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Three Poems by Jay "Red Owl" Kuhns




By Jay "Red Owl" Kuhns


Blue Period


I hear my feelings

In notes

In song

Through colors painting

Faded blues

Ending outlining

Period sound

Within those notes

I searched for you

I too wish to paint

Green clouds

In a heathered sun

White blades of grass

Dashed in violet highlights

Bound behind

A red oxide sky

Uneasy rhythms

Flatly trebled notes

Crying my heart hurts

And I don’t know why



Magnolia Tree


Little gaps of blue

Escape beneath the magnolia leaf

The oranges opposing the greens

In a daring gasp for light

From gentle reflections a shadowy decay

The limbs of their chest rise

Exhale blooming hues

Set to fall and escape

Whisked into the river

Begging for a shallower grave





From That Thus Remains


Poe slept, room 13

Gambling in spirits

Enshrined the decay after fame

Where we honor the man with the largest dollar

A ravel in the midst of the beggar that wobbles sober

On the grass that deer grazed to prey

We erected buildings and lined them with slate

The dirt given by the divine Great Spirt and in God’s son’s name stripped away

Back laced in bullets then tilled enslaved

Worship the writings that were never made

This land was once holy

Unintended to be the sewer for the blood chained to drain

The land was sacred

Peeking through every crack of those bricks you laid

We still thank the Great Spirit for all that has been taken

And for the little that has been taken

And for the little that remains



Jay “Red Owl” Kuhns is a member of the Mattaponi Indian Tribe. He is a single parent of two children. He toured in a punk rock band, visiting forty-seven states and fourteen countries. He attended Central Virginia Community College for Liberal Arts before transferring to the University of Virginia.

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