Just at freezing, but the feels like temp was in the 20s. I was not cold, but too warm after a few minutes. Next time, I should lose a layer, or maybe the vest? Overcast, not too much wind. Admired the floodplain forest, bare branches with a deep yellowish brown floor. Crossed the river at lake street. Don’t remember the water, but I do remember the 3 people on the shore, near the bridge, with big white garbage bags — volunteers cleaning up? Forgot to look over at shadow falls, or listen for the water that only falls after it’s rained.
Thought about my series of poems on haunting/haunted. The one I’m working on is about all the people who frequent/haunt the trail. I’m calling them, The Regulars. Trying to figure out where and how the Dakota people fit into this idea of the regulars. At first, I thought about using we and thinking very loosely about that “we”– not a community of regulars, but a gathering of people past, present, and future who all frequent/inhabit a space — but this felt wrong, not giving enough room for recognizing who can and can’t inhabit this space and who was forced off of this land. It seems too soon (or ever possible?) to claim a we and it flattens out the differences between how and why the gorge is haunted. I’m not sure how to address this, but I want to devote more time to it and feeling uncomfortable about it—maybe this discomfort and my uncertainty about it is something my poems should circle/orbit around as I struggle to find better words and an understanding?
Here’s a wonderful poem I encountered this morning that connects more broadly to the treatment of indigenous peoples by white settlers and the US government:
Passive Voice/ LAURA DA’
I use a trick to teach students
how to avoid passive voice.
Circle the verbs.
Imagine inserting “by zombies”
after each one.
Have the words been claimed
by the flesh-hungry undead?
If so, passive voice.
I wonder if these
sixth graders will recollect,
on summer vacation,
as they stretch their legs
on the way home
from Yellowstone or Yosemite
and the byway’s historical marker
beckons them to the
site of an Indian village—
Where trouble was brewing.
Where, after further hostilities, the army was directed to enter.
Where the village was razed after the skirmish occurred.
Where most were women and children.
Riveted bramble of passive verbs
etched in wood—
breaking up from the dry ground
to pinch the meat
of their young red tongues.