Jennifer Patino is not only a most recent contributor to A Cornered Gurl via Medium, but she is also someone I have been reading on WordPress for years. Her most recent blog/website is Thistle Thoughts and the world of poetry, spoken word, essays, and her thoughts and reflections come to life there.
Recently, I put out a call for audio poems to be submitted to A Cornered Gurl for our Feature of the Week and approached Jennifer to take on the challenge. She did so. Not only did she hit us with her words, she gut-punched us with the reading of them.
A Native American, “enrolled Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe,” Jennifer speaks about her people, their fight to survive, what has and continues to be taken away from them, and the move toward the betterment of our nation and our hearts.
I give you, You Wanna Talk, and I hope you feel it as much as we do.
You Wanna Talk?
I’m petrified into silence,
mute disbelief, my grief
holds my tongue, my words
buried inside me
You wanna talk oppression? It’s
almost an obsession, how you
feel you have to prove you suffer
more than the weak
You wanna talk fear? When I
wake, feeling like I was born
for the slab and may arrive early
because you “can’t breathe” through a mask?
I can list many, my dear, who literally
could not breathe, while being murdered by
police brutality, who
could not breathe in gas chambers,
who are no longer breathing,
brothers, mothers, significant others
You wanna talk sin, or attacks on religion?
My people could practice again in 1978, remember
it was taken away? No, you don’t
I can’t speak for all, only me,
a voice from your sacrificial altar,
a daughter being led to slaughter
for your economy
for your frogskins, your chameleon colored money
You wanna talk hardship?
You can’t work on a ventilator
Your bank doesn’t matter
when you’re deceased
I watch infections increase, and
I cry for every family I watch
injustice happening in the streets,
and I contemplate destiny
I think of all these martyrs, I try
and remember, their names, their faces
I want them to be
more than just a hashtagged tragedy
I want, no, I need
You wanna talk flags?
I wave a white one too
It says “I surrender”