a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
skyscrapers of the north woods
wind whistles through branches
whisper a lullaby
soothe a weary city mind.
I belong here in my camper trailer
a paper bag colored woman
in these natural spaces
wilderness is not reserved for internalized dominance “for whites only”
I remember these words from history books/
the Lakota people called this place
tinted or cloudy depending on the time of day
now the meaning of the word and the people are
Something is amiss here my instincts sending me
white woman bent with the posture of a question mark
mumbled, “go back to your ghetto”
I said, “you mean my suburban home”
she gives me the stink eye/ their camper trailer
festooned with red, white and blue stickers
proclaiming their internalized dominance.
Wooded paths are biked and hiked
white tail deer bound away silent except
for the crackle of broken branches
grey squirrels scold intruders from red pine branches.
Later/ twilight supper cooked over a campfire with
roasted marshmallows for dessert while two dogs sleep
peacefully/ sometimes flick an eye lid open to check
a mysterious noise then back to sleep
chasing dream rabbits.
I snuggle close to my man knowing
inside this camper trailer his gun
lies underneath the mattress/he understands the
beauty of the wilderness can turn on you/
two-legged beasts of internalized dominance “for whites only”
“Internalized dominance” term used by Claudia Rankine in an essay, In Our Way: Racism in Creative Writing, published October/December 2016, “The Writers Chronicle.” She uses “internalized dominance” because, and I agree, it has deeper meaning than the term “white privilege.”
Debra J. Stone lives in Minnesota and attended Carleton College. She is co-founder and co-facilitator of the Northside Writers Group in North Minneapolis, a community-based writing group that has been meeting for ten years. Her poetry has been published by the Saint Paul Almanac, in the chapbook, “Bringing Gifts, Bringing News,” short stories published by Black Magnolia Literary Journal, Tidal Basin and is forthcoming in other literary journals. She has received residencies at New York Mills Arts Residency, The Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, The Vermont Studio Center, Callaloo, and Intermedia Arts, Beyond the Pure. In 2017, she was a finalist for the Minnesota-based Loft Mentor Series in fiction and 2017 finalist in creative nonfiction. Debra was a 2011 participant in The Givens Foundation Black Writers Retreat. She currently serves as Board Member and Engagement Committee Chair for the non-profit independent publisher Graywolf Press. Debra is writing a collection of short stories.