Sunday, September 29, 2013

Trail Of Tears

The American Bison, once spread across this land, as the sand on the beach. Those that say they know, estimate their number at over 60 million, once upon a time, that is.
They were wild and untameable, but they were food, shelter, and clothing to those who lived upon these lands.
By 1890, there were 750 left.
Today, there is a manageable number. They live on Ted Turner's ranch.
Manifest Destiny: we're here, it's here, so therefore, it must be ours.

When I was a boy, my Father never locked the doors. We were never robbed, but i suppose someone was.
When I was a boy, there were no seat belts. No law to buckle them. People either cut them off, or tucked them into the seats. I stood on the front seat, and if my father had to brake suddenly, he would use the arm bar. We were never killed, but I suppose someone was.
I would leave the house in early summer morning, to go find a ballgame, or ride my bike, or just find some soft grass to play in. I was five years old. I was never abducted or molested, but I'm sure someone was.
I remember my mother sending me to the store for cigarettes with just a note. The clerk never questioned it, but you can't do that anymore.
My father was the fire chief for forty years. When the bell rang, all the volunteers would bolt for the station and the first one there usually drove the fire truck. Most often, it was the least sober among them, as the local tavern was only a block away. The fires got put out, the truck never crashed, but I suppose, somewhere, one did.

The easiest way to destroy the humans who had been living on this land for ever and one day, was to take away their food, shelter, and clothing. When we couldn't kill the buffalo fast enough to appease our lust for gold and land, we tricked the natives themselves into killing them. It worked.

I used to like to fly. My dad would take me to the airport to watch the jets take off. Flying isn't fun anymore. Not with x-rays, strip search and the fear of some evil being slipping through and blowing you up.
And there were no armed guards in school, but of course, there were no drugs to give the kids back then for all the disorders we assign to them now. Funny, no one ever shot up schools back then.
Have you seen the cars pulled over on the freeway? Whole families just trying to get Little Rock, sitting in the ditch while a small platoon of policemen search their luggage.
It wasn't always like that.
I can remember when if you saw a car broke down, you just naturally pulled over to see if you could help. That's just the way it was.. If you tried that now, you'd get searched too. Best to just move along and not be noticed.
I've hitch hiked, and picked up hitch hikers. But not in a long time.
And be careful having that third drink with dinner at Applebees. The police are hiding in the bushes watching, timing you. To protect the others.

Hey! remember this? A person is presumed innocent, until proven guilty.
Now we have random drug testing (except for the Senators and Congressmen that made it a law. And after all, they only decide if we go to war or not, so what's the big deal if they have a few drinks at lunch) so, now it's-a person is presumed guilty unless they can prove they're innocent.
I guess that's sorta the same thing.
Isn't it?

Crazy Horse, Geronimo, Cochise, Sitting Bull-they were renegades. Non Conformists.
We tried real hard to convince the natives that they'd be much better off on reservations. Under our protection where they could depend on us for food, shelter, and clothing.
Most drank the kool aid, and why not? Really, what choice was there?
But some rebelled, fought back, even though they knew they would fail. In their hearts and in their spirits, they had no choice.

I didn't grow up with Wal Mart, but we have them now. Seems silly to plant a garden or even learn how to, when we can get it all so much cheaper and prettier at Wal Mart. And if you can't afford Wally's apples, our government will give you stamps so you can. And why learn to sew if poor children in Bangladesh will do it cheap.

Ben Franklin said, "Those that would trade their liberties for temporary security, deserve neither, and will lose both."

I guess we're all living longer now, and some would say better. But I can't help but wonder when the measure of life became a yard stick rather than weights. I still remember when life weighed less than a feather.

Chief Joseph tried to be a renegade, but one day, just short of winning, he said, "I will fight no more forever"
That makes me sad.
But now we have the New York Police to weed out the renegades. If you look like one, you'll be considered one.

We once told Gorbachev to tear down the wall. So he did. Now we have built a great wall of soldiers to keep out the lazy, drunken, stinkin no good Mexicans. Can't have them coming up here raping our women, selling their drugs, stealing our jobs. We didn't mind them washing our windows or picking our fruit for a quarter an hour, but they've just gone too far.

I tried to think of all we've warred with, Canada, Mexico, Britain, France, Spain, ourselves, Russia, Germany......Damn! It's just easier to list Nations we haven't warred with. Have we fought the Swedes?
Well, there's still time.

We told Saddam we won't tolerate WMD. Didn't we put him in power? Ha! turns out he didn't have any anyway. Jokes on him! Now it's Syria's turn. They may have gassed a thousand people.
Um, wasn't it us that dropped two atomic bombs on cities of civilians? Women, children, old people, dogs, whatever. How many did we kill? How many are still dying?
I don't remember our apology for that. Do You?
If that wasn't WMD, I guess I have the definition wrong.
No matter. We're all safe. Fully protected and taken care of.
We live longer and safer now. Soon we'll all have health insurance. And no, you wont have a choice.

And we have Face book, free porn, playstation, football, and reality TV to entertain us, control us, while our protective government takes care of the serious business.

I used to wonder what it was like, before we got here. When teepees were the cities of the Plains. When time as we have invented it, didn't exist. When every day there was a danger of dying, but no one feared. The grizzly, the panther, and the wolf roamed border to border. There were no laws other than those written upon the heart. Those that lived, lived unmeasured by length.
And I wondered what it was like to have it all taken. To be put on reservations.
But I don't wonder much anymore. I think I understand.
I am a renegade, in the manner of those before me. I too will lose. But my heart wont let me surrender
The lilacs still bloom
but the fragrance has grown dull
the stars have gone dim
the moon has lost it's mystique,
and need
while the sun has become our blister
that shall never heal

we no longer sprint
through the woods, tripping over
boulder and log
out of breath
bruised and bleeding
to watchful clouds
of silver glory
and the whispering of
a laughing brook
waiting for our fall

we now march
across a barren desert
only to reach the other side
but so far
from living

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

assorted random thoughts

I have always been lonely
it is your clinical condemnation
that has made it a crime

I was only truly me
when i was me
truly, with you

when the river rolls by
when the train disappears
the best part of me
always goes along
leaving me
with what little remains

a warm fire
is like a mother's apron
~there lies the danger

if it's cat,
why isn't it citten?

a shrug
is a poor excuse for ignorance

i have a boss who pays me,
a banker to count my money
and a salesman eager to clean my carpet
we vote for sunny smiles
and my wife cooks well
if i say "I love you"
just right
don't kid yourself
we're all prostitutes

words cannot be trusted
unless spoken in hate

no one truly desires to be free
who would we blame
for our misery?

Friday, August 9, 2013


you never should've loved me
i should've never let you

i'll always be
two places at once

a monument for pigeons
to adore
pollen on the wind

a malcontent, incurable
a conscience intruceable
a peace loving
war machine

i am a wanderer
flower to heart
smile to touch
looking beyond
hating what lives

i could never please you
nor me
and you could never hold
my ever restless heart

race on, i must
into oblivion
leaving ruin
in my wake

all this
i have known
since first
i began to know

i paused to love you,
let you
love me
the shifting winds
and changing tides
would pull me along

I'm sorry
i let you love me
but i'm not sorry
i loved you

it is my way
i wish
you had known

Friday, August 2, 2013

Castle of Sand

hypnotized by the ocean
swept up, in her dreaming arms
i believed i could

so there, on her lonely beach
i built a castle
from my shifting sand

the sun rose, set
moon upon moon
yet build, even in sleep
did i

when at last, it was finished
i sat back to admire
my accomplishment

oh, it was grand!
who knew, such ability
was hidden within me

with a longing to save it
to protect it, from
storm and tide
i sought to move it
having forgotten
i built it, from
my shifting sand

the tides did rise, the
storms did come, and i learned
the limits of my dreams, reside
on the edge of hope

i went to the sea
one day, to say i was sorry
but the sea didn't care
and the sand lay solemn
filled with contempt
for making it
believe i could

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Education

ever know a night that sleeps,
like the echo of starlight whispering?

it's just after midnight, the blizzarding winds
long gone, the flakes now tempered
to soft white daisies, signature
to a masterpiece

the moon, a shadow of itself,
drifts through the clouds left behind
singing a silent song,
an ancient remedy

I park my beat
off the road forgotten,
look to the forest still,
and step into whatever
mystery her painted splendor
might unravel in my
tangled heart

in school, i learned mathematics
to better know my failings
-and others success
and English, so i could be stupid
or brilliant, depending on my company

i learned history, so i could learn war,
Politics, to learn there is honour
in deceit
while Geography, taught me of dreams
I'll never capture, and mountains
I'll never climb, because of seas
I'll never sail

love taught me hurt, friends~betrayal
and time
taught me age
for the price of my youth

I've worn out my heart
with learning

but nothing more important
than what that night taught me
among the peace laden trees
so long ago beyond
the shores
of Lake Rebecca

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Crazy In The Mountains

she's the woman of the crazy mountains
aptly named for an adopted daughter

the snows blow fierce around her tiny cabin
buried deep in season, while inside
bark and roots tea boil in heavy scent.
just a frosted window away,
the only friends remaining
fly branch to feeder,

she paints
these, and whatever else
may happen by, be they clouds,
sunshine's shadow on the peaks
or the fox deep in hunt

but this, no one sees as no one dare
the darkness playing in the pines
where the sentry crows stand
careful watch over wonder or reason

when she makes it to town, a birth wide
is given by fear masked as respect
by those who will whisper later
to shaking heads at the coffee shop
just after she's gone

her paintings, her jewelry, her carvings,
molasses and honey, are all sold by the man
at the trading post who knows well to turn a nickle
from the lunacy he quietly admires
but never admits

she never speaks when in town
and only quietly when alone.
just a nod or a note sufficing.
if a trace of smile lingers
in her plowed field of face
it is well guarded by the eyes
which long ago stopped looking

she may have gone to Berkeley
-for a year, may have swooned to
Janis at Woodstock, and somewhere
far beyond the reach of telling
there may be a child long ago run free

she no doubt was a child herself
in a world since forgotten
and who knows, there may even
have been ideals and a God
who pretended to understand

but now another spring has come
the snows melt and run
while her tattered laundry
flies wild in the breeze
welcoming the bluebirds come to nest
in the peace of her silence

she'll die here
and no one will listen
to the song that was never sung
from this woman
adopted by mountains too crazy
to turn her away

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Orchard

to the orchard i flew
famine to the feast
from the gate flew the troll
saying, eat as you please
but mind the caveat

some hold a poison
worse than many deaths

red ripe and delicious
were most of the apples
while others couldn't hide
their blemish
the latter i trusted
more than the former

but no matter, just the same
as only pretend to eat, did i

in truth, i took bow and quiver
shooting them all from the trees
to poison the worms that
poison the birds

yes, starve i will
but of all the deaths
mine, will be
the most honest