From, Body Under the Porch

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Tulie swung the stub end of the hatchet into the guy’s ear. He woke in moonlight and mosquitoes, but couldn’t move his hands to swat his neck. He looked past the black tops of trees, and stars. Though wrapped in the afghan, he began to shake and feel thirsty. His right ear ached in tinny quiet. His stomach felt a great hole, where he got shot, before coming upon the old lady. 

The birds woke him again, foggy-minded. Against his feet he made out the flat base of the dolly. Beneath him, the metal ribs of the dolly, lowered horizontal with the ground, felt cold. The yellow canvas straps that had held the fridge kept him taut to the cart. ‘That cunt,’ he thought. A chant rose with the crescendo of chickadees, lifting with mist, from guttural syllables, Though I may speak in tongues, I am only a clanging gong. Perhaps his last rites. He floated above his funeral. Without love, I am nothing. He hadda be dead.  ‘That nut-bag wheeled me into the woods,’ he breathed slow so she wouldn’t see, in case he was really breathing. The hole under his hand began to swallow his hand. His arm. His shoulder and neck dropped away to his center, sucked by gravity into a puny, hard mass.

From, Thunderbird to New York

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They kept driving. And driving. They got on the freeway and kept on going. They didn’t stop until they got to Portland, Oregon. They turned around and told me, “Guess what? You just fucking got ho-napped.” “Ho-napped?” “Yes, Bitch. I’m your new fucking pimp.”

At twenty-one, I barely started to get beer for myself. For about two weeks I worked for them. Made some money. Made money. Made money. Gave it to them. Then he sold the Thunderbird that he picked me up in. Off on a goddamn plane we went. Juuuute, straight to New York. With them.

They’re from New York. They know all the dope houses. I’d never seen China White heroin. I snorted that up thinking it was cocaine or something, feeling really fucking goddang good. I didn’t know what it was. But I didn’t really make any money that night after he spent money on that type of drug and the plane there. Came morning time, he was all goddang trying to be all pissed off. We walked up to the room that we had rented. He picked me up and bapped me on the back of my head. Trying to say, ‘What’s the matter with you, Bitch? What’s the matter with you?”

From, Hummingbird Neck

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They found Freddy at the slots. “One more spin,” Five Bucks had on his rain pants, boots and headlamp after selling out clams. 

“You need to go shower,” a white-haired Canadian grabbed her husband and her nose.

He laughed, and kept up the flashing buttons.

The next day Jay pulled the boat alongside the fish house. Tulie heaved the door on its runners, exposing the great scale hung from the beams for salmon handed up from small skiff boats. She climbed down onto the skiff’s fish box lid.

“Hahaha.” Five Bucks twisted off the cap of a single shot of Yukon Jack. “Girl, this ain’t like purse seining. You sure you ain’t too good to dig with us?”

“It’s in my blood,” said Tulie.

“When you gonna go out with me?” Five Bucks hollered above the motor picking up speed.

“Shut up, Five Bucks,” said Tulie.

“Haaha,” he nudged her foot with his.

“Tu’s saving herself for a real man.” Jay bumped knees with her. “No, she likes being alone, enit?”

From, The Universe Beginning

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Battling the seat belt hasp, with an armload of big brown envelopes, each envelope carrying different research, Hank’s knuckles had turned white. “Here,” he handed Levi the stack.

The belt clicked. Hank grabbed back his oceanic epiphanies. All them years of painstaking, tested sea knowledge, Levi held their facts in his hands for few seconds. It changed him.

That night, he sipped 7-Eleven coffee, soaking up the scientific jargon. Each paged turned, another wave seemed to hit the pilings of the dock, where he’d pulled up, wearing his fishing headlamp. A run down dock. Pilings condemned. Levi knew the gate combination from his days running the forklift there. He read until daybreak, steeped in nostalgia for the days when fishing was good.

Outside of space and time goes Levi’s spirit, when his body is lead by invisible guides. Waking on the beach by Rhonda, he sees himself from above. How he did by the abandoned dock, reading all about the central pulse of algae upon the world.

He stands from the car into the salt mist. “How’d we get here?” says Rhonda. “Why you looking at me like that?”

“We’re alive. That’s what matters. I’ll drive you home.”

Fog channels of the 49th parallel, the Fraser, Georgia Straight, and the Straight of Juan de Fuca, the Salish Sea’s networking of boat systems up the Inside Passage to the Bering’s Aleutians grips his mind, his body, his mind-body dichotomies within him.

Body knows, whether or not mind is watching, sweat picking up electrons, irregardless of time and space. Matter as endless. each circuit unit of this: bells, bells, the incredible waking bells. The experiment is without thought or feeling or objective. The experiment is pure consciousness. Pure singularity. Like the heart of a black hole or the universe at the beginning, without previous cause or need for god.

“You don’t look yourself,” says Rhonda.

“I’ve never been more me,” says Levi.

 

From, Off His Harley Back to Prison

Hank goes behind Joe Joe with bricks into the living room. They dump enough on the floor for a base and mantel for the wood stove. “Get that bag of lime off the truck. Here, mix it like this. Do it by eye. Not everyone can mix the right measurements in a wheelbarrow, and keep up with me. That’s why I hire you.”
He does the mortar like his brother says. “Bricks are free,” Joe Joe says. “I got them from a bank tore down by a guy I knew overseas.”
Joe Joe grabs a trowel. Cracks the butt of the handle on the end of a brick to fracture it just so it fits the end of the base front.
Enduring hatreds creep through the fish tank at Hank’s where Rudy goes for a beer, when he is done. Hank ain’t too worried about it, it seems. But she can see he’s spent too many days working on a project under his brother’s thumb. She agrees with him, in case he is ready to flip out. Or start singing in Indian. By now Joe Joe is practically Hank’s second self, his doppelganger, an apparition of his own thoughts.
It’s one thing, working for Joe Joe, people say. But watching football, you know, a few beers and he’s a dick. You can take a lot of yelling, getting shit done. I respect your brother. He knows his shit. He taught me a lot about brick laying. He’s gotta big heart. But he gets drunk, and just wants to punch you.

 

From, Until I Saw the Dead People Eating Indian Tacos

"Growing up, everybody stopped there, gassing up their boat tanks at the one pump, getting their mail."

“Growing up, everybody stopped there, gassing up their boat tanks at the one pump, getting their mail.”

Hank decides not to go into the Wex’liem. He drives around the horn, past pullers, carrying their paddles up the beach from the canoe journey, and goes home, thinking of her.
Up in the unending bloom, where pears promise to be soon, the rift of leaves against blue day, the shining expanse lifts his eyes to the tree line. He places the opener at the can rim, cranks the lever. He spoons pears, standing at the window that takes up the whole, little living room wall. He eats each one, one at at time, before standing at the door and draining the last of the syrup onto his tongue, and tossing the can into a box on the porch.
Evelyn stayed with him twelve years. People say she lived out of resentment or some mood not defined by Natives, unable to fit in the group, a loner among such a big family. Some say, she turned out to be a girl unable to feel social attachments, slight autism, perhaps. Although, she sometimes put her arms around aunties and uncles, or old friends, when she talked to them. Though her arm felt rather stiff, some now agree. Hank had calmed all of this, or some of her ticks. And she loved him. She did, but physically, did not feel attracted to him. Still they made love and it worked. They were right for each other in so many ways, a team, Hank didn’t care about all that other stuff. He was happy. Before he drove truck, he stayed home with her, and taught math at the tribal middle school. Nothing could ruin that.

From, Kitsap’s Knife

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He loved that about moving to Seattle at eighteen. He’d never lived off the reservation. He would jog past the ship canal mornings – just him, and maybe a team of rowers – before people flocked to the Ballard locks, pressing their faces to the underwater glass of the fish ladder, or charter tours lined-up from Lake Union to be lowered to Elliott Bay. He found small escapes, staircases that cut between rows of houses down to the water. Past kayakers in pairs. He noticed speeds along the thoroughfare, 5 mph signs, where sometimes at dusk, running alongshore abreast cabin cruisers and catamaran headlong home for Lake Washington before dark, they waved him onward to canal’s end under Husky Stadium. Here, he crossed the double leaf drawbridge, and turned down onto the floating foot bridges of the arboretum. Past trout poles, and a log of baby turtles. Bugs balanced ripples of the water’s surface, vying with canoe renters, with speeds of their own waves returning from shore, waves no longer needing to think themselves through.

Water Doesn’t Stop at the Border and Flip Out a Passport

Co-founder of Idle No More in Canada, Nina “Was’te” Wilson of Winnepeg, talks at WWU for Native American Heritage Month.

She tells how the group formed on Facebook from four members to great rallies against corporations worsening the divide between poverty and money. Companies in remote Aboriginal areas have caused cancer, destroyed water, and hired SWAT squads who opened fire upon peaceful demonstrators that included children.

Not Just A Native Act

Jewell James

Nina Was’te Wilson

Flute prayer by Peter Ali

Podcasts of Jewell James, Nina Was’te Wilson, and Peter Ali with a flute prayer at WWU Native American Heritage Month Celebration Conference, held Nov 1-2, 2013.

Their speeches incite students to vote by Tuesday, w/ a sense of activism & awareness about their own sovereign rights, indigenous fights for Constitutional rights, the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights, & mulit-lateral corporations v. the environment, such as current coal and oil issues.

Speakers:

Nina Was’te Wilson, Idle No More Co-Founder
Jewell James, Lummi House of Tears Head Carver and Lead Sovereignty Office
Juanita Jefferson, Lummi Elder
Roderick Harris, Nooksack Elder
Matt Krough, ReStore Resources, NW Power Past Coal, Bellingham Bay Waterkeepers

“The idea is to bring to light current Native/Indigenous and Environmental issues to both local Native and Non-Native communities; to celebrate Native Culture and share with our community”. —–— Event Facebook Invite, https://www.facebook.com/events/476002679164841/