Poetry Inspired Cinema: Reservations a Poem by Jesse White

Jesse White


Jesse White, Founder of the School for Wonder,  has responded to invitations throughout the United States as a singer/songwriter, poet, storyteller, teacher, trainer, motivational speaker, and advocate for social justice. Her publications include two books of contemplative poetry, three CD’s of original music, a  literary review, 20 spoken-word artists on her label, Authentic Voicework Records. Her all-original recordings are now distributed by Cdbaby.com, through Itunes and 50 digital distributors online. Jess has a winning combination of wholehearted presence and warmth. Her passion for friendship and excellence are a beacon of natural leadership. Books in Print by Jesse White: Dominion of Wings, Unbound Poems for Contemplation, Limited Edition Box, 1996 Manzanita Quarterly Literary Review, Jesse White, Mgr Editor, Publisher 2000-2004 Namesong, Poetry by Ruth F. Harrison, Jesse White, Editor, Publisher, Designer 2004. CD Recordings on Authentic Voicework Records: Patient Heart, Jesse White, Producer, Engineer, Designer, Performer 2000, Soft Power, Jesse White, Producer, Engineer, Designer, Performer 2002, Unarmed, Jesse White, Producer, Engineer, Designer, Performer 2003, The Last Drive, by Jim Thielen, Jesse White, Engineer/Producer 2001, Naked Voice, by Tamara Madison Shaw, Prizewinner, Engineer/Producer 2003, Poets for Peace, Vols 1&2, 19 Poets, Jesse White, Eng/Prod 2003. www.schoolforwonder.com




Seymour Polatkin is a successful, gay Indian poet from Spokane who confronts his past when he returns to his childhood home on the reservation to attend the funeral of a dear friend.



On the reservation where I never lived
my grandmother’s hands
felt like prayers between my palms.

What we couldn’t say out loud
sang from the strands of our dark hair.
Pale children hid behind bushes,
peering at our lives, thinking our silence dull
until we threw back the flap.
Then fire crackled in their faces
until they all wanted their Indian names.

When someone was sick they slept with butterflies
until the fever wore off.
There was always enough good medicine.

It was a wonderful place to grow up.
I thought the only thing missing was a curb for us to sit on.

The reservation where I always lived
was named Mishawaka, after
an Indian princess.

I remember being four years old.
The man next door was a doctor
teaching me things in his house.
He would not come to the door one day
and I threw bricks at the glass.
I had taken off my sun suit early
so he could hurry up and show me butterfly kisses.

I sat on the curb that day
wearing nothing but my shoes.
I folded my arms over my knees
and put my forehead down
so I could watch the hot tears
splatting on the buckles of my shoes.

On the reservation where I never lived
all my Choctaw cousins called me Mariposa.
The soft bottoms of our moccasins
held earth against our bare brown skin.
My grandfather showed us how to
pray with our feet.


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