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Join us for a poetry reading featuring Santee Frazier & Franklin K.R. Cline! Organized in partnership with the Milwaukee Native American Literary Cooperative.
Santee Frazier will also give a talk entitled Native American Identity & the Politics of the Poetic Image at UWM Libraries Special Collections on Tuesday, November 21 at 12:30 PM. More info here.
Santee Frazier is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and graduated with a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2006 under the guidance of Arthur Sze & Jon Davis. He went on to earn an MFA from Syracuse University and his first collection of poems, Dark Thirty, was published by The University Arizona Press in 2009. His poems have been published in Ontario Review, American Poet, Prairie Schooner, and other literary journals. He has received fellowships from the Syracuse University, The Lannan Foundation, The School for Advanced Research, and The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. He is core poetry faculty for the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA program located in Santa Fe, NM.
Franklin K.R. Cline is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, a PhD candidate in English—Creative Writing at theUniversity of Milwaukee-Wisconsin, a member of Woodland Pattern Book Center's Board of Directors, and the book reviews and interviews editor of cream city review. His first book, So What, is available via Vegetarian Alcoholic Press.
from MANGLED & THE ACCORDION
Mangled lights a match, his boots scuffed and frayed,
lips gripping the cob-stem, strings of King Edward
“Crimp Cut” glowing his face–a skillet shine, face of
oily iron. No kin to call his own, the crunching of the
box the sound of dirt-crusted ankles, of snoozing in a
ditch, Mangled lips shined with slobber.
sound out the screen-door squeaking in the breeze, the
crackle fire makes when the bark catches. The lung-sick
box pinches Mangled's belly as he gnaws the cob-stem
chuffing like a tailpipe. This is the end of his bit, calling
down the knife, the slow dimming of his memory,
crunching the box on the creek bank, locusts buzzing to
wet with mash.
clanking his bones
up the road.
He forgot the sound of summons, the
calling out at dusk when the bugs buzzed and deer ate–
the thickening dark, leaves just sound in the dark, the
dark the way his breath felt as he shrunk the innards,
like the music of frying meat, of squirrel thighs dredged
corn meal, the way Blue Rock's house smelt like empty
quarts of beer, acorns and wild onions.
Music of lice
wilting in kerosene, of switch on skin–the wood still
green and bendy.
Mangled reckoned at the bugs
streaming up the fencepost,
shine of their bodies that crunched
between his fingers and teeth.
He sat and looked upon the tilled pasture
tilted his hat and slept and dreamt.
It was not the accordion–keys still
slick under his charred fingers–not the his eyes foaming
in the ducts. Its was Mangled’s tune, his humming of
the knife, the slow slimming of his lips to song. His last
fuss and bother in Terlingua. On the steps of the old
Chisos Theater, he squeezed the box, the strike half-lit,
smoke churning out nostrils.
Knife in his teeth and accordion rifle above the
channels, but Mangled boots slipped on the rocks and
the accordion went down stream. He let it dry in the
sun, and when he played it by the fire, the thickened
noise of critters made
Mangled wept for the knife.
Palpable dread now all over the silvery
slink of each day. We have been listening
exclusively to songs that feature real drums
and handclaps in order to remind ourselves
of the rhythm of humanity.
It’s not really working, so we try
sex, which doesn’t work any better but is
more fun. I don’t know
if I can make it past my Caspers,
but I try at least a little every day. And, you know, this tarnished
land groans with every step anyway.
So I look up. There’s a bunch of buildings and shit in the way of the sky.
—Franklin K.R. Cline
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