super blue blood moon

they’re calling it in whiteness
and i have to search
the internet to
seek anishinaabe names
spirit moon
i think now
because bear moon seems
too early but
what do i know

i know colten’s name
the trial starting now
my heart in saskatchewan
my heart here
about to teach billy-ray
to walk into a classroom
and say colten’s name
barbara’s name
last week
john t. williams’
name

i dreamt of bleeding
all night
dreams of blood

 

poem originally posted on Smokii Sumac’s Facebook page January 29 1:09pm

what you don’t understand

is that for the Indigenous person in your life

Colten is family.

Colten is me.

Colten is my brother.

Barbara

is my mom’s name.

Barbara is my auntie.

Barbara is our grandma.

Tina is our niece
our little sister
our baby girl.

What you don’t understand is
when you survive genocide
everyone left
is family.

originally posted on Smokii Sumac’s Facebook page January 30, 2018 at 11:14pm

consent series

i.

forget the bad sex
i want to read the good
the genderless space

they made art with snakes
took a break from installing
to meet me
drink tea

them sweetly smiling
“can i kiss you?” I asked them
“yes”
and then we are

in that moment first
when your insides cross fingers
the inhale
connect

lips on collar bone
the length of them along you
move from couch to stand

tiptoes
“you’re so tall”
“do you want to go in here?”
“Yes.”
move to the bedroom

slow for seconds
sneak kisses between giggles
feeling deep sweet shy

check in again now
hand sweeps nearing that soft spot
where pants meet stomach

inhale deep soft kiss
hard exhale you think of snakes
of hands on the wheel

on you
shed clothing
“i really like you arms” flex
feel stronger here now

fall into laughter
in this bed
neither of us
will sleep in for long

slow quiet kiss now
“what do you want to do?” smile
consent
an
active
verb.

 

ii.

#makesexgreatthefirsttime

my first time was good.
when i say this to women
they are often shocked

we are taught instead
it should hurt
that it’s breaking
something inside you

not taught our pleasure
only shame
turn the lights off
normal is for him

did you get him off
wait through long pounding hours
or just a minutes

taught to hold our breath
stare at how many ceilings
to-do list in mind

my first time was good
the consensual first time
the one that i count

he smelled so damn good
had softest high thread count sheets
made crepes when we woke

yes
i stayed the night.

and isn’t that what we need?
radical balance

i wish that for you
a revolution of sex
for every human

softest sheets and crepes
or rose petals and candles
tender exploring

whatever you like
maybe punk rock and the floor
if both of you want

creating the world
together how you want it
co-write the story

communication
and
continuous
enthusiastic
consent.

 

iii.

#makesexgreatthefirsttime

the other first time
her name whispers on my tongue
taste sweet green apples

she walked in the room
in my memory it’s like
she was sent to me

a gift for my truth
that feels admitted right then
yep
i like women

when i say a gift
don’t get me wrong here, okay?
a gift of learning

a gift in our way
not consuming capital
i don’t want to own

she walked in the room
and it was clear to me then
my other first time

desire is so sweet
when you don’t seek to own her
only make her smile

we tangled ourselves
into the web we knew then
starbucks and late nights

dancing clean
sober
at the recovery club
driving in my car

turning it up loud
she had tattoos everywhere
and then she kissed me

we were on the floor
“sleeping” over at a friends
“watching” a movie

that other first time
the Godfather our soundtrack
hard film our soft light

remember the way
she melted into you there
you were so damn scared

and yet each small ask
“is this alright?” met with yes
you kissed each tattoo

taste sweet green apples
held each other giggling
became lovers then

while the godfather
played on
you learned about you
her
us
together

she taught many things
but the one that sticks with you
is how it all felt

that other first time
sweet
green apple
consent.

 

iv.

last night in the car
you checked in on my feelings
such care and concern

i thought about
toxicity in language
of that word “friendzone”

i know how men feel
guess what? i’ve been “rejected”
not just their problem

but in those moments
ive learned to take what is mine
hold my own feelings

honour yours truly
when you tell me what you need
listen and hear you

we can’t just seek yes
convincing ourselves worthy
only through your eyes

you
we decide
without really knowing
already “the one”

last night in the car
you checked in on my feelings
and i was honest

you here in my life
brings this magic
this grounding
there’s a new strength here

quiet flirtations
give me fields of butterflies
you are incredible

you teach me to see
the world through your careful lens
glimpses of beauty

you point out to me
things i rush past too quickly
you slow me right down

last night in the car
when i checked my own feelings
i told you the truth

everything we share
all the beauty you can give
you as you are here

you
are enough
and you deserve above all
your autonomy

so if i ask you
like i did
if there’s more here
and you say no

then my friend thank you
for what you give is enough
remove the pressure

im only here for
what you choose to give freely
grateful for friendzone

since it’s where we are
both comfortable
where we
mutually find
consent.

 

poems originally posted on Smokii Sumac’s Facebook page January 16-19, 2018.

a love letter to the spill

and to gord
and to the baby set to be born today
and to their momma

this was the first place i read poetry in nogojiwanong
this place made me a poet
like you also made me a poet
as i weaved your song lyrics
into my own honouring
of your grief of your strength
of your mothering

today you will give birth
with your lover a near stranger
in the room
something about this
reminds me of him

your love
your baby
revealing itself
constellations of
newness
never seperate from old

i fell in love here
the first time i saw
you interrupt the room
dark beats and screaming
induct me into the
church of garbage

i flirted hard with you
that one night here
you wrote me the butterfly poem
and then i really knew
later i sat in a chair in the back
wrote you a love poem
made all the queers jealous
and then we fell out of love too
closed our doors
and somehow i’m still okay.

you served me gin and radlers
and helped serve a purpose
when i still drank, too
if i did still drink
maybe i would write a line
about how the sinks
so close to the toilet
always made things easier
for my consistent trips to the bathroom
but that hasn’t been me for a long time
so i won’t

i never played music here
but i think i always knew
if i was to ever grace your stage
that it would have to be the best

it would be a bold
and courageous act
just going for it
like you will today
meeting your new baby
like he did that night
in front of eleven million people

like each one of my friends
and perfect strangers
who gave me a little piece
of loud
a nod of my head
over and over to the beat

if i had been there last night
i’d have given you my best and loudest lulu
from a voice that will also change soon
too.

after richard wagamese

i was 17 years old
scared
blacking out and cutting my arms
waking up to dried blood
unable to stop

i showed up in your office
sat on that old green couch
you helped me make calls

the adult treatment centres
wouldn’t take me
too young
we finally found that place
the cedars

“hi, my name is angela
and i am an addict”
anonymous meetings
counsellors and key tags
i made it two years
with all of your help

i remember that first drink
nineteen
that first drink lead to
seven years
new habits added on
and new degrees
too

from the downtown eastside
to the casino on the rez
from blurry dim bars
to the white bathroom light
as i got sick
yet again
unable to stop

i was twenty-six
binged across the country
i left you
the habits followed
scared
blacking out and driving myself
across province lines
unable to stop

“hi, my name is angela
and i am an alcoholic”
meetings meetings more meetings
calling you
learning about spirit helpers

moose are born with their eyes open
you already know
what you have been looking for
you’ve always known
i saw it before it happened
i knew what was coming

a text message
inviting me in
to ceremony
i left some of it there
at that centre pole
stopped actively trying
to say goodbye

and still it followed me
choosing life
just the first step
learning how to live
a whole new path

i remember that first drink
twenty-eight
that first drink lead to
two months
up all nighters
sickness in my head
my stomach
my heart
unable to stop

but you never left me
my ancestors
my family
the medicine

you never left me

and when it was too much
too much too much
i sent you a message
you sent me a song

somedays still hard
somedays it calls
somedays i wonder if
what if
just one

but today
for you
you gone today
i will fight it
today is easy
to remember
to be honest
today
for you
i will continue

thank you
for fighting
for your honesty
for your words
for your love

i know that your love
has just changed forms
and we will feel it
in the full of the moon
in the breath of the stars
in the frosted tips of grass
in the song of the mourning dove
you are here

i will remember
thank you

love poem series

ka paǂkinin̓tik
or 
there are things our women have taught me:

1. give generously without worrying where more will come from;
2. laugh deep and hard with each other more than you cry;
3. learn everything you can and teach it freely;
4. know where you are going and go all the way-get the doctoral degree, get on council, hell, don’t stop there, you can be nasukin-you can lead your nation;
5. speak softly walk gently rock your babies to sleep;
6. raise your voice in song or anger-never be silent in the face of injustice;
7. feed everyone, including yourself;
8. light the fires, call in the drums, join hands-you never know when you’ll need a friend-honour your relations;
9. share the good stories alongside the tough ones-share whatever story feels right, especially the sexy ones-on that note, fall in love and celebrate every orgasm;
10. hold your loved ones close and breath in the scent of them;
11. grieve loss as deeply as you love, without shame or fear;
12. carry the hearts of your sisters your grandmothers your daughters born or yet to come your aunties and nieces and cousins-carry them in your heart;
13. keep going. This is not the end.

 

a love poem to your great great grandmother

ka titinaǂa
the one that started it all
though i have a feeling you’d say
there was another before you

but this poem is for you
whose prayers were so strong
done in just the right way
hidden away in a drawer
for so many years waiting

for the right moment
the right granddaughter
the right ceremony
right is the wrong word for this
maybe i believe in
ordination
if only when i think of you

when i think of him
here with us
breathing
typing out his own love poems
honouring

husukiǂq̓ukni
thank you
for bringing all that you have
for saving my life
for sharing your family
your teachings
your presence

thank you for praying us here

 

a love poem to myself

oh, my dear
we’ve been through a lot
so much has changed

thank you
for not giving up
thank you
for giving some things up
thank you
for working to keep
relationships with so many
of the best damn people
in this world

thank you for learning
thank you for fucking up
thank you for

well
no
falling down sucked
especially that last time
but i guess
then
i should thank you
for getting back up

thank you for your poems
thank you for your smiles
thank you for the tears and
especially the laughter

thank you for the love

poems originally published on Smokii Sumac’s Facebook page January 20-23, 2017 (right around the time of Trump’s inauguration)

cleaning out the car

our car
it was once
that time we
drove to california

that year or two you
always drove
my license

suspended

that was a different car but
the consequences reached into this one typed onto the paper of an old abstract erased now from the new ones statute of
limitations
doesn’t work on memory

i hear my own heavy sobs
on the street that night
before thanksgiving
when the police officer asked me
if i wanted to die

if i was going to kill myself
and i lied

but then i called her
and she talked me down
like she always does

there’s that necklace that
looks like candy
from that place back home
probably not there anymore
the place i also bought that
yellow vintage dress

and im in the mountains
and it’s one of those nights that ran through til morning
four and a half pills and
needing my eyes uncrossed for me

theres still goldfish
in the crevasses
from the only thing i ate
in my cross country binge
leaving you
leaving
always leaving somewhere

i found an ancient half joint
in the bottom of the centre console
almost put it to my lips
wanting to blow the car away
like smoke

thought better of it
laughed at myself
kept one of the feathers
put the other in the tree outside
offered semaa to
the memory

i threw the joint into the garbage bag
along with those
memories from california
the hotel receipt from that
one weird night
in sacremento
that couple addicted to the claw machine
sliding coin after coin inside trying to win a glassy eyed overstuffed animal trying to grab a hold of something and us thinking it was so messed up while i went to the bathroom to do another line and a man threw dollar bills on the floor for the waitress to pick up

it was once our car

then I slowly untwist the beaded eagle from ka titi
think of my great auntie who sold me this car
think of my dad who helped me pay for it
think of my mom who gave me these beads
think of the rez that this car actually never came from because auntie was a bill c-35 indian

think of the many faces bodies spirits breaths sobs scars fingers toes dogs and of course miss magoo

it carried us all
got us from there to here
safe

for that
my car
i thank you.

#goodbyeoldfriend