Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Red Planetary Serpent/ Red Magnetic Earth - Cosmic Turtle Moon of Presence, Day 16
Sherwin Bitsui, by Geoff Gossett.
Sherwin Bitsui (born 1974 Fort Defiance, Arizona) is originally from Baaʼoogeedí (White Cone, Arizona), on the Navajo Nation. His book, Floodsong, won the American Book Award and the PEN Open Book Award.
He is Navajo of the Todichʼíiʼnii (Bitter Water Clan), born for the Tłʼízíłání (Many Goats Clan).
He holds an AFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts Creative Writing Program. He is the recipient of the 2000-01 Individual Poet Grant from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, the 1999 Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, a Soul Mountain Residency, a Lannan Foundation Literary Residency Fellowship and a 2006 Whiting Award. In 2012, he was honored with an NACF Artist Fellowship in Literature. He has served in visiting faculty positions, including distinguished visiting, Eminent Writer for the University of Wyoming, Visiting Hugo Writer University of Montana, and San Diego State University, where he has been on creative writing faculty since 2013. Also, since 2013, he has served on the faculty of the Institute of American Indian Arts in the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing program.
Sherwin has published poems in American Poet, The Iowa Review, Frank (Paris), Lit Magazine, and elsewhere. His poems were also anthologized in Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century and Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas.
Many of Bitsui's poems explore how different values, concepts and ideas become when experienced in Navaho as opposed to English.
Currently, he lives in Tucson, Arizona.
When we river,
blood fills cracks in bullet shells,
oars become fingers scratching windows into dawn,
and faces are stirred from mounds of mica.
I notice the back isn't as smooth anymore,
the river crests at the moment of blinking;
its blood vessels stiffen and spear the drenched coat of flies
collecting outside the jaw.
Night slows here,
the first breath held back,
clenched like a tight fist in the arroyo under shattered glass.
But we still want to shake the oxygen loose from flypaper,
hack its veins,
divert its course,
and reveal its broken back,
the illusion of a broken back.
Kin 205: Red Planetary Serpent
I perfect in order to survive
I seal the store of life force
With the planetary tone of manifestation
I am guided by the power of space
I am a polar kin
I extend the red galactic spectrum.
Do not flinch from looking into the face of suffering and hunger. Give what you can without hesitation.*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2015-2016.
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Muladhara Chakra (Seli Plasma)