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NAME: MariJo Moore  
NATION: Cherokee  


MariJo Moore, of Cherokee, Irish and Dutch ancestry is an author/artist/poet/ essayist/lecturer/editor/publisher/workshop presenter. She attended Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, and Lancashire Polytechnic in Preston, England, where she received the equivalent of a BA in Literature. Her published works include Crow Quotes, Desert Quotes, Spirit Voices of Bones, Tree Quotes, Red Woman With Backward Eyes and Other Stories (rENEGADE pLANETS pUBLISHING); Feeding the Ancient Fires: A Collection of Writings by North Carolina American Indians (editor, Cross Roads Press); The Ice Man, The First Fire, The Cherokee Little People, (children's books published by Rigby Education); and a bilingual edition (Dutch/English) Woestijnwoorden (Desert Words) published by Uitgeverij Kramat, Belgium, and Genocide of the Mind: New Writings by Native Americans (editor, Nations Books/Thunders Mouth Press NY). Her novel The Diamond Doorknob, was released in October 2003.

Ms. Moore is a contributing editor to An Anthology of 20th Century North Carolina Poets. Ms. Moore was honored with the prestigious award of North Carolina's Distinguished Woman of the Year in the Arts in 1998. She was chosen by Native Peoples magazine as one of the top five American Indian writers of the new century (June/July 2000 issue). Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers chose her as creative prose fiction Writer of the Year in 2002 for her book Red Woman With Backward Eyes and Other Stories. She is presently helping to orchestrate The Poetry Celebration, an international ceremony for the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian, Washington, DC.



Story is a
woman. Not
long, not short. A
woman with body of
carved petroglyph
tongue of red memories
eyes of dark insight
ears of drummed

hair of ageless ceremony falling onto
her skirt of history woven, tradition colored, many gathered. Stranded myth beads float over her breasts like crows float over timeless time. Scavenging

connecting words
old and new
told and retold
sung and shouted
whispered and chanted
reflecting mirrors in front
scraping medicines from behind.

Listen                 children!
Story is                 a woman.
Not long,                 not short.
A woman.                 Respect her.

MariJo Moore ©1997
from the book Spirit Voices of Bones


Two women asked if I were American Indian.
You look it, they said.

Growing up
I never thought of myself as looking Indian
although my father and his four sisters

have always worn skin the color of smooth
copper and looked through eyes the color
of painted darkness.

Perhaps it is an essence, looking Indian.
Perhaps it has nothing to do with looks at all.

In Paris, no one asked me anything.

MariJo Moore ©1997
from the book Spirit Voices of Bones



I can see it, stretching out before me, reaching into somewhere next week.
Then leaping back into last year, or the year before.
Trying to change things, trying to analyze things, tying to plot a way out of today
and the sullen misery contained therein.

My mind is like a wild bird, floating with the greatest ease for a while.
Stopping to rest in a tree of thoughts, then falling, falling, downward.
Heading straight for the hard earth…forgetting… yes, forgetting it can fly
forgetting that it was made to fly, forgetting...

Scream! Scream I tell it! Scream like the hawk and split open the sky!
Slice the dark night into shreds of stars. Scream!
But my mind won't scream. It is too busy looking for a way out,
a way to get away. From me. From my thoughts.

Confusing thoughts. Am I too white? Am I too dark? Do I fit in anywhere?
Would a number make me whole? Who really gives a damn?
I think I am losing my mind. It is not that I have misused it,
not really.

More likely it has misused me.
And now it wants to get away from me. It wants to be lost.
Maybe just for a little while. Maybe forever…
maybe not at all.

How can I know what my mind wants when I think I am losing my mind?
Perhaps I shouldn't think so much.

MariJo Moore © 2004
from the book Confessions of a Madwoman (to be released in 2005)