READ INDIGENOUS: A Difficult Beauty

The poems in David Groulx’s A Difficult Beauty (Wolsak and Wynn) are honest, thoughtful glimpses of life on a reserve, of the pain and anger of his ancestors, told with subtly dark humour. The Chronicle Herald says: “There is tenderness in Groulx; there is beauty alongside difficulty. But he has thunderbolts to throw—to illuminate consciousness and rock consciences—and he throws them, to overthrow complacency.” Get acquainted with our featured poem from the collection, “Instruments From Oz Or Paranoid Indian.” 

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From A Difficult Beauty by David Groulx (Wolsak and Wynn Publishers) 

Instruments From Oz Or Paranoid Indian
John Wayne is trying to kill me
he has a Winchester on his hip
Custer is hiding under my bed
with his saber in his hand
he’ll cut me open
if I close my eyes
I havent slept in years
Jesus is coming to civilize
me and make blue-eyed Indians
performing miracles
with gunpowder made out of wine
and land made out of smallpox
the Sorte du Quebec are hiding
in my closet behind wire hangers and
boxes of pictures of my
grandmothers and grandfathers
my aunts and uncles
my father and mother
I’ve set up barricades at the closet doors
The Hudson Bay Company has been raiding my fridge
I can tell because all the boiled moose meat
and the half bottle of beer are gone
they went to the toilet
and used the last of the Charmin
The police take shots at me when no one
is looking
they point their pistols and wink
they are conspiring to kill me
drag me out to the outskirts of town
and leave me there to freeze to death
I called the media
they didn’t believe me
told me I was paranoid and crazy
and I began to believe them
* * *

The Author 

David Groulx was raised in the Northern Ontario mining community of Elliot Lake. He is proud of his Native roots – his mother is Ojibwe Indian and his father French Canadian. David studied creative writing at the En’owkin Centre, Penticton, BC, in 1998–99, where he won the Simon J. Lucas Jr. Memorial Award for poetry. He has written three previous poetry books: Night in the Exude (Tyro Publications, 1997); The Long Dance (Kegedonce Press, 2000); and Under god’s pale bones (Kegedonce Press, 2010. David’s poetry has appeared in over a hundred periodicals in England, Australia, Germany, Austria and the USA.* * *Buy A Difficult Beauty or any of our READ INDIGENOUS books and get this stunning limited-run tote bag featuring colourful artwork from Indigenous visual artists Kaya Joan, Alan Syliboy, Dawn Oman, and Lauren Crazybull until November 15th (while supplies last). And don’t forget to check out today’s other READ INDIGENOUS feature, Unearthing Secrets, Gathering of Truths by Jules Koostachin (Kegedonce Press).