Self portrait as a Saguaro



Sometimes I feel like you
A flowering hosh, has:an, saguaro
Breathing in the rocky sand

A bright, boiling star eyes my waxy, sprinkled skin
I look at you and I can feel the prickled
Toothpicks stand on my skin
Just like when I see the hosh of my eye

I feel like you before the monsoons
Restless in the heat
Ready for the rain
& the new year

Seeing relatives pick off
My blooming fruit
For years longer than something called a nation state
Whatever that is

Sometimes I see you leading
Me to other hosh older
Than the state of Arizona
Standing taller than the
Politicians looking like over watered prickly pear
With pricks spilling out of their mouths
Poking and bleeding out
Letters with no song

Sometimes I feel like you
seeing freeways being built
over my relatives and friends
Feeling the rivers dry in my spine

My belly unfull
In the heat
The magnificent heat
Under my weight
I am protected beyond the laws
By something stronger
Something laws cannot govern

When I see you
My belly is full
& the rain clouds appear
Bustling, dripping, rested


♥Japanese Breakfast- Essentially♥


Long thoughts on life in the sky between Phoenix and Oakland

Must I art?

What if I decide to unart?

Live the life

Of a model minority

Not fucking up shit

Not breaking one’s toxic masculinity

Not writing

Not crying

Just surviving

Taking nice pictures

And looking clean

Brushing my hair

Pores are flawless

Dark circles are caked and concealed

Not being moody

Living that so called “Instagram life”

20 pounds ago

Little brown girls would tell me

I could quit my job and be a “model”

I tell them “thanks, I don’t want to do that”

They would look at me confused

20 pounds later I see my grandma

The first thing she says is “wow! You gained weight”

I then show her a poem I wrote about her hanging in a museum

She reads it and laughs

That’s the end of that story

No bitterness

I like being pudgy

It’s kind of nice to be left alone on public transportation

And I don’t feel like I have to live up to the stares from men

My partner tells me he likes me just as I am

I smile and try to believe it

I smile and try to tell myself the same

I debate if I should start exercising

I think if I was skinnier would he love me more?

I know it’s true for the men in my family

Proper weight equals proper love

Shallow cycles swirl around me

But I believe my partner because I feel it

And I feel good

In my newer older body

With its slowed down metabolism

My validation doesn’t need anyone’s attention

My livelihood lives on my words

Not my growing double chin

Or dresses in my closet that don’t fit anymore

Getting older is weird

Having an older body is weird

Shit is gonna Start shutting down soon

My memory is already becoming shit

It’s kind of scary

Scarier than blacking out

Another odd part about getting old

Is going sober

It’s been two and half years that I have not woke up hungover

Cheers to that

Going sober is weird

Telling people you don’t drink is weird

Telling natives that you’re sober is almost like a myth

Finding a male partner that is educated , doesn’t drink and doesn’t cheat on their girl is like finding Sasquatch then dating him

It’s that rough out there for us native women

Because most of us are guilty for falling in love with a bottle that likes to lie and cheat their way through life

Most of us stay  in situations where we pay the bills and become mothers to boys that don’t know how to tie their own damn shoes

Most of us have to lie to ourselves everyday that love is supposed to hurt

Love is supposed to feel broken

If our mother and grandmothers could do it so can we

We tell ourselves

Our broken pieces always been temporary held together by broken promises

“I won’t do it again”

“It’s the last time I promise”

I smashed those excuses a long time ago

But worth still comes knocking

What is a complicated native woman to a native man’s fantasy of normalcy?

Yes it’s too much to ask

But what do I want?

I get to choose

This is the privilege of my generation

This is the privilege of breaking a cycle

This is the gift I give to myself

This is a foundation

My kids will have to

Not live with an angry land

And a broken man

My grandma thinks all men are trash

Every man around her drinks

So I could see her view

Her husband was stabbed in a lonely alley in phoenix 31 years ago

Something we never talk about

and don’t let go

My mom thinks half of men are trash

Her husband doesn’t drink but her son

Comes home with x’s in his eyes everyday

I fear the same for my future

A husband that doesn’t drink

But a son that will stay with us well into his 40’s with a bald head to match his bald liver

If I fear my future how can I keep going?

That’s just what being a native woman is I guess

Indigenous Women’s Words


♥Nizhoni Girls- Louie♥

My electric cactus


💖Niña- Blue valentine💖

Blue Corn Faces

Winter 2018.

♦♦My musings hover above, a lilac amber horizon stirring into honey lavender clouds with bits of creosote flashing into the sweetness of the sky♦♦



♥Elliot Smith- Angel in the snow♥

For the people, By the poet interview

Hey ya’ll I was interviewed by poet Rashaad Thomas for the University of Arizona poetry center blog titled For the people, By the poet. You can read my interview here.


-Amber M.

The muse of my des(s)ert


♥Saving all my love for you- Whitney Houston♥

Graduate school

My hips happily feel the air
As I walked down play dough pavements
And around cement trees

My knees feel the humidity
As I bend in momentum
Crushing the potato chips leaves beneath me

Two years sound like a long time
To bend my knees away from my lover
My mother and my brother

Writing is a pain to many I’m sure
Writing is despair to an idle tongue
Writing is not an oral way of living

Writing is like my lover
I smile at the keys that stay with me every moment of this journey
Writing is like my mother
Nurturing me with every new thought and phrase
Writing is like my brother
Keeping me company in moments of cognition

My fingers move with intention
My hips move with the lover of my words
My eyes do not leave the page

I orally proclaim my love for my fingers
For they type all my pleasures
That spill onto this electronic screen
Never turn off


To all my girls of color (may you find a lover)

May you find a lover so wonderful
They bring not one but three kombuchas
for you when you call in sick
And make loose leaf tea for you just because
May you find a lover so wonderful
They understand what boundaries mean without having to google it later
And stay true to them
May you find a lover so wonderful
They hear you talk about your childhood and historical traumas
And listen with each ear while holding you
May you find a lover so wonderful
They take you for smoothies every Sunday
And while driving home listening to the art laboe show, they act out their dedications to you
May you find a lover so wonderful
They kiss your shoulders and back with the loudest smacks before making love
And look so deep into your eyes you forget what your doing for a second
May you find a lover so wonderful
They brings tacos and Coca Cola for you when you have a migraine
Then gives you their spare key for you to sleep in their bed
May you find a lover so wonderful
They keep quiet in front of your belligerent drunk uncle, unaware of how angry his daughters, mother and niece are with him showing up 8 hrs late to see them
And they still shake his hand
May you find a lover so wonderful
They take you out for Dessert at the end of the night just because
And holds your hand in the car when driving home
May you find a lover so wonderful
They speak to you in your native language and you laugh so loud all the neighbors from side to side and floor to floor hear you
And you begin taking classes in their native tongue
May you find a lover so wonderful
Every night is pie night
And every morning has your cup full of the freshest tea
May you find a lover so wonderful
Your grandma gifts him navajo pinions
But they still pay her for the effort she took to pick, transport and cook them
May you find a lover so wonderful
You can live a poem like this while laying in their bed waiting for them to come home

Koa Beck

Koa BeckPNG

September 28th, 2018 (5:30PM) Koa Beck will be speaking at Mills College 🙂

Mills alumnae Koa Beck is the editor-in-chief of Jezebel. Beck’s literary criticism and reporting on gender, LGBTQ rights, culture, and race have appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Observer, The Guardian, Esquire, Vogue, and Marie Claire. Her short stories have been published in Slice, Kalyani Magazine, and Apogee Journal. Beck is the former executive editor of and the former senior features editor at Marie Her writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and she serves on the board of directors of Nat.But, an art and literary magazine.




First task as a Graduate grrrl

Your girl made her first flyer as an MFA grad grrrl. Be sure to follow @mills_mfa_lit (Instagram and Facebook page) to follow some of the cool stuff our program will be doing/hosting poetry/prose/literature wise. XOXO- Amber #bayarea#MFA#grad#grrrl

For our first Contemporary Writers Series for the fall, Tommy Pico will sharing some of his amazing writing with us September 11th , 2018 in the Mills Hall living room at 5:30. Refreshments and yummy snacks will be provided as well. Stop by to hear some fresh, witty poetry from the lens of this talented Native poet. #Millscollege#MFA#creativewritingprogram#poetry#prose#MA#literature#contemporarywritersseries#millshall#livingroom

Tommy Pico’s critically acclaimed books of poetry include IRL and Nature Poem. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now lives in Brooklyn where he co-curates the reading series Poets With Attitude (PWA) with Morgan Parker, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot, and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub. Pico’s many honors include a Whiting Award and fellowships with Lambda Literary, Queer/Arts/Mentors, and New York Foundation for the Arts.

♥Adolescents- Amoeba♥

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