Colorado writer Tanaya Winder’s first book of poems, “Words Like Love,” explores not just romantic love, but all kinds of love -- environmental love, social love and more.
As a member of the Southern Ute, Duckwater Shoshone, and Pyramid Lake Paiute Nations, she often writes of difficult and challenging issues, especially those of native people.
“Love's revolutionary capacity as an action and as a practice inspired me to create a book that might help a world that is full of struggling, hurt, lonely, longing, courageous, brave, and beautiful people that also believe in love's power,” she says.
Read three of Winder's poems:
hollow out my memory to a tree trunk
in my mother’s womb
i came into this world
in my mother’s womb.
my grandmother says it’s the moon
or is it a pact from the past
when the doctors say hereditary,
to her like birds. my mother and i do not know
to protect us, to save us.
long ago, there was a man
spirits so deeply it shook the earth.
his leaving made
when angels speak of love i’m pretty sure they didn’t mean
drunken hockey fans spraying fifty-seven native children with beer, taunting with racial slurs like “Go back to the reservation”
If love is all coming and going this is coloniality starting back
the meaning of words like, love and hate. And you gotta hate
that the voice that said them still echoes in your head, still
Love is action and we cannot tell where an echo ends and
giving birth; because of this she is sacred. Yet,
murdered in Canada alone and the numbers in the US are still
statistics: Nearly half of all Native American women have been raped, stalked, or beaten. When angels speak of love I’m certain
they didn’t mean this. Our women and children are being
& are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes
and survive end? When you’re missing in life and missing in
when angels try to speak of love my ears strain to hear
if ever mention us and I wonder
Reprinted from WORDS LIKE LOVE: poems by Tanaya Winder with permission of West End Press. Copyright (c) Tanaya Winder, 2015