Dead Indians, embalmed with salt from unshed tears,
wait too patiently for the ghost dance drum beat.
I see them huddled in shadows when sun disappears
over the blood stained bluffs, where Custer met defeat.
The keening of slain children are what the wind hears
and amplifies to ripple the stubs of dry land wheat
tamed Sioux politely plant at the Little Big Horn
for baking white man's bread. Braves, now less despised,
hide two hundred and twenty six scalps and mourn
their dead in secret. Grandsons of those unrecognized,
still plot and plan when drunk on fermented corn,
full revenge for raids Custer considered civilized.
Native Americans, proud and secure, found
wet clay and with their strong hands made
food crockery. Made each bowl quite round,
predicting use for potter's wheel. Dawn displayed
it's radiance in perfect circles of gold
to orderly roll across a waiting sky.
A circular sun woke them and told
them rise. Circularity, they still deny,
never heeding their Sun God who rose to tell
them "make a wheel" for their clumsy Travois.
that gouged a tell tail trail. When felled
by sickness, they watched Clairvoyant.
Medicine men draw circles portraying
their World. Proud warriors, danced by
fires, as their squaws made arrows scraping
wood smooth and perfectly round, to fly straight.
Your fire-maker spun round and hot
propelled by circular force and campfires burned
to light and warm the night. Why did you not
see that bow string tool was a wheel that turned
motion into heat. Were that round shaft ovate
or square, it would ignite nothing. Squaws chose
round stones that rolled easy, despite their weight,
to move the fire's heat to boiling pits. White foes
had wheels that hauled away your gold,
and plowed your prairie to grow their wheat.
If you had watched how those hot stones rolled,
you might still have herds of buffalo to eat.
Your Squaw put roundness to work
which was a wheel you did not see.
You appeased the Invaders with gifts of turkey
and corn and curtsied so politely.
You saw those wheels and said No thanks!
When white man came, you faced his guns,
in your canoes instead of tanks
because you stayed the wheelless ones.
RUSTED RIFLES AND BROKEN BOWS
hide beneath drifting sage and shed dry tears
mourning their desertion by Redmen no one fears.
Savages grown soft on lard and pale white bread.
forgot the dance of their gone but noble dead.
Toothless and meek, they stumble home each night
to find drunk squaws they would rather fight.
Are these soft grandsons the white man's enemy
who bravely challenged the manifest destiny
of those who stole your land by two-faced ruse
and laugh at Indians now safely tamed by booze.
I SEE THEIR BONES
Coasting easily down the long rain shadow slant
of the mighty Rockies, toward the rising sun,
the endless eroded wasteland seems to pant
for rain. Bygone buffalo chips, their decay done,
still tease arrogant clumps of sagebrush to defy
thirst. In this barren land, millions of Bisons fed
lodged and heated the affluent and grateful Cheyenne
and Sioux citizens of their beloved meadow-
land nation. They saw no need to tap the less
fertile lower layers of furtive mineral prize.
Vast rivers from ancient melted glaciers coyly
seep toward nirvana. Ancient flora carbonize,
waiting for rebirth as smoke and cinders. Oily
graves of corpulent cadavers coalescing
to black gold, waiting to belch a deadly oxide
for a greedy, mechanized world. These blessings
bode beneath the barren bushes but bastioned hide
while white hordes bring guns to guard and feed the rail
builders who dug, fenced and drilled inspecting
the Earth Mother's belly for her hidden holy grail..
Pied Indians now fight only themselves, neglecting
to thank intruders for bad water, starvation
and decimating small pox. Brave warriors that fought
for their children are as dead as the Indian Nation,
white as bleached bison bones, embalmed by bourbon bought
from the Indian bureau's blasphemous padrones.
Beyond the southern sky-edge, the brown Big Horn
sometime floods, exposing bits of Custer's bones.
Brave and sober Sioux warriors rise up in scorn
from their hidden pyres to ride their dust devil steeds
through sleeping reservations, whooping war chants
to their drunk descendants and resigned half breeds,
shyly afraid to join in when ghost Warriors dance.