After Jamaica Kincaid

Take the purple pill on Wednesday and then spit it out; don’t do the obvious and hide it underneath your tongue or your daughter will tell; stick to herbs; if she does, she’ll make you swallow that damn thing; speak loud and don’t sulk at the chapter board meetings; no one likes a downer, not even at your age; there’s plenty prospects; I never had to try so bless your heart and cross your fingers; don’t ever shake Henry’s hand; we go way back and I don’t like the guy but his cousin Jimmy is cool; don’t be shy, it’s ridiculous; on Mondays when those precious little hands bang on your door, yelling excitedly, giving you life again, indulge them with pop and candy and then run around with them outside; Mondays, you get to be a child again; oh, and tell them not to tell their parents or they’ll start suffocating you with health questions; I won’t tell them; never hit a woman, even if she’s done something completely unspoken of, like infidelity; a man is solely defined by his actions, but don’t stay with them either because then you’re just kidding yourself; remember everything runs clockwise, like a meeting; I don’t know how many times I’ve had to remind you of that; make sure you know how to build a fire, both resourcefully and conveniently, it’ll come in handy; when you find that person who makes you crazy and they will turn you crazy, look into their eyes and know; feel the sweet whiff of their hair tantalize your sense of smell, dangerously seductive your knees fall weak to them; this is it, baa 1h0ly3 d00 baa ax4n7n7zin, take care of them and tell them frequently for they are; I expect you to fall many times; but promise me that eventually, you will let go of that darkness that has taken so much; you need to let it go so that you can be able to move on; Know your clans but also your grandparents’; it’s always better to walk away than to engage in violence, be prepared anyway; there are bitter souls out there who will belittle you, although, you can learn a lot from someone you hate; with the exception of Henry, of course; it’s easy for a man to become green with envy, it’s harder for a man to feel compassion, learn to be kind; listen to your mom and dad, if you have to make assertions, handle them prudently, being reckless is not healthy, they mean well; most importantly, believe in yourself, dream plenty and nizh0n7go 1daa 1h0ly3, take care of yourself; Shicheii, grandfather…what if I get a little scared?; you mean to tell me after everything I’ve just informed you of, you’re going to be the kind of man who strays?; Sits07, grandson, it is time to open that young man becoming; and be sure to tell them you are a distinguished man, not an old one.

CLAUDELL MARTIN TACHEENEClaudell Martin Tacheene (Diné) is Kinyaa’1anii (Towering House People) and was born for Ta’neesz2hnii (Tangle People Clan). His maternal grandfather’s clan is Totsohnii (Big Water People). His paternal grandfather’s clan is N1t’oh Dine’e T1chii’nii (Tobacco Clan of Red-Running -Into-the-Water People). He is originally from Pillow Hill, AZ, in the vicinity of Low Mountain.

When he wrote this poem, he was a sophomore at Diné College, majoring in Liberal Arts, and he would like to continue his education to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He thanks Orlando White, who taught him a lot about literature and creative writing and also brought visiting writers to Diné College, all of whom have deeply inspired him.

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