ethnopoetics poems

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I don't care if you're married, I'll still get you,
I'll get you yet.

I don't care if you're married sixteen times,
I'll get you yet.

When the dance is over, sweetheart,
I will take you home in my one-eyed Ford.


If you really love me honey, hey-yah.
If you really love me honey, hey-yah.
Come back, come back if you really love me honey.

I'm from Oklahoma, far away from my home,
Down here looking for you.
If you'll be my honey, I will be your sugarpie.

I'm from Carnegie, so far away from my home,
Down here looking for you.
If you'll be my snag, I'll be your snag-a-roo.


You know that I love you, sweetheart, but every time I come around
You always say you got another one.
You know damn good and well that I love you.

To heck with your ole man.
Come up and see me sometime.


She said she don't love me anymore because I drink whiskey,
I don't care, I got a better one.


A popular form of contemporary Indian lyric, "49" songs show up throughout the States "at powwows and other social gatherings, usually late in the evening after other types of dances and songs are completed." The origin of the name has been various explained, in Alan R. Velie's version, as derived from a burlesque show of the 1920s that toured Kiowa country with a California gold rush theme & the repeated refrain, "See the girls of '49, see the '49 girls." Applied to Kiowa women who were singing semitraditional "war-journey songs" with transformed lyrics, the name (so they say) stuck & passed into the pan-Indian culture. "In singing '49' songs" – writes Velie – "the singers chant a nonverbal refrain to an accompanying drum beat. After an extended period of chanting, they sing the short lyric once, either in Kiowa or in English." The words of the present versions are the original English – a good example of how a feeling for the "luminous detail" & for the ironies of language & behavior can be brought into an altered context. It should be noted, however, that the songs presented here as texts aren't identical to those presented on the accompanying recording.

SOURCE FOR THE TEXTS: Alan R. Velie, American Indian Literature: An Anthology, University of Oklahoma Press, 1979, pages 176-179.

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