Kwanesum


Kwanesum yaka pahtlum — he is always drunk.

Last night I dreamt of coals darkening,
                a prophecy of riches.
I sang spanish loyalist songs
                in a high squeaky voice.

Mamook pokaklie – the prophecy darkened.

I had a vision of priests handing
criminal sentence to the heathens
         my grandmothers
who hid crooked coins for luck
to give their unforgiven children.

Kwanesum yaka pahtlum – he is always drunk.

When the priest destroyed heathenism
               he came home and found
     a lion in his living room.

I sang spanish songs in a high squeaky voice.

An incident of great importance took place.

The nurses sang with me
               I love you    at your bedside
where you are no lunger drunk

and I sang the prophecy of coins between breaths.

The buddhists are right.
The priest has extinguished your heathen breath
       with the lion in the living room
                        of criminals.


(found poem, long ago. chinook and english.)

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2 Responses to “Kwanesum”


  1. 1 Loren April 25, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    Fascinating blending of cultures going on here, Teresa.

  2. 2 Teresa April 26, 2007 at 7:25 am

    Hi Loren. If I remember right, this was pieced together using lines from multiple randomly chosen books – a common writing group exercise. I know the line about spanish loyalist songs is from Guinsberg. The rest I have no idea, been too long. I live in a tri-cultural state with spanish, indian and anglo cultures both blended and distinct, so when I found this it spoke to me, possibly in a way it didn’t when I first wrote it back in Seattle.


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