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Event Calendar
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exhibitions
December 15 - Jan 28

Text, Textile, Exile: Works by Maria Damon

special events
January 27 -28

24th Annual Poetry Marathon & Benefit

Archived readings & workshops
Nov 19 Sunday, November 19
10:00am, $10 | FREE for those who pledge a reader for $35 or more


Join us for a poetry reading featuring Santee Frazier & Franklin K.R. Cline! Organized in partnership with the Milwaukee Native American Literary Cooperative.

 

Santee Frazier will also give a talk entitled Native American Identity & the Politics of the Poetic Image at UWM Libraries Special Collections on Tuesday, November 21 at 12:30 PM. More info here

 


Santee Frazier is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and graduated with a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2006 under the guidance of Arthur Sze & Jon Davis. He went on to earn an MFA from Syracuse University and his first collection of poems, Dark Thirty, was published by The University Arizona Press in 2009. His poems have been published in Ontario Review, American Poet, Prairie Schooner, and other literary journals. He has received fellowships from the Syracuse University, The Lannan Foundation, The School for Advanced Research, and The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. He is core poetry faculty for the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA program located in Santa Fe, NM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Franklin K.R. Cline is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, a PhD candidate in English—Creative Writing at theUniversity of Milwaukee-Wisconsin, a member of Woodland Pattern Book Center's Board of Directors, and the book reviews and interviews editor of cream city review. His first book, So What, is available via Vegetarian Alcoholic Press. 

 

 

 


from MANGLED & THE ACCORDION

 

Mangled lights a match, his boots scuffed and frayed,

lips gripping the cob-stem, strings of King Edward

“Crimp Cut” glowing his face–a skillet shine, face of

oily iron. No kin to call his own, the crunching of the

box the sound of dirt-crusted ankles, of snoozing in a

ditch, Mangled lips shined with slobber.

 

                                                                 His fingers

sound out the screen-door squeaking in the breeze, the

crackle fire makes when the bark catches. The lung-sick

box pinches Mangled's belly as he gnaws the cob-stem

chuffing like a tailpipe. This is the end of his bit, calling

down the knife, the slow dimming of his memory,

crunching the box on the creek bank, locusts buzzing to

his tune.

 

 

                 Skillet breath.

                                                Tongue

                                                                      sour,

                 wet with mash.

 

                 Dirt shackled,

                                                 clanking his bones

                 up the road.

 

 

                           He forgot the sound of summons, the

calling out at dusk when the bugs buzzed and deer ate–

the thickening dark, leaves just sound in the dark, the

dark the way his breath felt as he shrunk the innards,

like the music of frying meat, of squirrel thighs dredged

corn meal, the way Blue Rock's house smelt like empty

quarts of beer, acorns and wild onions.

 

                                                               Music of lice

wilting in kerosene, of switch on skin–the wood still

green and bendy.

 

                          Mangled reckoned at the bugs

                                      streaming up the fencepost,

                                                 shine of their bodies that crunched

                                                 between his fingers and teeth.

                                      He sat and looked upon the tilled pasture

                          tilted his hat and slept and dreamt.

 

                          It was not the accordion–keys still

slick under his charred fingers–not the his eyes foaming

in the ducts. Its was Mangled’s tune, his humming of

the knife, the slow slimming of his lips to song. His last

fuss and bother in Terlingua. On the steps of the old

Chisos Theater, he squeezed the box, the strike half-lit,

smoke churning out nostrils.

 

Knife in his teeth and accordion rifle above the

channels, but Mangled boots slipped on the rocks and

the accordion went down stream. He let it dry in the

sun, and when he played it by the fire, the thickened

noise of critters made

 

Mangled wept for the knife.

 

—Santee Frazier 

 

 

 

SO WHAT

 

Palpable dread now all over the silvery

slink of each day. We have been listening

exclusively to songs that feature real drums

 

and handclaps in order to remind ourselves

of the rhythm of humanity.

It’s not really working, so we try

 

sex, which doesn’t work any better but is

more fun. I don’t know

if I can make it past my Caspers,

 

but I try at least a little every day. And, you know, this tarnished

land groans with every step anyway.

So I look up. There’s a bunch of buildings and shit in the way of the sky.

 

—Franklin K.R. Cline

 

 


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