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Fall 1995, Volume 12.3

Poetry

 

Mazii Dineltsoi


Mazii Dineltsoi, a.k.a. Rex Lee Jim, is a Navajo educator, poet, and playwright. His latest work
saad, is a collection of short poems about the Navajo. His works are entirely in the Navajo language. He has lectured on Navajo related topics such as philosophy, history, culture , and literature. He consults for educational organizations, and works with Navajo youth.

 


Language

In the beginning I was
Yesterday I was
Today I am
Tomorrow I will be
Forever, I will be
      language I am
      sacred language I am
      sacred language this I am

people think with me
people act with me
people pray with me
people sing with me
people speak with me
      language I am
      sacred language I am
      sacred language this I am

I come in many different forms
because of me people think differently
because of me people act differently
because of me people pray differently
because of me people sing differently
because of me people speak differently
      language I am
      sacred language I am
      sacred language this I am

Because of me there are many different cultures
I value different ways of doing
I value varied different goods
I value varied hard goods

These are reasons why I gave myself to the earth surface people
a holy people
a respected people
a compassionate people
From within them I sound
in this way life continues to expand
These are reasons why I gave myself to the earth surface people language I am
sacred language I am
sacred language this I am

Forever I will be
Tomorrow I will be
Today I am
Yesterday I was
In the beginning I was
            language I am
            sacred language I am
            sacred language this I am



Spring

The place used to be sacred
I still remember
I was only a kid when I followed my grandfather there
but I don't remember everything
still the man got well
now he is healthy, walking about
he has become an old man
I still remember
We went there with this man
hard jewels were selected for offering
they went there, carrying the jewels
my grandfather and that man went there
to that spring out in the middle of nowhere
I sat in the truck parked some distance away
I was told to stay in the truck, so I stayed behind
And I looked to the west
Clouds floated about; showers drifted about
to the west thunders rolled and lightning flashed
the whole land sparkled in water
the whole land was beautiful
yes, it was beautiful

I think this may be the place
I still remember
Now a windmill is standing here
the wind spins the metal
where the grass grew, sand dunes roll
where young birds used to travel only crows hop about
where sacred jewels were offered
naked women spreading their legs are depicted on metal
where sacred songs were heard
only drunks yell
where prayers were offered
people scream "fuck you"
      where people prayed,
      "earth, my mother,"
      "water woman, my mother,"
      where people related to the place,
      "You want a good fuck?
      go see Sue or mama,"
      are scribbled onto metal barrels.
      where the earth sparkled in water
      wine bottles reflect in the sun
      beer cans shine up the place

      The place used to be sacred
      I remember
      I am parked some distance away
      sitting in my truck, taking a slug now and then

      the place used to be sacred
      but I don't remember everything.

 

 

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