Literary Orphans

Black Native (Red Black Revolution)
by Whitney Chavez

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We are the struggle.
We understand the struggle yet we forgot the history
Us stolen from our land, your land stolen from you
Our peaceful nature blinded by white skin and cowardly shiny objects
The white masts were just as frightening as its captains
The journey becoming monotonous in idea as lives are thrown overboard
You understand it
The white masts peered over the horizon into your home before bringing the old world to the new
This shipment stinking of fear, innocence and uncertainty
The chains on our neck kept us captive in your land,
our feet dragging and plowing the dust of your ancestors
You watched in captivity from your home the ground bleed red with sorrow and slave tears
The human spirit was broken yet there was light brighter than the skin of our captors
We broke the chains and escaped into the unknown land of the once unknown
Animal spirits and blessed ashes of death squished between our tired black toes,
as we follow the red trail of tears towards freedom
Naked eyes see tall black opal as the black bear spirit;
strong in physique never thought possible,
coiled tight mass rested on top, stronger than any dream catcher
As a gift to the spirits, you accepted us in amazement
Our new world is much like the stolen memory half a world away
We both run naked, letting mother Earth mask our scent
Voodoo spirits danced along with the coyote and deer at night next to the fire
The hot African sun sowed the fruits and vegetables of the Indian ground
Black faces and red faces made tan faces that mimicked the dirt of past lands
Straight lines curled long down the backs of the new
Tongues mended together, speaking clicks of harmony and calls to the wild
A new nation in a new nation armed with strong armed arms
Grasping the runaways with communal respect
Our light constantly driven by the hatred done unto us
Fear brought advice and intervention from the mistrusted outside.
“I fear revenge”
“Creation of a physical master race will destroy the white man”
“Black can’t equal the same”
“Black and red equals revolution. Colored Revolution = failure”
“Black is black throughout heart and soul”
“The man child needs to be tamed with a firm hand and order”
Given whips and chains enforcing caitiff confidence lost grip in the red hand of reason
The connotation of the white man’s slave shattered by black acceptance
We revolted
Not by violence but equality, compassion of interests and love
We had life
We had protection and family
Red and black became the red black
You helped us underground, we helped you on horseback
Us, one as a civilized community struck fear in the ignorant.
The nigger and savage proved to be human
We were a refuge
Tired masses seeked our existence for acceptance
Black, red, brown and yellow blinded our eyes as we saw the same
We linked arms in battle and won what we thought would be respect
The respect of our land
The respect of our family
We flexed for each other, knowing the struggle
Hand in hand, the motherland became a land of isolated joined brotherhood
Yet, the hands of fearful corruption grasped more tightly on the bloodline of the new world
The color of our world darkened theirs,
spreading black to the hearts of those with red rage eyes
The evil content masked with a smile befriended us to kill us
They mouthed false acclamation to our eyes while deafening our ears with propaganda
“Hunt the black and you will turn gold in peace on the lands of your forefathers”
“Slay the red and you will sow free black land that your forefathers righteously deserved”
We listened
Our tight alliance succumbed to flimsy dollars
and the right to become second class citizens
Black and red became black on red; red on black
We sold our brothers, killed your fathers and watched our mothers weep
Your mother remained free behind barbed wire
while her mahogany daughter was bound in the tight grip of the slave hands’ whip
The clear tears of our black and red heads washed away what once was
Our tears turned to hate from sorrow
as the devils play began to unravel
Betrayal paid in death, death paid in hatred, hatred invested into the children
We isolated and again in captivity, pulling the heart strings of identity
You isolated and again in captivity, pulling for tradition and the earth
Our souls red from the hard hit of the reality of survival with our captors
Our once daily offerings now turned as soul filled shouts unto the sky for freedom
Your eyes black from the reality of living the land with your conspirators
Your drum beating louder as the spiritual yips and chants go on for survival
The glare of silver crosses and tarnished paper exorcised our minds and beliefs
They stole you from your sleep as a mission from God
They cut your hair, stripped tradition from your body and beat conformity into your already beaten soul
The language of nature became lost with the wind
Your offerings and prayers to the sky went unanswered
They cut our bodies, stripped us naked as we hung from trees like fruit
Our skin red and moist from the hatred of our outer layer
They burned us, celebrating and dancing around us
Our flesh their offering to the sky
Yet they couldn’t break us
We are still here fighting to survive
Our separate worlds are the same yet blinded by hatred
Our babies are monkeys and yours dirty mutts
You are alcoholics and we are drug dealers
You have no job, we have no job
You forced into captivity in barren land
Us forced into captivity in high-rise crowded buildings
The minds of the youth trapped in the situation of hopelessness
Our mouths silenced as our minds grow stronger and frustrated
We are the same
My blood is in you, your blood is in me
Our almond eyes see the same destruction
We need a red black revolution

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 (Ed- to read this poem with properly justified line breaks, please click this link for a pure-text version, make sure the window is at the highest resolution!)

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Whitney Chavez is very excited for this opportunity as this is her 1st publication of her work. Her interest of poetry started from a creative writing class in high school and has become her medium on issues that are important to her. As a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation and of African American descent, her works reflect issues within both communities and social outlooks based on her life experiences. Whitney currently lives in Tucson, AZ (60 mi west of the Tohono O’odham Nation) with her husband and 2 children.

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–Foreground art by Winoka Begay
–Background art by Brent Bluehouse