Grief After Grief After Grief After Grief

Billy-Ray Belcourt

copyright ©2018

1. my body is a stray bullet. i was made from crossfire. love was her last resort. his mouth, a revolver. I come from four hundred no man’s lands. 

2. “smell my armpit again/ i miss it when you do that.”

3. his moaning is an honour song i want to world to. 

4. one of the conditions of native life today is survivor’s guilt. 

5. it is july 2016 and the creator opens up the sky to attend a #blacklivesmatter protest. there, she bumps into weesageechak and warns him that if policemen don’t stop killing black men she will flood america and it will become a lost country only grieving mothers will know how to find. this, she says, is how the world will end and be rebuilt this time. 

6. haunting is a gender. gender is another word for horror story. 

7. “i can hear him screaming for me, and i can hear him saying, ‘stop, honey help me.’” 

8. i am trying to figure out how to be in the world without wanting it. this, perhaps, is what it means to be native. 

 

2: from Lilting (2014, dir. Hong Khaou).
7:
 see :h ttp//www.cbc.ca/news/canada/Calgary/rcmp-gleichen-christian-duck-chief-excessive-force-1.3521620

Notes on the Poem

For National Indigenous Peoples Day, our Poem of the Week is “Grief After Grief After Grief After Grief,” by the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize Canadian winner, Billy-Ray Belcourt from his collection, This Wound is a World (Frontenac House). Of This Wound is a World, the judges said: “Blending the resources of love song and elegy, prayer and manifesto, Billy-Ray Belcourt’s This Wound is a World shows us poetry at its most intimate and politically necessary. Mindful of tangled lineages and the lingering erasures of settler colonialism, Belcourt crafts poems in which “history lays itself bare” – but only as bare as their speaker’s shapeshifting heart. Belcourt pursues original forms with which to chart the constellations of queerness and indigeneity, rebellion and survival, desire and embodiedness these poems so fearlessly explore...This electrifying book reminds us that a poem may live twin lives as incantation and inscription, singing from the untamed margins: “grieve is the name i give to myself / i carve it into the bed frame. / i am make-believe. / this is an archive. / it hurts to be a story.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *