Photo courtesy of the author, Jamie Randal

Photo courtesy of the author, Jamie Randal

Jamie Randall

Jamie Randall is a member of the Red Cliff Band of Ojibwe in northern Wisconsin. She is currently completing an MFA in Creative Writing from Augsburg University, while working at a community college, dismantling the systems of oppression, and raising two amazing little people with her partner in Minnesota. Jamie seeks the rhythms of the world that have been lost to colonization and tries to release them in her poetry.  


This poem was written in response to attending a Weave Residency rehearsal on January 5, 2019. This performance was at the O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University. 

 

Decolonizing the Soul 

Speak with the world around you

In pulse

In movement

In breath 

Pull strength from lofty stalks
Manoomin dancing on water
Feel air swaying

caressing

                                                             approaching bodies

 Life moves through all

bodies

Absorbing
Flowing
Coursing through echoing chambers

 of limb
and muscle 

Heartbeat                     Ancestral Birth                        Pulling Soul

Pick them up and cradle them 
within your swaying arms

Cut off pieces that are
artificial order
man-made time

Creaking and popping 
as you brush them off

 these ephemeral branches


This poem was written in response to a community engagement event, Get Real: A Native Feminist Artist Dialogue, which was held at Augsburg University on 1/7/19. The panelists were Sharon M. Day, Marcie Rendon, Elizabeth Day, Heid E. Erdrich, Rhiana Yazzie, and Rosy Simas.
This panel was moderated by Ananya Chatter
jea. 

Be Brave: Advice from a Native Feminist Artist Dialogue

1.    Say your name. Say it with the music of your tongue, in places where it doesn’t belong, which will be almost everywhere, dear one. 

2.    Play all the roles. The shapes and curves that you have never seen, on stages and streets your feet have never touched. Unapologetically, claim your space in this scene. 

3.    See the dimensions of yourself. See them writing the stories that echo in your ears, turning up the songs that move your blood, and building the places you remember. 

4.    Send your essence into the world. Let it seek its counterpoint in others, and run so far that it no longer belongs to your bones alone. Let it demand to be seen and take form where only ether had been. 

5.    Open the path for others. Pluck their earnest hesitations from the walls that line the path and teach them how to shatter them upon the ground. Laugh together as you feel the shards scatter around your feet. 

6.    Write the truth you know, as you know it, and how you know it. Push away the lies that burden the bodies of us all. Paint over them with your words, building layers to climb. 

7.    Let your soul feel the ache of what has been missing. Close your eyes and feel the wholeness of you as your tired depths buoyed by the embrace of this love.  


September 2018

Witnessing Weave

In late summer, I was asked to participate in witnessing a rehearsal of Weave. Community witness is one aspect of the entire project, where different facets will be brought together to create the production. I went into the space with very little context so I would be able to fill my senses with the experience.

This particular rehearsal was held in the Ivy Arts building in South Minneapolis. As I found my way I noticed the halls were filled with offices and workspaces, many of them healers in some way or another – occupational therapy, bike repair, massage. The rehearsal space itself was the was warm with dark wood floors.

I was early so there was still pre-rehearsal prep going on – dancers were stretching, sound and projectors were being tested – I settled on a sofa in the corner of this large room and waited. Soon more people began to arrive and find seats. A hush settled as Rosy Simas walked to the front and explained to the audience what would be happening next.

In honor of what I witnessed that evening, I offer this poem which came from what I saw and heard and felt that night:  

Entwined

I once walked off

the edge

of an underwater cliff

 

As I looked into the

ocean’s great eye

a shadow appeared

from the deep azure

Rising over horizons of

black and purple

 

Shadow formed sea turtle

It began a dance

Undulating ablution

We moved along the lines of

each other’s curves

 

In the slow moving thunder

the current and wave

I let the turtle swallow me whole