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Compulsive Sharing and Four Arctic Brothers

In the Summer of 2016, I got to travel to Tromsø, Norway and learn about Sámi language and culture and global indigeneity from Professors Christopher Teuton (Cherokee Nation) and Troy Storfjell (Sámi). I wrote two poems during my time in the Arctic Circle. “Compulsive Sharing” was inspired by Dian Million’s writings on indigenous knowledge, as well as my dislike for photographing things while I travel. “Four Arctic Brothers” was inspired by the indigenous music festival Riddu Riððu and some Sámi poetry.

Compulsive Sharing

I don’t like to photograph every step I take and every face I meet, every hill and lake touched by the sun. I like my mind to spin and my eyes touch the colors and shades of reality.

The forests own my heart. My husband is the moon. I like to be outside when the clouds break and drag their teeth across the sky. I lift my chin, open my mouth, and lick.

The conquests have taken from people with the dreaming rights to their land, and since I am not indigenous, I am an orphan’s child, a pastiche with lipstick, a witch with brittle, thirsty skin and no clan to hear my song, but for the ashes of my grandparents perched in the passenger seat of a company truck, I dream in a vacuum.


Four Arctic Brothers

Four arctic brothers
One has no legs
He sits in a garbage bag
Iron eyes point across the lake
Silently counting his stubs
Hurting memories of branches, horns, and hoof

Four arctic brothers
Dotting the shoreline
Little cans all in a row
Potato peel skin furrowed, black and sprouting
He has nine eyes and watches everyone
with a frost smoke blanket

Four arctic brothers
Three lips release
Apples spill out
Like newspapers at Simone best’s feet
They gather and stir
apples crinkle and crumble
They shrivel and decay

Four arctic brothers
One speaks colors
Summons safety plastic
Storm swirls and cuts
Still they wait and he fingers his gun
Thinks of his husband
And touches each of their shoulders before the end

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