Poetry : Randy Woodley, The Haunting (A Tribute to Richard Twiss)

Poetry : Randy Woodley, The Haunting (A Tribute to Richard Twiss) February 12, 2013

Over the next several months I will be posting some of my poetry every Wednesday. Why? I feel like too many words are going out all around us with too little credence given them. It is difficult to hear through too many words, which often excuses us from doing. Sometimes a song or a poem can change the way we hear things or even change a life. For now, I’ll keep my songs hidden and just share poetry. My poetry covers a wide variety of topics, all I feel are relevant to Emergence and the churches in America. My first poem, The Haunting,  is dedicated to my brother Richard Twiss who was just beginning to find his post/pre-colonial voice. Richard had many more things to say before leaving us. That pause, will never be completed…In his memory I also begin this tribute with his favorite poet, Hafiz. For Richard:

and I have become
like two giant fat people living
in a tiny

keep bumping into
each other
and laughing

        (Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz)

The Haunting

© 2003 Randy Woodley

wasn’t it 1492 when Columbus sailed the azure ocean?

salty water lapping shores separating neighbors

come into our house—there is no honor in dispelling a neighbor

but unruly neighbors are a curse and bad religion is a plague

came the call from every corner with mangled crosses and dubious preachers

came, you came to our land…our lives…our homes

“virgin land,” mother earth milk & honey flowing from her breast—you saw fences

“virgin trees,” Sequoia mammoths decorating a vast green park—you saw timber

“virgin nations,” going…gone—left from a greater civilization—but you did not see me

land…trees…”ours” you say—and the nations just a blight on your conscience

cut the land, cut the trees, cut the nations…

this is the clarion Christian call

rape the land, rape the trees, rape the nations…

ignore my blood and tears when you pray

i am a red Indian, a raped virgin—you make me a “noble whore”

thrown into a dark corner with the trees, and the land, and the “lost” civilizations

my spiritual reservations are the places you relegate to me

compartments fit for non-human species—churches made from acreage and board feet

good Indian—come to church, makum’ god happy

good Indian get job, makum’ government happy

good Indian keep quiet…subdued…silent

quietly turn your vile abuse, your bitter loss onto yourself and other bad  Indians

then…you makum’ everyone of us Americans very happy

cause we got your land

and we got your trees

and never forget…never, ever forget—that we got god—so we got your souls!

where do the souls of dead Indians go?

where does one go after rape and torture, robbery and slavery, disease and genocide?

perhaps we join the land and the trees

lingering with the spirit of Jesus on earth to curse savage Christian civilizations

we die early and we die often…but we die slow

and, we die knowing a secret that you don’t even care to know

that your land will not rest

and your trees will make only crooked crosses

and your children will breathe their last breathes in despair

…groping for an identity that you could not steal for them

…grasping for an honor that always alluded them

…clinching for a God…and land…and trees…and nations that were never theirs

and herein is the lesson… gifts can’t be stolen

and love takes flight where control makes its nest

and Jesus? O, Jesus…

You crucify Him anew with every sacrifice that we make to accommodate you

wasn’t it 1491 when there was no haunting?

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