Monday, October 13, 2014


The other day I rode my bicycle
To the National Museum of the American Indian

I wanted to see with my own eyes
What I've started to feel
That other ways of living
Pre-conquest, those were real

Before the moment of contact
And long after it too
People made cosmologies
And they looked like me and you

Before the world turned to
Where it's still stuck in time
Where Cortés and Columbus are heroes
And the ones already here, slime

So I rode my bicycle down
To the NMAI
Because I needed to know
There's more than just lies

And there they were
Facts out on display
They wanted us dead
And yet we're here today

My sister ran our DNA
To learn our antecedents
Africa, las Américas, Europa
Slave, indígena, peasant

Norway, England, Germany
Ireland, Spain, Mexico
Other words are lost
Those are the names we know

Whose bodies absorbed contact
Through everyday brutality?
Annihilation visible in retrospect
Eased through consanguinity

Well if it were up to me it would crumble
The view that puts white in the clouds
That puts black in the ground
Endless evidence in shrouds

But there is no choice for me
Of a self/other divide
My cells are a remix
I see through enemy eyes

I confirmed the hunch
That's pounding in my skull
The clearer I can see
The more my knife seems dull

There is no other place
In which to be this self
Whipping my flesh
Leaves you with welts
I see myself at NMAI
But I can't keep conquest at bay
Mestizo irises light my eyes
Always, forever, Columbus Day