yes.

But never

easy.

 

You knew

that in the flare

of your last

light

you would see

a crumpling face, maybe

two,

and that there would be

no more reaching

out of hands, no more

grasping the arms of

brotherhood

in one last attempt to revive

a lifeline long since

spent.

 

You knew

that as you fell

to your knees

in the crumbling leaves,

the first

snowflake of a Canadian

winter

would fall somewhere in the periphery,

it’s fragile fluttering

the subtle bookend of your

life.

 

When loss

looks like that first solitary

sign of winter, being

remade is

fortuitous.

 

You know.

Foundry Production

Yes, she is beautiful, cast in the half light of fiction. But did you have to say so? Your pronouncement is obscene–the melting, the pouring, the casting of it will burn you before it can hold anything worthwhile. Before you know it, you’ll be the man in the background of a Christmas polaroid, a wishing subject stuck in the periphery of a viable option. A vase bursting with daisies will block half of your face, your good side, and it will be all the more disappointing because you won’t be able to remember daisies being on your table at all that day. Truth is, the carefully golden container was scooped up and carried off by hands that may have fit quite nicely into yours had you allowed them to be filled with only things that matter: your longing friend, the yellow flowers from your wedding day, the copper urn you mistook for bronze.

Streetlight Sanctity

We’re standing in the lamplight

together while a friend

of ours rests her forehead

on the pavement.

 

We want to go home, but

she has to pray.

 

She keeps begging for your

forgiveness, taking your hand,

and you’re staring at me

like she isn’t even there.

 

I’m oscillating between being

chilled by the late

October air and being

 

set on fire by artificial

lighting and the accidental

piety of sky

blue eyes.

Knowing in the age of TED

In the age of the ever present internet, I often feel like I am giving a TED Talk to myself. Like I’m an expert on everything. Anything. Just ask me and I’ll tell you, I find myself whispering into my own ear. It’s as if I’ve saved these moments up like trinkets in a souvenir chest, waiting for the perfect moment to pick out the just right thing and display it with a flourish.

Here, I’ll say, here is the truth.

Of course it’s elegantly presented and I’m pacing just the right amount across my small red circle planted smack in the middle of the too large stage. I use all the right hand gestures and lean forward enough to look engaged but not far enough to come across as domineering.

It’s all practiced, yes. But is it all bullshit? Can anything truly be a farce? Can anything be real?

I don’t know. I suspect the audience will tell me.

If I could tell my 16 year old self anything…They’re rolling their eyes now, wishing they’d chosen another session with someone smarter, more original, more memorable. But they’ll be clapping at the end. I’ll shove my tidy little message into the not so tidy cracks in their still sixteen year old heart. And they’ll feel it. They’ll remember.

That pain you think you deserve? You don’t. When someone hurts you, it’s a reflection of who they are-not who you are.

My 26 year old self knows this with enough confidence to say it to a whole room full of imaginary people. Both of these things are truthful but they’re not exactly true. I can sell them without believing in them. It’s not snake oil as much as it’s a coconut oil cure-all. It’s not randomized or controlled but you’ll see it on click bait until it becomes a kind of fact.

You can buy it. Hold on to that receipt.