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Simon Joseph Ortiz (1941-)

Making Quiltwork


              1Like the coat of many colors, the letters, scraps,
              2all those odds and bits we live by, we have come
              3to know. Folks here live by the pretty quilts
              4they make, more than make actually, more than pretty.
              5They are histories, their lives and their quilts.
              6Indian people who have been scattered, sundered
              7into odds and bits, determined to remake whole cloth.
              8Nothing quits. It changes many times, sometimes
              9to something we don't want, but we again gather
            10the pieces, study them, decide, make decisions again,
            11yes, and fit them to color, necessity, conditions,
            12taste and choice, and start again. Our lives are quilts,
            13letters, odds and bits, scraps, but always the thread
            14loving through them, compassionate knowledge
            15that what we make is worth it and will outlast
            16anything that was before and will be worthy
            17of any people's art, endeavor, and final triumph.

            18Here, look at my clothes, quilts, coats of many colors!


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. Out There Somewhere. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 2002: 106.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/6/30


Other poems by Simon Joseph Ortiz