“How I Would Keep the Maybe One Eighth Choctaw Part of Me Alive” by George Drew

How I Would Keep the Maybe One Eighth Choctaw Part of Me Alive

You better hope you never see angels on the rez.

                                                  —Natalie Diaz

Because you damn well know I’m no angel,
you might think, to accomplish this minor mathematical feat,
I would take up bow and spear and read the sign,
that I would crouch in copse and shadow,
learn the way of the warrior, learn the way
of crow and wily coyote; or that I’d bow
before the spirits of ancestors, learn the language,
teach it to the youngsters, keep it on their tongues;
or most of all, that I would chant and dance
under the stars, around and around the campfire
dance until the moon collapsed and from
behind the mountains the sun rose up saying Stop!
And you’re right, maybe I would do any or all of these,
but I’d much rather take up herbs and rattles,
and as a medicine man take my own advice
that the best medicine is strong medicine and kick the hell out
of the seven-eighths white ass part of me.

George Drew was born in Mississippi and raised there and in New York State, where he currently lives. He is the author of four collections of poetry: Toads in a Poisoned Tank, from Tamarack Editions,  The Horse’s Name Was Physics, from Turning Point Press; a third, American Cool, was released by Tamarack in 2009; and a fourth, The Hand that Rounded Peter’s Dome,by Turning Point in 2010. Drew was the winner of the 2003 Paumanok Poetry Prize, the 2007 Baltimore Review Poetry Prize, the 2008 South Carolina Review Poetry Prize, and was runner-up for the 2009 Chautauqua Literary Journal Poetry Contest, which also nominated him for a Pushcart Prize. American Cool won the 2009 Adirondack Literary Award for best poetry book of the year. A fifth collection, The View from Jackass Hill, is the 2010 winner of the X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, Texas Review Press, 2011.


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