Representative Poetry Online
  Poet Index   Poem Index   Random   Search  
  Introduction   Timeline   Calendar   Glossary   Criticism   Bibliography  
  RPO   Canadian Poetry   UTEL  
by Name
by Date
by Title
by First Line
by Last Line
Short poem

Simon Joseph Ortiz (1941-)

A New Story

              1Several years ago,
              2I was a patient at the VA hospital
              3in Ft, Lyons, Colorado.
              4I got a message to call this woman,
              5so I called her up.
              6She said to me,
              7"I'm looking for an Indian.
              8Are you an Indian?"
              9"Yes," I said.
            10"Oh good," she said,
            11"I'll explain why I'm looking
            12for an Indian."
            13And she explained.
            14"Every year, we put on a parade
            15in town, a Frontier Day Parade.
            16It's exciting and important,
            17and we have a lot of participation."
            18"Yes," I said.
            19"Well," she said, "Our theme
            20is Frontier,
            21and we try to do it well.
            22In the past, we used to make up
            23paper mache Indians,
            24but that was years ago."
            25"Yes," I said.
            26"And then more recently,
            27we had some people
            28who dressed up as Indians
            29to make it more authentic,
            30you understand, real people."
            31"Yes," I said.
            32"Well," she said,
            33"that didn't seem right,
            34but we had a problem.
            35There was a lack of Indians."
            36"Yes," I said.
            37"This year, we wanted to do it right.
            38We have looked hard and high
            39for Indians but there didn't seem
            40to be any in this part of Colorado."
            41"Yes," I said.
            42"We want to make it real, you understand,
            43put a real Indian on a float,
            44not just a paper mache dummy
            45or an Anglo dressed as an Indian
            46but a real Indian with feathers and paint.
            47Maybe even a medicine man."
            48"Yes," I said.
            49"And then we learned the VA hospital
            50had an Indian here.
            51We were so happy,"
            52she said, happily.
            53"Yes," I said.
            54"there are several of us here."
            55"Oh good," she said.

            56Well, last Spring
            57I got another message
            58at the college where I worked.
            59I called the woman.
            60She was so happy
            61that I returned her call.
            62Then she explained
            63that Sir Francis Drake,
            64the English pirate
            65(she didn't say that, I did)
            66was going to land on the coast
            67of California in June, again.
            68And then she said
            69she was looking for Indians . . .
            70"No," I said. No.


2] Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Fort Lyon, Colorado.

15] Cheyenne, Wyoming (near Colorado), for example holds a Frontier Day Parade in July.

Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Ortiz, Simon J. Woven Stone. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1992: 363-65.
Publication date note: Ortiz, Simon J. Fight Back: For the Sake of the People; For the Sake of the Land. 1980
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/6/30

Other poems by Simon Joseph Ortiz