1-Strange This Path I Follow
2-Aisles of History
3-Box of My Mind
4-Old Man to his Grandson
5-Bear Image
6-Afternoon in the Park
7-Day to Play Inside
8-Fish Suntan
9-Boys in the Kitchen
10-Storm of Cows

Strange This Path I Follow

The sun sank, suffocating-ly
Towards Earth
The untouched path
Turned quickly cold

Until dusk I am alert
To jagged edges of moss
Covered rocks, to a white water
Stream, to a fallen tree I use
To cross over its current

Once dark, I stand
Hesitant, yet urged, forced
Forward on this untraveled path
Obscured in blacks and grays

I stumble into dark
Forest fingers, spindly, prickly
Wicked, pull and stretch my brain
Twisting my dreams

I run, trip, fall and tear
Ruts in pale hide, then crawl
Rose red droplets fling
Upon dry, golden yellow leaves

I progress not quickly enough
I hide, not well enough
A heavy dark hand shoves my face
Under water, breathing on pause

Distortion, disfigured images
Wide-mouthed shadows
Eye of solid doom, filled
Fiery red with evil

Standing over myself, observing
I rise from the waters
Angelic forms grasp
My arms, pull me

To my feet, I sense
The end, but its prophecy
Has weakened, held
Back by greater spirits

I stumble on till morning
When I stir awake, only
To walk the path again

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Aisles of History

Watch history pass by
In these aisles of relic
Old musty pleasures breathe
Life into forgotten
Memories, a black cast

Iron pot cooks a steamy
Beef and carrot stew, an oak
Table still stands strong
Like the one I ate upon
As a child, our mother left

To pick berries for pie
She carried a wooden pail
Like this, I remember
The saw blades, the mill
And dad, he killed himself

Trying to make the town
People happy, when we left
I remember how that old wagon
Wheel, just like this one
Turned and carried us away

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Box of my Mind

Deep inside the dark depths
Of an old wooden box
Lies the wrinkled yellowish form
Of a letter from my brother
I read it again
Suddenly, the dryness of the old
Box sucked a drop of moisture
From a somewhat dampened eye

I hear a bouncy jingle
And out jumps a puppy
Sized collar chain that
Fit the black neck of my
Water and road loving
Labrador, it danced about
My fingers a bit, then
I put it down

A shimmer of light caught
My eye from deep inside
The box, on the bottom lie
A mirror, I looked into It

reflected a wrinkle
On an old man's face
That slowly smoothed Itself out

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Old Man to his Grandson

See these people pushing their noses
Around velvet cushioned offices
Piling bricks atop heads
Till their hair turns a silvery white
Their faces wrinkled, withered
It's embarrassing, it's disgusting
The old man said
It's bad enough to start life
In a place like that, but
To end it there, too
The faded wood rocking chair
Creaked along with his voice
I should have got out, before
I even stepped in, that my Grandson
Was my first and biggest mistake

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Bear Image

Soft fur and big brown eyes
I could be adorable and fun
To play with if I were a toy
But don't be deceived
I can grow tall on back paws
And stop the sun
From shining on you
One mass of meat and claw
Could rip your body
To shreds, but I probably wouldn't
Unless you got between me
And my cub, or my dinner
Or if you hurt me
So do not scare
Only beware, my wild
Won't mix with your civilized

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Afternoon in the Park

Mommy, look at me
I see you sunshine
Look how high I am getting
I see, I see

This breeze that blows
Upon me, cooling me
From this steamy sauna
Rising from the sand
Pits below, I am lulled

Mommy, what are we going
To go on next

From this park bench
I sit and rock
With little effort, my eyelids close
To fend off the sun

Mommy, I am going
To the Merry-go-round
You go, Honey I'll be
Right there . . .

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Day to Play Inside

Vast fields of green
Wheat in the morning
Wet the blond hair
Of a little boy tumbling
We await the sun
He yells with a hand
To his ear, but no echo
Reports from the rolling
Hills, the air too thick
With mist, the clouds hanging
Low with rain
The boy stairs dismayingly
Towards his house
At the bottom of the hill
Smoke rises idly
Out its red brick chimney
The boy is aware
That on days like today
Wide open green fields left
Behind for carpeted cages

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Fish Suntan

A fish sat sunning
On the edge of a hole
In the ice, it watched
As a human wrestled frantically
With its pants in a haste
To relieve itself
It also saw one flip
Like a fish, little
Did it know about ice
Strange these cold days
And these square boxes
That sit like me on the ice
And every so often, a noise
Bursts into our depths
Our homes, soon after
Little stubby worms stretch
Out in the cold waters, stay
Away from them
What's left is tiny holes
An escape, it seems
Only sane that a fish rise
Up the hole to sit upon
The ice and sun itself

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Boys in the Kitchen

Hey dear Mama
Whatch-ya cook'n on that stove

It's refried beans from yesterday
And boiled potatoes I dug

from their graves
It seems your sis ain't set the table
Think you boys could bring in the save

Pa'll be coming home
And he gonna be hungry

Don't forget the bacon fat
And don't forget the butter
Forks go on the left side
And don't smart off to your mother

Danc'n round the table
We set them one by one
Just because we're able
We have to get it done

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Storm of Cows

Sloppy snouts nuzzle
Insides of fence
Snot slithers down board
And aged fence poles

Settle now, settle down
Man with pitchfork commands

Crack! . . . Crack! Lightning flash
Splashes off backs of black
Basket cases, hooves smash
Into muddy ground, frantic

Whoa, easy now
The manure man demands

Nasal humphing bodies ignore
Continue to bash the old
Splintered wood that surrounds
Weakening it with each blow

Man with made up mind
Makes for cover
Control over beast as ridiculous
As control over storm

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1-Walking to CNN
2-Arizona Highway
4-Cold Steel
5-Ten PM Train
6-Snow and Wind
7-Gray Ghost
8-From Under the Stone
9-Lost Brother's Mirage
11-An offering
12-Walking the Plank
13-Gray Daze
14-Fire Barrel
15-Peace in Full Circles
17-Lost in Flaming Thunder
18-Eyes Out in the Jungle
19-Searching for Tribal Spirits
20-Last Request

Walking to CNN

As I walked down Third Avenue
This man came up to me
Face beaten by cement
Eyes still glowing cheap cherry wine
And he said
Anybody got a quarter
Gotta get me a cup of coffee
My sleeping bag's getting ragged
Didn't get no sleep last night
What's a matter, no one talk to me

As I reached into my pocket
I gazed at the buttercups in the boulevard
Atop the bed lay a man sleeping
Around the corner, tight to the wall,

Lay another
Here sir, I called him sir
I flipped him a quarter
Then hurried up the street

Suddenly across the way
From a parking lot echoed
Hey you, hold it right there
Tight to the cold metal of a Cadillac
I quivered, peeping over the ornament
I watched two men wrestle another
.357 pointed to the sky
Another man watched from a van
Looking to my front and rear
I moved out, making sure not to run
Didn't want them to think I was involved

Off to CNN, its flags and windows
I walked past the theater and small shops
Then sat on a bench next to an exotic
Island tree where I watched what I thought
Was routine, suit coats enjoying ice cream
Their ties teasing up to the chocolate

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Arizona Highway

Eyes dry, gaze
Upon yellow blooms amidst
The trail, in a trance

An image catches me
Off guard, I veer sharply
Gravel spitting, red-tailed hawk
Swooshing, Kangaroo rat

Into hole, vast desert land
Alive, solitude creatures
Capture your miles

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A green man with horn
Hat slaps hands with worlds greatest
Grandmother as knick knacks tap
Dance a bad weather ritual

From under sill, sharp edge of
Glass lips whistle, nearby
Umbrellas drum against tin
Cylinder, echo the cat's meow

Old lady rushes into room
Door swinging, finger pointing
I heard you in here, quit playing
Games with my mind

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Cold Steel

Rain pours on
Naked rails trailing
Irritated train shivers
Shrugs off dew, bitter
For leaving depot

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Ten PM Train

Two story window, where I watch
Edge of town, elbows on sill, chin in palms
Pair of bronze snakes slither

Past gray stone factory

Into country grasses

A solemn sky steals another summer
Sunset, silence
Sparks mark a shadowed path

Cyclops breaks free

From steamy darkness
With an armored coat of steel, he leads
An army of countless giants who stagger
Behind, heading back east from the war
With western civilization, battered
Not beaten

And after they pass, the backs of bronze
Snakes are stiff, sore

Tense is the air till finally

A gray beard appears
Lies next to, caresses their aching backs
With blackberry breath, calming them
Till once again the night becomes quiet

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Snow and Wind

My eyes march nude
In the storm, bravely facing
Wind, crystal and leather whips
Beat upon me until blood
Mixes with salty tears

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Gray Ghost

A twig snapped, my head
Twisted to see a lone gray form
Like dead of winter, step cautiously

From evergreen cover, its damp

charcoal nose
Rose parallel with poplar, feeling

The upwind breeze

Burn deep into its senses

Snow-tipped ears cupped, as obsidian
Eyes pierced every mossy pine stump
Rocky ledge and falling snowflake

The white blanket grew, packing leather
Against frosty feet and blurring the glass
Eyes that brought me closer

I blinked to melt the ice
From my eyelids, only to see the gray
Ghost of winter had disappeared

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From Under the Stone

Sulking clouds cry
A weighty mist, dampen the coal
Colored cloak covering loose, delicate
Skin over bone

Fall, falling
Into the grave
One half a union
Has fallen under the stone

Lone woman weeps quietly
Wipes away the covering leaves
Watches her fingers rub
At the etched name that remains

The wind whips at her strands
And streaks of brown and gray
Twisting them wildly, but then
Whispers softly to her withered ears

When you hear the flutes
Mix with one beating drum
And the sun is cast behind the moon
The old man will be waiting, for the Earth
Has set you free

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Lost Brother's Mirage

A young boy slings mud
At the mirror, his face
Another boy stands silent
On the other side, protected

Running through wet fields
Of corn, the world stands taller
Than I, but I have left my mark
The other boy's shoes are dry
White, untouched
Don't leave a print

In the end
I will enter the mirror
Hold his hand and walk
Together, we will not reflect
On the years we have walked alone

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Your eyes
Speak to me of plows
In the fields, wild horses
Looking West to the prairie
Grab us a bottle and we'll sit
Behind the stable, weaving
In lost memories
Remember who you are
Bony wheelchair legs
That once walked thirty acres
Twice a day, to prune the crops
And hands that grandma folds

In your lap, where the sick calf
Once lay while you nursed it
I wish I'd been there the day
To ready your saddle
When you had wanted to say

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an offering

tell me
i must conform
to human morality

hang my feet high
sliced throat bleeds

take back your ideas
from my rotting mind
a gift from you

eyes stare at my corpse
its decay, its return
to Earth, peace unending

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Walking the plank

Cautious steps, I thought, ironically
For one who's walking to the end

Of his plank, like slippery serpents
Entangling my feet, tell me now, not to look
Down, I don't care, I'm stepping
Free, ocean waters, drowning
My thoughts, I knelt to feel the coarse
Grim reality of the board, then stood
Pointing towards the waters, I exclaimed
Look at all the people swimming
Up to meet me, then I stepped graciously
Off the end

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Gray Daze

Brisk winds broaden my pace
Upon brittle leaves, breaking
To tiny pieces, as I hurry home
From work

Of nothing I wonder, blind
To my surroundings, deaf
To the world, and to most
I might as well be dead

Home is gray, enclosed
Quiet and lonesome, why
Should I be in such a rush
To climb into my casket

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Fire barrel

Hey young man
Toss my body in the river
When the cracklen fire
Dies, weary, lonesome life

Spit in my bed
Suit men, make yourselves
At home, cardboard box
I sleep away the day

The barrel brings warm
Friendships together, suffering
From the cold, society
Notices, but

The coffee won't steam
Again tomorrow, I just rest
Pray that tonight's fire may be
My last

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Peace in Full Circles

Humbly ask Great Spirit
To balance Earth
Creatures, don't follow Wasichus'
Ecosystem, destroyed
By insane priorities

Look East our broken circle
Raise what pipe
Be left to mend
The nest, and save
Our children, one

Raven pair to watch
Over them

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Weary eye watches
Last fires burn
Acidic and polluted rains
Wash away emaciated soil
System vomit gurgles
Into waste pools of death

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Sun on Future Sands

Sky darkens its cherry base
Veins rise, expand
Bottled bodies boil, burst
Lines of blood shoot

Away from rivers
Tasting putrid, fish toss
Onto shores, trees
Bearing swords slice
Air thin to feed few

Faces, facing up
Burning, sands erode
Their identity, to disappear
With the wind traveling
Tumble weed

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Lost in Flaming Thunder

Cold blooded carbon dioxide scattering
Spark ignites flaming blue circle of lips

Speaking of hell, tongues lash out
At far places, things they think
They know, bodies hump packs of pain
Stumble towards the end, eyes stair

At distant skies where the red glow lasts
All day, from heaping volcanic pits, kindled

With shelves of witch hunt wisdom, pushed
By graters (clans of isms) across countries
All tumbling perilously into the fires, faces
Burn, identities lost to the flaming

Blue thunder

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Eyes Out in the Jungle

Blow jungle dust
Upon beaten barren land
Into its face, into its eyes
Envision the cries

Gather hope
Watch the greens speak
For themselves, a great return
The new medicine will make them dance

And in our end, a call will echo
Sacred shaft of clear rivers
Will stir the thunder
And shake free the dead

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Searching for Tribal Spirits

The chant of Autumn's shadow calls
To the persistent and nomadic Winter
Son, wrapped in buffalo hide, ceremonial
Feathers twist, lie down amidst
Towering red pine and tips of snow
Birch, like a gray fog covering the forest

The wolf pelt protects

Red and yellow beads
Woven into long, black braids, its wild eyes
And trail instincts lead the reigns
Down sloping valleys as nostrils flare
And streams of moisture spew, reflecting
Off the white ripples of the frozen river

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Last Request

Rock, high upon mountain
I sit, breathe
In last signs of freedom

Eyes still, I blow out
Smoke, swirling in wide bronze valleys
Then slowly tasting the skies, it is delivered

Strength from Great Spirit, I humbly ask
For the eternal hunt, unspoiled lands, Spring
In my blood, and peace – for my children

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1-Crudely Boarded Windows
2-Upon the Back of a Little Bird
3-Shortcut Thru the Bayou
4-Sweet Mammy's Blues
5-Lonely Windmill Moans
7-From Inside the Cage
8-Footprints on Earth
9-In the Beginning
10-Head'n Home
11-Dream of Yesterday
12-I will return
13-Dakotah Conflict
14-Small Circles
15-Brother Eagle
16-Native American Woman Breathes
17-Young Warrior Remembered
18-Daddy Knew Johnny Cash
19-End of the Burning Fire

Crudely Boarded Up Window

We who live slight, barely
Visible moon in murky fog
Ludicrous lives, broken
Window, years of pigeon droppings
Creaking necks, missing
Arm, wake up
Mass of wings whip
Disturb painted hair, red
Like blood, brown, black
Blond, aged newspaper
November 1926, 36 or 96, read
By naked manikin with pelican
Feather in hat, lost the thought
When railway car rattled through
Graffiti on cement
City, did it matter, third story
Apartment door open, one large
Room, empty except dirt
On the floor, light from one
Crudely boarded up window

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Upon the Back of a Little Bird

Love can be spoken
In many ways
It can sometimes be noted
As a character of passion
It can sometimes be seen
As a picture of caring
The feeling is known to swell
And at other times, it may bleed
From the heart
It is also known to get lost
We must cherish its presence
As if it were
A star to swim to
Where peace and happiness rest
In harmony
Never shall we ruin
Love that may come in small tides
Love that may
Mix with the sunset
And become a dream
For reality in its fulfilled state
Will appear with the dawn
And leave again with the dusk
Clambering away awkwardly
Though in silence
Filling its vast doom
But we will not see it
As that, or shall we
We do, but the words are whispered
I love you
And they will remain in the mind forever
You will not lose something
That will never leave you
The body whole being insignificant
Its pleasures in the haze of our memory
Remember not the blue
Heart, but see the blue skies
And mountains that you will be carried
Further into bliss, into eternity
When the little bird
Has finally flew, taking you with
It is how life moves
With every step
Brings death, or life anew

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Shortcut Through the Bayou

Riding bike through the bayou
I followed the thin gravel road
Where I was told not to go

Around the bend, stood a man
Dressed in black, his white sterile house
Filling the background

I peddled, not passing fast enough
To miss his one raised finger
Curled lips, stern twitching eye

He breathed out slowly, cursing
The path I followed, it ended
At the river

I dumped my bike in the muddy
Side waters, and ran along the flats
Then I noticed people

They were hovering, I thought
Hiding underneath the river

Startled, I crawled up the side
And found myself
Standing in a field of yellow roses

In the distance, a church
I found myself lured
To its bedrock steps, open door

I stepped in to see
People in pews, kissing
Swaying, and singing

We are to be free, oh spirits
Take us to our place. I frowned
And turned to the man next to me

His face was pinched tight
I wondered what shortcut
He had taken to get here

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Sweet Mammy's Blues

Oh sweet Mammy blue
Pass the teardrops please
We're all hungry
To take some of that pain
Away from you

Its early morning
We kids see Mammy is stuck
In that nightmare residue
When we gather round the table
To our say our daily prayer

Lord make this day
A better one
And with your help
Take away the loneliness
Of sweet Mammy's blues

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Lonely Windmill Moans

In valley low, old windmill
Moans lonely words
Spinning them into song

Whispering prairie
Grasses weep, softly
Sing along

About a long, long trail
Leading West, of days
Past, of persistence

Hopes and dreams
For a new life, in death
It took its toll

To find home
In a land so vast, sky
Touching the Earth

Breathe in air, deeply
From top of hillside
And see, soil so pure

Human hand, metal tools
Oxen, black topsoil
Sowed to cure

Starvation of family
Living in beauty, era
Of exploration

Years it took
Father overlooked evil
In simple realization

Nature at her will, her fire
Her heat, icy nights to meet
Grasshoppers to eat

Beat down aspirations
Every ounce of living, but
They never accepted defeat

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A distant light flickers, twists
Through darkness, like autumn leaves
Dancing, I see shadows
Silent at a distance

It bravely fends off darkness
Until yip of coyote overpowers
Personal barriers, two bodies
Crowd closer to campfire

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From Inside the Cage

Tripped upon a distant land
While dreaming
Last night, a bright moon
Massaged the landscape
Around me, animals were free
So were trees and grasses
I breathed

In a world that was simple
Yes, I had to fetch water
From a clear, cold creek
But it was clean, refreshing
Yes, I had to depend on instincts
To hunt, fish and gather
But it made my senses rich
Yes, I had to build a fire
To cook, to keep warm
But it was the root of living
And it was beautiful

It was a place where giving
Was as important as receiving
Where acceptance meant sharing
And denial was a form of sacrifice

Under the eye of one Great Spirit
Considered sacred
Not separated by individuality
By those offering purer grace

This dream, an unconscious upheaval
Of reality, today's society
Where all the living, live and love
From inside the cage

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Footprints on Earth

Lone one, don't hold
Your words sanctuary
From listening ears

Reach forth with aged oak
Mind, strength in shadows
Overcome fears of mist

Let your fingers bleed
Truth, as they gather
Eyes to follow

Create an Earth vision
Of peace on black hills
Sand porches, grassy

Where sky blue rains wash
Out barb wired fences, glass
Windows, set free the buffalo
To roam

Prints of hooves on prairie
Floor, of deer in woods
And wolves to keep
The cycle healthy

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In the beginning

Deep blue eyed forest
I seek secrets
Of barefoot on decay
Renewal, what dream
Bore a spiritual society
Encompassed in faith
On Earth
Where love bonded
Like roots to fertile soil
Where honesty was pure
Not to be taken
For granted, but worn
As a skin adorned, sacred

Deep inside your eyes, you speak
A language my mind is not
It is of a beginning
Of a circle
Which is blind to I
A scarred victim
Of this latter style
Of life

I seek a return
Of the cycle
Even if I carry the form
Of another of my mother's
Fruits, be it
A rock or a tree
Or the form of my brothers
Or sisters, the Eagle, the buffalo
The turtle or the wolf

Touch me spirit of dark forest
With the vision to find
The great return, lead me
Out of eternal decay

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Head'n Home

Eyes follow
Trail of blood, cedar scented
Path of sun, find white dusted coals
Of past fires, Great Spirit I ask of you
Reach deep into dark Earth
Where souls are sleeping
And set aside a place
For our eternity

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Dream of Yesterday

Where Balsam branches and cedars
Twist into a thick silence
I seek a peaceful place to sit
In pine needles

Cushioned by swamp bog
I feel comfort in the open arms
Of our mother, Earth
My head is clear for the moment

My eyes close
As I quietly daydream
And await a vision
But then

Waste, pillage, rape and murder
Enter my mind, devastation
Of peoples, growth of unnatural
Society, shaken violently

I wake to thunder
Rolling deep inside me

It is not empty, my heart
For it still cares
And I grasp at it wildly, wishing
I could take it out, see it, believe

But I don't want it to be real
I want to wake

It would be yesterday
By many years, my path
Would be simple and honest

I could leave the swamp
Enter into open skies
A healthy land, proudly

Out there I know it is not well
StillI I must go, leave
My protected womb, bravely
And deal with it

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I Will Return

I will return
To Earth, my flesh
Will burn

Spirit and sacred willow
Smoke rising
In its turn

To the sky, to land
Remembered, to live
What I did not learn

On a soil, spoiled
By pain, lack of civility, a life
One doesn't yearn

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Dakotah Conflict

In 1862, a disturbed wind
Blew, dark clouds cried
Names of 38 victims
Hung for crimes
America committed

Brave chiefs, warriors counseled
Spoke of a people who take
The fat, who will overwhelm
The Earth, arriving from the East
Like a locust cloud, thick
As snow falling
In a storm

What broken treaty are we
To sign next, they asked
That forces us to give up
Our land, what lie or law
Shall be passed
That herds our people
Like cattle

Expectations of a phony life
Execution of tradition
A firing line, dying
In prison overpopulation

We are to sit back
Watch starvation overcome
Truth in white promises

We are to be peaceful
In the arms of a tomorrow
That we know will never arrive

We are to lie down and die
Submit to another extermination
Alongside the land, buffalo

War is no answer
Only a way out of this corner
You have backed us into

To the hills and the trees
By the word of the drum, and spirits
We go to regroup
Come out fighting

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Small Circles

High ridge, fading sun
Composes crimson symphony
On rock pages
Lone cedar listens to Eagle
Feather coming to rest
On jutting edge

To watch over prairie
Fire illuminates small circle of Earth
Tone faces, weathered, but alive
As smoke from Sacred Pipe seeps
Upward, beyond snow capped heights
To speak of this brotherhood
In Nature's own true words

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Brother Eagle

High above shadows
Of clouds, Eagle, you soar closest
To our Grandfather, Creator
Great Spirit

Like wisp of smoke
From sweet grass and red dogwood
Smoke from Sacred Pipe
You float upwards into blue skies
"Wakan," symbol of the winged

I seek encouragement brother Eagle
With my thoughts, prayers
In my fast for vision
What path have I been given
By "Wakan-Tanka"

I sit within the womb
Of Mother Earth, comforted
Only by thoughts
If creation bleeds
I bleed also
If the rock, buffalo or tree
I breathe also

We cannot bleed or breathe
As individuals
For we are as one

But, as I sit
I watch two seedlings grow
And wonder why there is individuality

Why does one begin to wilt
While the other flourishes
Should they not prosper equally

By the Creator's hand
What is this shade
That overcomes one

Is it destiny
Shall one be weaker
And eventually die
To allow the other to become stronger

Shall I die in the face of the future
So my brothers and sisters
Old or new, may be stronger

If so, I believe I shall
For if that is the path
I have been given
That is the red road
I will travel

Why is there so much question
In my heart and mind
If the answer has already been spoken

I should be proud for fulfilling
My purpose, and be happy
But I still don't see, blind
I am to my true path

Shall I give of myself
Or should I continue to grow
In order to guide others

That is what I seek, brother Eagle
Can you hear words of Great Spirit
That I cannot

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Native American Woman Breathes

There she stands, alone
Breath of Great Spirit blowing
Her hair in a dance
Tribute to the beauty
Of a nation

Dark features resemble the Sun
Upon Mother Earth, high
Cheek bones mark advantages
Of high ridges where one may look
Upon all Mother's children
Or look up, speak freely
To our Creator

A lone Eagle feather
Braided in long black hair
Adds to the distinctively marked
Root stained doe skin robe, representing
The pride she holds in her heart
For a nation she honors

Voice, soft and tender, like wind
In the trees or waves
Helps calm children, shows sincerity
Speaks chosen words
Which make claim to survival
Of a nation
Equality between humanity and Nature

Moccasin footsteps, firm but gentle, yield
To the Earth, are placed in such a way
As to speak direction without verbal

This woman is brave, yet quiet
Strong, yet tender, womanly
Eager for dreams of peace
And always keeping the spiritual
Circle mended

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Young Warrior Remembered

Trail in prairie grass, blood
Red in the moonlight's reflection
Led my eyes to another time

Dust devils whirled briefly
Near buffalo skeletal remains, empty
Eye sockets stared at rocky ridges
Inhabited by warrior spirits

They remember a young brave
Coyote Ears, who led warriors into the valley
His pure white stallion sniffed
At strange air, alive as wind
Tensed up at a rustle of yellow sage

Into land of neighboring enemy
Village, center fire roaring, beating
Drums echoing battle songs
Cries of honor, dance

They did not hear the warriors
Until the hooves thundered through
Coyote Ears moved swiftly
Weaving, but while the rest passed
Through, he stopped

He leaned far off the horse
Straining to free the braided reins
Of their shades of autumn-tinted horses
And just before he met his end
The young warrior whooped at them
Driving them into the darkness
He drove them through the throat
Of the canyon, over seven hillsides
To change the sunrise, where the battle
Did not sneak up them

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Daddy knew Johnny Cash

When nine years old, I thought
My Daddy and Johnny Cash
Were best of friends

Every so often, we'd head
To this town near the city
Where Johnny Cash lived

As the front door to the house opened
I could hear the man in black singing
About his son, Sue, or trains
On the nearby track

Dad would shake his hand
And off he and Johnny would go
Mother and Johnny's wife would cheer
As Dad and Johnny would sing
About the Cadillac they built
With the 1953 transmission

We kids would head to the back yard
Where we'd walk the line of stumps
Bordering well, you guessed it
The ring of fire

This kind of thing happened every visit
To Johnny's place, so I guess
I just connected the pieces

Perhaps you can see why it's hard
To control that old wheel from spinning
Every time I hear Johnny's songs
I think back to my Dad and Johnny
And how good of friends they were

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End of the Burning Fire

An autumn eve, northern Minnesota
Brilliant flaming red maples, falling
Yellow aspen leaves, scent of lake

My father sat by a blazing fire
Circled close, elbow to elbow
Good friends laughed over memories
Old camps, good times to come

Mother was near, so was I
Close enough to be coaxed
Into getting Dad another beer
I was never happier

The fire blazed late
Laughs climaxed to yawns
The tired headed for tents, campers

Some more tired than others
Some so tired that life seemed distant
Dreamlike, and strangely complete

So complete, that my father found
It hard to wake up

Yes, life was good in those years
I loved it. I loved him. And I remember him
Every day when the sun wakes me
And when the fire of the moon puts me to bed

In memory of Howard Victorian,

3 September 1979

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