10/22/20 | Snow came sooner than anyone expected. Sometimes the sky buries you, ready or not. * Sometimes construction crews arrive with out-of-state plates to flatten the slope of a gravel pit, where just last week your children learned they can eat milkweed pods, but only when they are tender…

I was raised by a single mother.

Though my parents weren’t divorced until I was twelve, my mom was always the one who took care of us. From the moment we were born she worried and worked nonstop for our well-being.

My dad taught us important things, including how to…

My body knows

how far to let a child run

before sprinting to catch up

before grabbing hold

It doesn’t matter

in the moment

of oncoming danger

if the child is not mine

If I do not know

to whom or where

the child belongs

The child’s name

or how…


“…I’m finally getting out back into the world
Life is good, I met me a girl
She got a beautiful heart, eyes are blue
I don’t hardly ever think about you…”*

Tell me where and when

Start a list to compare

All the places I’ve drowned

Where your rage was…

“… You know you came from it,

and one day you’ll return to it…” *


We called them bumper lickers

but they were just women

Thirsty women, but we knew them

as ‘Those dirty little bitches’

We’d find them at night

crawling on hands and knees

Kneeling behind the…

Following Amoke Kubat’s ‘Angry Black Woman & Well-Intentioned White Girl’ Tour.

Photo by Farrington Llewellyn of Amoke Kubat & Jennifer Johnson — performing in North Minneapolis with support form North Community Theater

Last night I sat with over 200 people in the auditorium at North Community High School in Minneapolis, while artist and elder Amoke Kubat performed a play she’s written — Angry Black Woman & Well-Intentioned White Girl — about her experiences with Minnesota Nice and racism.

Amoke’s main character —…

“I’m strong enough to hold you through the winter / Mean enough to stare your demons down / The hard times put the shine into the diamond / I won’t let that keep us in the ground”*


The first dream was fire.

We were in the pasture — a…

TESTIMONY — OPPOSING HF342 — March 27th, 2018*

My name is Shanai Matteson and I’m from a small town called Palisade, on the Mississippi River.

I was there early this morning, taking a walk with my two kids right where Enbridge wants to put their oil pipeline across the Willow…

“God made girls like you make guys like me / Wanna reach for the brightest star, set it on a ring / Put it on your hand, grab a piece of land / And raise a few / More girls like you.“*

We were born to circle the fire.


“ … May we all get to see those fields of green turn gold …Watch a marching band play with the harvest moon coming up … And know that fifteen minutes of fame, ain’t gonna be what makes us or breaks us but … We’ll all be watching the TV…

Shanai Matteson

art, ecology, care, community | rebel heart, wild life | artist & codirector of @waterbar_mpls | #servewater | slowly, slowly | mucking in >>> shanai.work

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