into the coast range

for a spouse with Mexican and Portuguese roots

the pacific is 100 miles
endless, on a good day
spouts and blowholes
grays and a few sperm
whales, yet the circus
is close, stellar jays
picking out acorns
shaking the trees
those nuts stashed
in times of gripping
downpours
when ocean and sky merge

this idea of a statue
blind Siletz woman
one daughter from loins
of white man
who refused marriage
…170 years ago
forced death marches
to this Coast Reservation
spread from Cape Lookout
to Dunes City, but they
ran, not away, but toward
homelands, rootedness
away from cancer, whites

Amanda statue is near a footbridge
one covered in debris
the new icon is on the trail
fitted with tracking device
since those white settlers
have been ripping
away land and cultures
for almost two centuries
the blood of Puritans
Germanics, Nordics
illegal aliens
were ‘granted’ Indian land
320 acres for a man
240 for married woman

like a cancer
the land turns to asphalt
endless caravans
of spewing cars, logging trucks
vacation RV’s

but Amanda stands strong
you hold the legend:
her face to the sky
blind but all-seeing
more vision than a thousand whites —
squatters and Indian burners —
the statue is there to receive
decent hearts, minds still welded
in guilt . . . all of what the current whites
seem to be able to give,
guilt, no reparations, or
a statue on a remote trail
hikers and loafers
wondering what a blind
Indian really sees

Paul Haeder's new bio is about suspending all those credentials, all those titles, all those in-the-trench experiences he's acquired and worked hard on in his 64 years (2021): Novelist, essayist, journalist, social worker, college and K12 educator, environmental warrior. Terms and avocations more meaningless as cancel culture rises and rises from left and right insanity. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 16 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.