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Tyranny of Moths

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feathery moths
flutter on the screen
sounds of summer

oblivious tonight
that my reading light
is not my day

stout bodies
cut and bounce
near a crack
in the screen
and beat inside
a paper shade
of a monumental
natural presence

we are drawn
by the moths
to other lights
down the road

Gerald Vizenor, “Tyranny of Moths” from Almost Ashore. Copyright © 2006 by Gerald Vizenor. Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing.
Source: Almost Ashore (Salt Publishing, 2006)
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Tyranny of Moths

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  • Gerald Vizenor is of Anishinabe heritage and an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation. Vizenor was born in Minnesota, but before he turned two years old his father was murdered. He was subsequently raised by his Swedish American mother, Anishinabe grandmother, and extended family in Minneapolis and on the White Earth Reservation.
    The author of more than 20 books of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, Vizenor attended college on the GI Bill after serving in the armed forces for three years, mostly in Japan. He studied at New York University and did postgraduate work at Harvard University and the University of Minnesota. From 1964 to 1968 he directed the American Indian Employment and Guidance Center in Minneapolis. He was also a reporter for the Minneapolis Tribune, where he investigated the actions of American Indian activists.
    Vizenor’s poetry collections include The Old Park Sleeper...

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