I am pleased that poet Tanaya Winder responded to a recent shout out to send me some new stuff, something edgy, risky, or even unfinished. This new draft of the love poem is perfect for a turbulent Valentines week. Tanaya's poem speaks truths about love, and her Ted Talk linked below, about love shared as a teacher.
On Teaching the He(art) of Forgetting
I work in metaphor, time travel through lines to help students find their initial rupture.
Prompt: if you could have any superhero power, what would it be?
Today everyone is about reading minds or invisibility.
Last night I arrived in this sleeping town, empty, dark and blurred like an outline of a painting I once helped someone I love(d) trace.
The next morning walking hallways lined with lockers I lose a diamond heart-shaped ring given to me by the family of a friend who took his life – something I carry with me wherever I go.
If you could read my memory, perhaps you’d search for the finished mural, spilling over banks with colors blindingly bright. My superpower has always been staying inside the lines.
I text someone who loves me, “I lost my ring.” He writes, “Some things are signs for you to let go.” This, weeks before he’ll tell me you don’t have to prove anything to me, I know who you are.
I’ve never understood release. Whenever I’m about to sing I hear my voice instructor telling me, "Trust your voice. It’ll do what it needs. Let go and it will do the rest."
A student writes a poem declaring his superpower to be: forgetting.
I receive an email of acceptance and another from someone I lived.
My throat holds a lump, signs of an oncoming cold or all of the things I’ve left unspoken.
At a coffee shop, I order a drink called "hard times” – it's the best coffee I've tasted in months.
(I meant to type loved back there but autocorrect corrects me. I loved him, but I suppose I lived him, too)
Over dinner with a friend who had just come from a funeral, we talk about traveling time, what we would forget. She asks, "people or things?"
On the coffee shop counter are flowers from the funeral. No one else knows where the daises came from. We talk about how things don't have meaning until we give it.
I wonder what meaning I’ll give these ruptures and you, an unfinished painting I hope I’ll learn not to carry with me.
I wonder what it will take for me (if I want) to forget. But I do know this: I know who I am and I can trust my voice to do what it needs to. So I open my mouth to sing and release a blackbird.
Tanaya Winder is a poet, writer, and educator, raised on the Southern Ute reservation in Ignacio, CO. An enrolled member of the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, her background includes Southern Ute, Pyramid Lake Paiute, Navajo, and Black heritages. Tanaya writes and teaches about different expressions of love (self love, intimate love, social love, community love, and universal love). A winner of the 2010 A Room Of Her Own Foundation’s Orlando prize in poetry, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cutthroat magazine, Superstition Review, Drunkenboat and Kweli among others. Her poems from her manuscript “Love in a Time of Blood Quantum” were produced and performed by the Poetic Theater Productions Presents Company in NYC. Her debut poetry collection Words Like Love was published in 2015 by West End Press. Tanaya has taught writing courses at Stanford University, UC-Boulder, and the University of New Mexico. She has a BA in English from Stanford University and a MFA in creative writing from UNM. She is a co-founder and editor-in-chief of As/Us: A Space for Women of the World. She guest lectures and teaches creative writing workshops at high schools and universities internationally. Tanaya is the Director of the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Upward Bound Program, which services 103 Native American youth from 8 states, 22 high schools, and 8 reservations across the country. She continues to teach as an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico. Finally, she created Dream Warriors Management, an Indigenous artist management company and collective.
Ted Talkk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF1z5XHEMaM
Thank you, Tanaya.
Please, Dear Readers, share your new work with us, too. Be you!
The DitchRider’s Sunday Poem on Duke City Fix is accepting submissions of 3 to 5 of your favorite poems. Please send in a word doc to email@example.com ; be sure to put DitchRider in the subject line and include a short bio and a few pictures from which I may select. Your name on the poems seems to be very useful! Thanks in advance from Merimee. I will get back to you within the shortest framework I can muster. Be brave! Speak out, poets! If by some chance your first send is overlooked, send more. Work with me. xox mm