Unsafe topics, drolly explained

The good soldier Schweigman, also known as poet Luke Warm Water.

The good soldier Schweigman, also known as poet Luke Warm Water.

When you’re an Oglala Lakota slam poet and activist for indigenous people’s rights, and your birth name is Kurt Schweigman, you’ll probably need both a sense of humor and a nom de plume. Obviously Luke Warm Water, as he’s now known, has both.

That name’s an old joke from when he was a kid, and it’s proven rather apt for the wryly, darkly funny originator of works with such titles as John Wayne Shot Me, Dances with Winos and Iktomi and the Food Stamp Incident. Warm Water navigates the vicissitudes of urban native-American life with a trickster’s disposition. He is a wanderer between worlds, comfortably making the rounds at precious quarterly literary journals and international poetry slams alike. He is a man capable of poems like “Art of Huffing Paint,” with lines like “I had witnessed / too many brown faces with / silver and gold stained lips / not yet comprehending at that young age / this could have been my future.” And he is a man who, when asked if there are such things as poetry groupies, responds, “Yes, they are called ‘poopies.’ ”

And this Friday evening, at 7:30 p.m., he will present “Hope & Humor & Unsafe Topics,” an evening of poetry, at La Raza Galeria Posada, Sacramento’s oldest and most frequently relocated Chicano/Mexicano/Latino/indigenous cultural center, now residing comfortably at 1024 22nd Street (between K and J streets).

Warm Water may not be an easy act to follow, but there will be an open mic after his reading anyway. The recommended donation for these festivities is $5. Call (916) 456-5323 or visit www.escritoresdelnuevosol.com for more information.