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Archive for April, 2010

Hard Times Are Relative

This is a true story told to me by a man I met last year.  It was a quick encounter but one I will never forget.  When the man found out that I write poetry, he asked me to tell his relative’s story.  I’m always glad to tell a story I think is important.

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After writing the poem, I was worried that I may not have remembered the interpretation of the man’s name correctly.  I have read that many Native American names are spiritual, and I didn’t want to be offensive if my interpretation (or memory) was incorrect.

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So I wrote to the good folks at Native Languages of the Americas, and they gave me a thumbs up.  Please check out their link.  It is full of interesting information.

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They do not know me.  I’m not Native American, and I am not affiliated with the site.  I just thought it was very nice how quickly I received a helpful answer.

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The details in the poem all come from the man’s story.  The only thing I added was “Whitey’s” as the name of the bar.  I have used that name for bars in other poems, and it seemed to work for this one.

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There’s Been A Recession On The Reservation

For A Long Time

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They call him Jim Beam

but his real name means

Eagle of the Sun.

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His dark arms have

sweated in tobacco

fields for fifty years

under the whip crack

of blue noon day rays.

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He coughs up blood

and pieces of lung

from Marlboros,

red clay dust,

spray from planes.

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Jim Beam drinks

all night long,

burns his paycheck

at the neon flame

of the casino
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where big tittied women

throw back their heads

and laugh to the beat

of his swirling life.
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His sisters who made it

have money, college.

They came back strong

to help the young ones

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learn about their fathers,

their mothers, pride,

language, songs.

On the reservation,

a new day has dawned.

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But under a streetlight

after a knife fight

he didn’t start

at Whitey’s Bar,

it’s too late

for Eagle of the Sun.

Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

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This poem was originally printed in my chapbook, Price Reduced Again, courtesy of Backpack Press.

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How Great-Great Grandma Loolah

Won The West

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Julie Buffaloe-Yoder.

She put her boots on

and thunder rolled

down the mountain.

Callus hard, she was

as tall as tomorrow.

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Let the boys tell their tales.

Loolah knew the truth

of how the West was won.

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It had nothing to do

with Doc Holliday

or box cars

or rot gut whiskey

or a big blue ox.

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It was killing a rabid gray fox

with a twist of its throat.

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It was panhandlers, rapists,

another husband swinging

from a dusty June noose.

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It was a gun in one hand

and a baby on her breast,

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whooping cough, tetanus,

typhoid fever by the spoonful.

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It was snuff in a can at Christmas

and saving the potato peelings

that curled on her dirt floor.

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It was all the sorrow of spring

fermenting in root cellars,

bubbling up in the creek.

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It was a woman’s hot red

center of it all,

her hard marrow.

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A flame throwing fire.

A sizzle on a griddle.

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It was raising her dead soul

from a chicken feather bed

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and plowing the jagged back

of that same black mountain

where she planted them all.

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It was one gray wet dress

drying in a crooked shack.

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It was singing at sunset,

sweating late into the night.

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It was her, alone,

ready to take hold

of the slick, sharp horns

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ready to put on

those work-heavy boots

of tomorrow.

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My short story, Miss Fish Refuses To Evacuate, won the grand prize in the Carolina Woman 2010 writing contest.   Many thanks to the editor and publisher, Debra Simon, and her staff.

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Carolina Woman is a North Carolina lifestyles magazine with a readership of 100,000 professional women in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill region and beyond.  Debra Simon is a writer and editor whose work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Seventeen Magazine, Adweek, Reuters, The Miami Herald, The Hartford Courant and The Financial Times.

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I enjoy the articles in Carolina Woman, and I especially love finding out what’s happening in the arts scene in North Carolina.

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You can read my story HERE.  Scroll down to read the work.

You can also see the 2009 winners HERE.  Please stick around to read all the winners.  There is good work there!

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Thanks again to the kind folks at Carolina Woman magazine.  Please be sure to check them out.

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And thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read here.  You are most appreciated.

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Poetry Package by Hosho McCreesh

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It’s a rare treat nowadays if I happen to have a few bucks in my pocket to spend on luxuries.  When I do, I always buy a book.  If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that I’m a big fan of Propaganda Press, because their poetry chaps are awesome, and the prices are low.   Even a broke ass hick like me can buy when payday rolls around.  That’s what I call poetry for the people.

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Here’s my latest treasure from Propaganda Press–a Deluxe Poetry Package featuring the work of Hosho McCreesh.

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Hosho McCreesh is an excellent poet and artist.  He’s one of those poets whose work I order without hesitation if I have any money.  I was especially happy to find out that in addition to his newest chapbook, I could order a package that contains “extra goodies.”  Yep, that’s a picture of it above.  I felt like a kid in a candy store when my copies arrived this week.  Here’s everything that comes in the package:

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* A 92 page chapbook (1/4 page size):   An Adamant, Unmitigated Hope Even Amidst The Doom… by Hosho McCreesh. The cover art is by Sean Lynch of Ten Point Design and wraps around both front and back covers.

*A powerful broadside poem signed by Hosho McCreesh.

*A small (2 1/4″ x 2 3/4″) pocket book, 4th Street Vagaries by Hosho McCreesh, filled with  poems and photographs.  I love the small pocket books, and this one is…I’m trying to think of a better word than awesome to describe it.

*A magnet that is a laser-printed full-color reproduction of original watercolors by Hosho McCreesh, Winter on 4th Street.  Set of 26 designs, each unique and featuring a different poem from 4th Street Vagaries.

Now, how cool is that?  A magnet with a poem on it!

*Bonus chapbooks…and the bonus books are so good that I’ll be coming back to tell you more about them, too.  The bonus books included in each package are by various authors and possibly for a limited time.

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Of course, I love it all.  An Adamant, Unmitigated Hope Even Amidst the Doom… contains poems that tell the stories and ask the questions that every human being should ask.  It is real–the darkness, the light, the struggle to survive.  The form of the poems is beautiful, and the writing is accessible to all readers.

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The price for the total package is $10.00 plus shipping and handling (I think it was thirteen bucks total).  The copies are also going extremely fast.  So if you’re thinking of ordering, don’t wait.

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The package can be ordered HERE.   You can also view more pictures of the package HERE.

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Check out interviews and more work by Hosho at one of my favorite sites, the outlaw poetry network.

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A review and sample poems can also be found at Poet Hound, which is another one of my favorite places to find good poetry.

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Now, I’ll quit yakking for two seconds, so you can go see it all for yourself.  It’s worth way more than the low price.

And, as always, thanks for reading!

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