3 Poems

De Maiz…

  Everyone is igualdad 

  Said the man of the wise mind 

  And the old hands 

  He told me 

  We are getting lost 

  This is the way to find ourselves 

  You grab this maiz 

  You use the coa of free will 

  Put it in the hole of hope 

  Cover it with your feet well put on the earth 

  Forget about quimico 

  Take care of your happiness 

  And send your voice in prayer 

  For these 

  They will give you strength 



  Wherever you make your field 

  Dance, sing and smoke 

  For the water 

  And this will arrive with life 

  And smiles of the little ones 

  You’ll see the sprouts 

  You’ll feel the fiery sun 

  And the challenging wind 

  But if you are one with all 

  You will be true 

  And will grow to be 

  And harvest Corn… 


Sending my voice to my departed elders

  You are no longer here 

  But your words 



  Manifestations of love 

  And compassion 


  You are no longer here 

  But you continue to work 

  With the maza of life 

  With your roots of corn 

  With ajenjo medicine 

  To make all the hard to digest pass 

  You are no longer here 

  Yet, we live 

  And remember who we are 

  The spirit of the ones like you 

  Teach us how to dream now 

  You are not longer here 

  But you are not gone 

  We recognize your blessings 

  To help us walk 

  Dark skinned 


  Long haired 

  And with dignity in our hearts 

  You are not here 

  Yet, in beauty you walk 

  Through the sierras 

  Through the desert and jungles 

  And show us 

  To find light 

  With sage, tobacco and copal 

  In the dark places we have inside 

  I am you 

  And you forever will be me 

  The ones ahead Will be us 

  You are no longer here 

  But the we 

  That includes us 


The living-walking dignity

  This is dignidad 

  Said the grandma 

  With long silver hair 

  Callused hands 

  An iron will 

  And a coyote’s stare 

  She stated eloquently I am brown

  Like the earth under my feet 

  And that of which I am a daughter 

  My back is strong 

  From carrying a thousand sacks 

  Filled with slavery, genocide 

  Gold, iron and oil I have a wounded left knee

  It aches with pain and joy It reminds me of injustice 

  Yet, it tells me that I am bold 

  And that we all can be strong I have pierced arms 

  That can move mountains 

  And bend political wills I have an aching chest 

  That prays with song 

  My hair is long and braided It carries our story 


  And reminds us 

  That we are corn 


  Our hearts are open

  Out there their ears are closed 

  Their voices are empty 

  They have lost their road Here 

  Our mouths say our own word 

  And our legs Make our own path 

  This is what the wise one say 

  And does 

  While she continues to wave 

  Her people’s history 

  At the caracol….

Tomás Ramírez is a graduate of De Paul’s School of Public Service in Chicago, a member of several indigenous organizations in the Chicago area and recipient of the 2009 Sullivan Human Rights Award Fellowship.]