Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday's poem: Emma LaRoque The Uniform of the Dispossessed

The Uniform of the Dispossessed
Emma LaRocque

Sometimes I forget
so I buy soft things
Surround my hard-won world
with cafes
expresso cafe
and Brubeck.

Sometimes I forget
so I buy books and brandy
surround my hard-won world
with ceramic thoughts
with silk shirts
modular sofas of burgundy
that match
          that hide
          the sorrow of the past
          the sorrow of woman
          the sorrow of the native
          the sorrow of the earth
          the world that is with me
          in me
          of me.

Sometimes I forget
the combatant who has deserted

But I get recalled
the uniform of the dispossessed
and like a court- martialled soldier
I cannot evade.

Sometimes I want to run
But I can't-
   I can't
      I can't.

Emma LaRocque is a Plains Cree Indian born  in Big Boy, northeastern Alberta.  LaRocque worked as a teacher on the Janvier Reservation and a reporter and editor for the Alberta Native Communications Society.

She is Professor of Native studies at the University of Manitoba and is an academic, literary critic and poet.

She writes about Native Canadian issues, social criticism, human rights issues, women's rights, and family violence.  LaRoque is critical of the way academic expertise devalues information from experts within Native Canadian culture. She also resists what she calls the "ghettoization" of Native literature, whereby it is defined as "Native" when indeed it may address universal issues.

A clip of her at a poetry reading is here.

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