As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Tria Andrews – Poetry

 

a crow gathering

for choreographer jack gray

 

when you dance your spirit

i feel

the earth shake,

reverberate raw beating art

 

a crow gathering

drumming stick

people

a suitcase birthing

 

golden woman

golden as the sun

you taught us to set

to song

 

a crow gathering

you called out:

 

remember the rhythm

before the rules

the bones below

 

stillness fills the space

even silence speaks

but learn the language

already inside you

 

a crow gathering

your bird-eye darting

seeking perfection

of imperfection

 

faith in fragments

make, remake, break

free of the nest

live!

 

this thing we call process

 

a crow gathering

always in motion

taking flight

as promised

but still,

 

where is the song

to call the sun

to rise?

 

all the yarn yearning

for you

forgetting

 

that once without you

we felt whole

For Patricia Spottedcrow and So Many Others

Patricia Spottedcrow, enrolled with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nation and of African American ancestry, is the mother of four young children. In 2009, Spottedcrow lost her job as a certified medical assistant in a nursing home and shortly thereafter was arrested for her first criminal offense: selling $31 of marijuana to an undercover informant. An Oklahoma woman judge sentenced Spottedcrow to twelve years in prison. Spottedcrow was incarcerated in Taft, Oklahoma in the Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center, which is the site for the former Indian Mission School: Haloche Industrial Institute. While Spottedcrow’s children were permitted to visit her while she was incarcerated, trips to the facility were onerous for the low-income family. In part because of public outcry for the unjust length of her sentence, after two years Spottedcrow was released from prison.

 

This is a crow’s cartography,

a murmur for the murder.

A new genocide coded with cages,

but the bond was set 500 years before.

You want to teach us a lesson: do not

involve children in crime.

Yet who taught children cruelty?

Grew small bodies in Haloche,

imprisoned warriors, tortured tongues,

evidence inescapable: are we not speaking to you

in English?

We held to our breasts infants, nursed elders.

Brown bodies still care

for white ones.

Our milk has always been thicker than blood,

but yours is a race

that we cannot win, the shortest distance

between life and land measured

as the crow cries.

 

Andrews_As Us Photo (1)Tria Andrews is a PhD Candidate in the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley and a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at San Diego State University. In addition to writing her dissertation, Tria is currently completing a collection of poetry, titled, “Dead Center of the Heart.” This collection highlights the experiences of Native Americans and Filipinos as a result of U.S. colonial policies and their legacies. Tria has taught courses for Poetry for the People, Prison University Project, Sinte Gleska University, UC Berkeley, and the University of San Francisco. She is grateful to have received support and recognition from numerous sources for her critical, creative, and embodied work. In 2012, Tria was selected as a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow and Fulbright Scholar. In March 2014, Tria began studying dance under Jack Gray, a New Zealand Maori choreographer, dancer, and founder of Atamira, Maori Contemporary Dance Company. Tria has danced collaborative and solo pieces choreographed by Jack in performances at UC Berkeley and UC Riverside. These performances include Tria’s original spoken word and movement inspired by her decades of training in martial arts and yoga. In Summer 2014, Rulan Tangen, choreographer, dancer, and founder of Dancing Earth: Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations, selected Tria as a Global Cultural Ambassador Artist for the company.

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