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Red-ish Brown-ish

By Trevino L. Brings Plenty


Red-ish Brown-ish

Arms, face, scrotum – dark brown.
             The kind of brown to drive
                         monsters to exterminate
                                       bison to starve
                                                      a people.

Design policy with intentional marketing titles.
            Assimilation; Relocation; Termination.
Enough to talk about a vanishing race
            in front of you as theory and practice.
Enough to throw stats out
            as a summation of cultural identity.

Erasure thread of empire
              its subjects uneasy,
                                        to express you wooden.

                                                 And to say it's just conver-
                                     sation. Or playing devil's ad-
                        vocate. Maybe they know
          closed fists in pockets
they change subject.

I use shading – the back of hands
              to gauge who is in the tutelage
                           of systemic beauty.
Adorned beautiful, we darken each other.

Ripe for violence, I carry lived stories
            interface beauteous facade.
Have seen anxiety coil unravel belly at day's end.
Curiosity curated social media feed
             reinforced by sentient algorithm.
It's barbed threading through digits.
             I work through the other's language,
                          I feel hypocritical. I dream English language.

Added: Friday, July 24, 2020  /  Used with permission. Trevino L. Brings Plenty performs "Red-ish Brown-ish" on June 11, 2020 as part of Split This Rock's 2020 Virtual Poetry Reading Series.
Trevino L. Brings Plenty
Photo by by Richard Darbonne.

Trevino L. Brings Plenty's work has appeared in Yellow Medicine Review, Red Ink Magazine, World Literature Today, Plume, Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Waxwing, Poetry, and New Poets of Native Nations. He received his MFA in Poetry from Institute of American Indian Arts. He has two poetry collections: Wakpá Wanáǧi, Ghost River, and Real Indian Junk Jewelry.

Trevino L. Brings Plenty was a Featured Poet for Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness (March 26-28, 2020) in Washington, DC which was cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Split This Rock began a virtual poetry reading series in May 2020 which included a reading by Justice Ameer, Kyle Dargan, Trevino L. Brings Plenty, and Cameron Awkward-Rich on June 11, 2020.

Other poems by this author