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Red Language


There is a foreign language
That trips on the tongues of the elders
Skirts around the hearts of the young
Sets itself to music and writes itself sonnets and epic poems

It is the language of the end
The end of ourselves
As indigenous

It is a white language
Translucent in some places
Transparent in others
You can always see the shimmering shadowy intentions
Behind the words

It is not opaque
It cannot hide itself totally

There are obscure references created by faraway thinkers
There are blatant claims of understanding from all the intelligent thinkers

We name the words as asked of us
By those who have spoken before us.
Standing Bear
Charles Eastman
Zitkala Sa
Ella Deloria

Many others who tell us the power of words
Our speakers
Our poets
Our storytellers

We find our language
Flowing over the tips of tongues
Filling the hearts of ourselves
Giving us our own songs, poems set to the music of the grandmother’s drumbeat

It is a red language

©Cheryl Crazy Bull
December 2012

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