Reservation Guide

Dig, Dig, Dig into these brown, Native eyes
And peel away your perception of me
your lies…
Let my reservation grab a hold of you, surround you
Let yourself have a new birth, a new mind
with this Indian boy’s words.
Let the heat from a single mother’s tears be your comfort,
as you’re led into the cold heart of the reservation
where at times your happiness you must desert.
I come from dirt roads, broken homes, lost souls, and pain
that grows.
I come from close family bonds, traditions that astound
to make me proud to belong.
From Rez dogs, to Rez rides,
my car, the war pony’s name is Little Big Horn—
the shelter
with the dented cheek—Door—and mismatched feet.
‘cause I don’t roll on dubz… yeah, my hub caps.
I come from two naked Indians trying to capture a
moment. Entering ecstasy, lifted into heaven in order
to forget struggle, fear, and their individual lives’ crime.
fully aware, knowing we’re nothing more than vapor
in time.
I also come from a fatherless home and a struggling mother—
who still has her struggles, struggles, tumbles
yet she will rise, rise, and defy—any
bill collector.
I come from a land of aspiring alcoholics and dealers
with their narcotics. Walk down the road, and you’ll
find trash and broken glass, broke down cars
and broken hearts.
You may not know me, but in order to know,
let me tell you where I’m from.
I come from long days of thin air:
To ourselves, we commit personal travesties and
crimes as each day we take it one breath
at a time. My breath is barely caught, because
My traditions and modern society fought—
Within me.
Jumping back and forth, back and forth,
from the sweat lodge to church
Peyote meeting to church
from “which o naa”
to the “When the Spirit of the Land”
Why must my mind and blood choose between the
Bible and traditional ways? Or do people on
the reservation take the Bible for granted and
take too seriously what the religion says?
Either way, this is the essence of my reservation’s
I come from my ancestors’ tears, hopes, survival,
spilt blood and unknowing fears.
I add new pages to a history of a people who
were part of genocide, and yet they live on
through me.
Do you want to see living history? Take a look
at me. ‘Cause I add on to a history book
of a tribe, a people, and a nation,
My former leaders counted coup on the enemy, while
I become my own leader and count coup on my
own pain, struggle, and fear.
I come from the land of invincible, where my mom,
Grandmother, grandfather, sister, and family
stand stable.
Rolling golden grass of the plains, snow-capped
mountains, with freshwater rivers for my
memories to swim in as I gather “Shuu-Shwa.”
the ever present slow death of my people
as bad water holds us tighter than your
first love at separation. My hope slips away
into darkness
Yet I still have light, ‘cause I unconditionally
love my home.
Yes, the reservation is where
I’m from.

Darcy Medicine Horse (Crow) grew up on the Crow Indian Reservation, and at age 16 left for Oklahoma to attend an Indian boarding school. During his first year of college in North Carolina, he gained confidence in his writing and relocated back to Oklahoma. During the Symposium on the American Indian at Northeastern State University, he was invited to present a spoken word poem before introducing Joy Harjo. He also led the Native American Poets session at Northeastern. Once comfortable with his spoken word poetry, he became part of the Tulsa circle of spoken word poets.

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