Poet’s Memory

October 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Culture

Poet Layli Long Soldier Remembers Russell Means

Layli Long Soldier:

Hello. I don’t have a fantastic Russell Means story, I didn’t know him personally but my story is simple. I met him. But not really, my eyes met him in a Sears automotive waiting room. He was getting his tires done. He sat across from me in Sears in Santa Fe. I knew who he was, back then, I was young. I knew but didn’t introduce myself or say hello. Was I shy or maybe I felt like, I just want to check this man out. Check him out, as in observe, most respectfully. So I observed him, oh yeah even at Sears automotive in a hard plastic chair he was seated with two wrapped braids, jeans and button up shirt. He was seated like as if I talked to him he’d have something to say, so maybe I didn’t introduce myself because back then, I was young, I didn’t have much to say. When I heard the news Monday morning that he’d passed away I remembered this man sitting right in front me in Sears automotive, how I didn’t shake his hand, how like always I couldn’t speak. This thing he always did, speak. I just cried the other morning I remembered Sears and Russell Means getting his tires. I speak through writing, that’s how I’ve gotten by. But, listen, I will teach my daughter to do a little better. Then and there, daughter, shake hands. Introduce. Say who you are, say you are an admirer. There is only one moment when you’re in it. This is what I learned from Russell Means.

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