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Monday, May 06, 2019


(the meaning of Poway)

by Alejandro Escudé

Kumeyaay-Diegueño-Salinan-Chumash-Kashaya-Esselen-Kiliwa-Paipai. Tipai-Ipai (`T p -`E¯ p ) is the common name since the 1950s of two linguistically related groups formerly known as Kamia (Kumeyaay) and Diegueño. Both terms mean “People”. “Diegueño” comes from the Spanish mission San Diego. Photo via Pinterest.

Where the Diegueño people
roamed, before the state was state, stream
of stars, black-billed magpie,

Blue Sky

sycamore, willow, cottonwood, oh scent of sage scrub forever!

woodland roadrunners, coyotes, and bats
we take our welcomed people in our hands
for Passover
those Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, all indigenous
living between the fallen limbs

among the wild roses, quail, and amphibians,

we walk with you arm in arm, through paths of chaparral and poison oak
as the bobcats look up at the moon,

glassy-eyed, weighed down by worldly cares,

there we sing, Dayenu—to the eternal family running along the red highway,
brothers and sisters

we will not let you fall to the captors who shall perish in their ancient pursuit,
as we

hold firm to the aromatic shrub of our blessèd word

to our common little meeting of valleys,

our people,
our Poway,

our truth.

Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems My Earthbound Eye in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.