dan raphael's most recent books are In the Wordshed, from Last Word Press, and Maps Menus Emanations, from cyberwit. More recent poems appear in Impspired, Mad Swirl, Lothlorien, Otoliths and A Too Powerful Word. Most Wednesdays dan writes & records a currents event poem for The KBOO Evening News in Portland, Oregon.
While the territory this book takes us through is dark, a lot can be learned, including about contemporary groups like the KKK and the NRA, as well as the militarization of the culture (from pioneers to commandos) and the repression of people of color and the poor. Dunbar-Ortiz gives this difficult, at times abhorrent history a crisp and light touch, including personal anecdotes and well-chosen cultural references.
To recreate being a certain age in a certain era takes great skill: getting your facts straight, your feelings appropriate to the time, maybe going back to your own memory but still keeping the perspectives of the characters, which are not necessarily your own.
we’re cycling & recycling as fast as we can but can’t get there in time
for the job, the damaged free stuff, the barbed assignation,
and usually need to replace something by the time we get home—
a tire, a lens, an ankle.
I paid for a genetic test and they sent my money back,
saying my sample was contaminated, parts of my dna unidentifiable,
from atlantis maybe, or one of those countries that continues in mind and myth
though hasn’t been on the maps for centuries.