Linda Ravenswood


Linda Ravenswood is a Poet and Performance artist from Los Angeles. Her work aims towards inquiry and uncovering, holding memory, history, place and lineage as meaningful, and available markers. She was short listed for Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, 2017. 

She is the Founding director of Culture Bear, a feminist reportage front; the Founder of The S1X 2 M1DN1GHT Performance Collective; and a Founding member of The Melrose Poetry Bureau. She is a fellow at The Women’s Centre for Creative Work (2016 - 2017)

Linda Ravenswood is NDN / First Nation, (Pokanoket, Wampanoag) and a Mayflower descendant on her mother’s side, and an Indigenous Mestizaje from Baja California Sur on her father’s side. She was raised in Los Angeles by Jewish Holocaust survivors from WWII.  

The refugees come like monarchs  …...


The soft bigotry of low expectation, sit down back there, you’re dead, in swaddling, hasta los huesos, you are of subtlest shadows, shhhhhhh 


we are standing in our night gowns,

with parkas on, holding suitcases and bags. 

i re+member


refugees come like


our packs and crowns, 

toes in desert silt,

a bone, a ragged bit, a jaw, a cup, my people

we are here and home and gone, 

with winds round our frames

to bless

the pilgrimage, our


women with a two hand pat means food, 

a two hand clap breeds our flat and filling meal, 

flat song, teeth smiling, extruding corn meal;

across ocean, tortuga belly

full of vegetables, dipping down

the hand made corn scoop, 

the simmering flesh,

the best meal you ever had

as sand kicks up its lashes

for grit. 

being Latinx means all this is yours,

the golden singing to the black

crepe night, stars our microphones and mirrors.  

i walk this desert

i talk out of the side of my mouth

it’s not cowardice

it’s passing


i broke my teeth,

as is our tradition


​i b​roke them and put them to the wind

out behind the break away taverns

where my fathers fathers father

made his diploma in mud

i cupped them in my hand

and show'd them to the ox cart before i threw them — ​

​broken upturned wood slat​

my only witness


         she’s so beautiful, my legs are tight

         i want, want to kiss her,

         does my mouth smell good,

         i want, i’m starving


when it was truth that the teeth were gone

and would never come back

i raced home to the slag heap to tell the pack


Four were filing down their studs,

and helpers folded in around them, too

in the shifting hierarchy 

I sat on the edge of the cot

and ran my tongue o v e r  the brackles

where my teeth once piled in

Our tradition makes us strong

and those beyond the night forest fear our bristle faces 

in torch light when they try

the border land. 

Some times all you have is the fear you

put to another —

The fierce mask

in the t o r c h f i r e

that makes them retreat


                           I am looking out,

                  Out as far as going is,

                  to an across place


where we might Be,

where place is made to hold

and be held


What seems to be a chosen path


a feathery pile of sticks

in the shadow of a hill; 

What seems to be decision,

looms like the falling

last lope of a cardinal over a lake,


and is disappeared forever;

what seems to be choice among red jewels

is only sand

brushed from hands

after a long afternoon

in blue water


The turbine vent spins,

its silver blades flashing in wind, a grey scale zoetrop  e


This is truth that cannot be doubted. 

Say it so:






Svaha ….



gone over

gone fully over


So be it



no thing --

including human existence -- 

nothing possesses ultimate substance,

which means

no thing is permanent


no thing is apart from all things else 


           i remember my home


No born, no die

No pure, no stain

no increase, no decrease.

no body,

no thought,

no eyes, no ears

no nose, no tongue

no touch, no imagining   


no dumb brain,

no end of dumb brain.

no old, no death

no ouch, no whatfor ouch

no path

no wisdom, no end 


        But look ….  water  ….everywher  e


When i think about mother

Which seems to roll around every breath

Like a ponderous yet invisible hand,

I remember how she is,

with her happiness, her suffocation,


And I smoothe down my longing

And reside in one piece

in one place

the deep peace of evening


even this camp


i am not a satellite

i am not tethered by a string

i still have my ...


            i still have my ...



i still have my ...

my …


            i still have me...


Oh my brother, the wind blows! 


           i still have my ...

           my …


We are the replacement people


See your mother’s crepey arms? 

These will be yours too,

if you’re lucky enough tobe old

when the rest were swallow’d by a mountain. 

If you are lucky enough

you will be the face of hatchet marks,

Bend low with quaking awe. 


We are the replacement people


on the streets they walked,

quick stepping to their work,

we see their shadows i

n black and white film,

quick steps on wide avenues

long skirts, hats on heads

same sun, same planet, same water

same sky,

closed system, closed system,

do you understand ? 


           Water ………. everywhere



           and dust

© The Acentos Review 2017