We cannot leave

we cannot go back

we have nowhere to go back to

we’re stuck here on stolen land

our native tongues cut off,

cry out for home

cry out for culture

cry out for ancestors

in languages long forgotten,

and cry out for those whose bones

have long been buried here

beneath progress

beneath manifest destiny

beneath doctrines of discovery

beneath churches

beneath prisons

beneath government boarding schools

beneath mom and pop shops

and beneath Walmarts.

This is stolen land

all of it

from sea to shining sea

it is not my land

it is not your land

we can only be stewards,

we can only be caretakers

but we do not take care

we only take

and take

and take

and forsake our humanity

and ignore history

no, we cannot possess

something so sacred

something stolen

something cleansed


of most of its inhabitants.

Genocide is not a word

to be used lightly

but it is too light a word

to describe what happened

and what continues to happen


But we cannot leave

we cannot go back

we must move forward

the bastard children

of history’s latest empire

without a culture of our own

besides sticks and stones

without clues as to why

we are taught to feed our children

with your blood

and nourish ourselves with bread

torn from the hands

of your dead

and we’ve been eating it up

in our towns with English names

and Dutch names

and Spanish names

and indigenous names we have claimed

as our own

and bone and flesh have returned

to the soil

and water boils

and the spoils are still being gathered

by the crown

and one Mississippi

two Mississippi

we drown

those who are left

so they can’t speak

of the theft

and we were born on stolen land

but we cannot leave

with nowhere to go

but we can grieve

and we can show our remorse

for the course history has taken

for the sisters and the brothers

that we have forsaken

and keep forsaking

keep taking

and taking

and taking

and we keep raking

through the ashes

of humanity

hoping to find

more gold.




About soitgoes1984

I was born and raised on land stolen from the Pocumtuc. I now live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, on land that was stolen more recently, from the Hawaiians. I am addict, struggling to kick the habit of fossil fuel. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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