Chrystos I am not your Princess

I AM NOT YOUR PRINCESS

Sandpaper between two cultures which tear
one another apart
I’m not a means by which you can reach spiritual
understanding or even
learn to do beadwork
I’m only willing to tell you how to make fry bread
1 cup flour, spoon of salt, spoon of baking powder
Stir Add milk or water or beer until it holds together
Slap each piece into rounds
Let rest
Fry in hot grease until golden
This is Indian food
only if you know that Indian is a government word
which has nothing to do with our names for ourselves
I won’t chant for you
I admit no spirituality to you
I will not sweat with you or ease your guilt with fine
turtle tales
I will not wear dancing clothes to read poetry or
explain hardly anything at all
I don’t think your attempts to understand us are going
to work so I’d rather you left us in whatever peace we can still
scramble up after all you continue to do
If you send me one more damn flyer about how to heal
myself for $300 with special feminist counseling
I’ll probably set fire to something
If you tell me one more time that I’m wise I’ll throw
up on you
Look at me
See my confusion Loneliness fear worrying about all
our struggles to keep what little is left for us
Look at my heart not your fantasies
Please don’t ever again tell me about your Cherokee
great-great grandmother
Don’t assume I know every other Native Activist
in the world personally
That I even know names of all the tribes
or can pronounce names I’ve never heard
or that I’m expert at the peyote stitch
If you ever
again tell me
how strong I am
I’ll lay down on the ground and moan so you’ll see
at last my human weakness like your own
I’m not strong I’m scraped
I’m blessed with life while so many I’ve known are
dead
I have work to do dishes to wash a house to clean
There is no magic
See my simple cracked hands which have washed the same
things
you wash See my eyes dark with fear in a house by
myself
late at night See that to pity me or to adore me
are the same
1 cup flour, spoon of salt, spoon of baking powder,
liquid to hold
Remember this is only my recipe There are many others
Let me rest
here
at least

by Chrystos – from Not Vanishing