From “Impulse to Love” by Jim Bodeen


We keep the strong black medicine, coffee.
We say no to whiskey.
We shed the fat of the soldier food.
We say no to things that divide us.
Someone will say something of the world behind this one.
We accept the fact that we are a broken people.
We have left people behind to come here.
Women go with the men they choose,
openly, untroubled, as is their right.
The hearts of our women are not dust. We are not whipped.
We are shirt-wearers. We are big-hearted.
The shirts show the solid world of our new life.
We will resist the reservation. We will not go in.
We are defenseless, but we are strategists.
We will use the earth for cover.
We are warriors. We have discipline.
Our enemies will not hurt us.
We are vigilant before our own people.
From defeat we have achieved a new fierceness,
a new kind of recklessness.
There can be no anger in the heart.
You learn how to go off by yourself.
You learn that you belong to others.
We have been shadow-marked.
Breathing together, we cross through language.
No one can say what our work will be.


– Jim Bodeen,
Impulse to Love

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