Thursday, May 25, 2006

Ekiwah Means Warrior

One of the highlights of the Skagit River Poetry Festival was meeting and reading with Ekiwah Adler Belendez. He's a poetry prodigy out of Mexico, bilingual English-Spanish, who had his first book of poems published at age twelve. He has cerebral palsy, and recently had spinal surgery, and is wheel-chair bound. You can read more about him here. Before I met him, I was skeptical; after meeting him, I was won over by his poems, his wisdom, and his reading voice.

Here is a poem he wrote at age 15 or 16, before going in for spinal surgery, from his book The Coyote's Trace. I believe he said he dictated it to his father as he was under the influence of the pain medicine, and about to go under the knife:


I am in the white prison
of those with disjointed feverish limbs,
yet, when there is no noise
I become the white prison —
snow of white and clean ideas,
a white shark
in a sea of mercy.

Around me luminous hands
open a wound,
the metal they temper
makes the strongest sword.

I see an emerald fire in me,
in this sweet hour I discover
by being a still
single-minded snake,
I am the warrior.

NYC, December 16, 2003

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