‘God Must Be an Indian’ by Billy-Ray Belcourt

Billy-Ray Belcourt (he/him) is a writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation. The above poem was snatched from the essential Survivance zine created by Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D., and R.I.S.E. (Radical Indigenous Survivance and Empowerment).

The work available in this series is vibrant, illuminating and broadly necessary. Please support their projects.

One bit of vocab to spotlight here: KOOKUM, I believe, is a Cree word for grandmother.

inversion* of “Sexualizing Picasso on the Cross”


Codger, old maid or bone-dry instep, a stagnant silence over cloud
Interior remains sneaking under—yes, me, yes, my polite
Infertility—uncooked acedia, never invulnerable frost
Protects a circle-bare sky or dank reverie of useless yttrium
Yields free under these asses, cool, must remain.


*here, an inversion is a poetic exercise in which one takes a poem (or some portion of a poem) and reforms each word, image or concept into an opposite. so, plainly, black may become white, water morphs into a photograph, or (in the above example) brimstone transubstantiates by way of the mirror to scaly, despairing yttrium, and so on. one must strip away the limits of reason: black does not need to become white, etc. there is no 1:1 relationship in the practice, and, frankly, anything goes: the platypus has no pure opposite. to apply an inversion on a word is usually a trifle, a line can be more difficult. still harder, a stanza or an entire poem as singular unit for reform. one should first thoroughly grasp connotation, denotation, implication, tone, musicality, color, volume, breath, etc., before one is able to charge ahead. the inversion is particularly helpful as an exercise to help break through writer’s block.

above, is an inversion of a work in progress called “Sexualizing Picasso on the Cross”

Wikipedia Poem, No. 62; Netanyahu 1

“That the battle but lose mountry, over infortunity.”


Netanyahu 1

     only disagreedom 
for a 
      wreat these neight 
-- the in the all threates of 
  challery, man 
       someone the regime, 
especial momen, 
than to war. 
      That the battle but lose mountry, over infortunity.

  Just nuclear Hormuz, that break-out a 
   concession to provided vitals, Baghdad, 
     Damas to walk away 
friend on 
         We must 
and a while it will always a 
  and the futured on is 
not story, 
   Secret the 190,000 centrifuges, include 
tween a 
broke to inspectors.

But unfortunity.
   If all that Israel, 
it's who do just 
be know-how dangerous appen.
We can't exactly 
from have