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Poetry

by - Tobacco Indian

Bleeding Stones
Body is a Spirit
Buffalo Song
Corn Spider Woman
Carrying the Feather
Coyote Morning
Floating
Inside a Medicine Lodge
Paper Eagles
Rain Inside a Cloud
Red-tipped White Feather
Sharp Knife (left in the Shadows)
Snake Dancing (Moon Dance Song)
Spirit Dreams..Dust Remains
Standing Still
Stones Entering the Heart
Tobacco Dance
Tobacco Store Indian
Water's Heart
Water that is Stopped

Tobacco Dance


Sparks
fly from my feet
as I went whirling into the winds
as I went dancing upon the stones
as I sang to my toes
my belly was hot
and the sun touched the golden brown earth
of the desert
where my heart beats
and offers the rhythms I need
to remember
my dreaming
dancing in an old place
dancing in an old way
inside my skin
I have gone all around myself


Bleeding Stones


I could see shadows
coming from his heart
and the water in his eyes
had no salt

I picked up a stone
my toes holding the earth
holding
and standing still
standing still
i picked up a stone

My eyes
were not crazy
but his heart looked like
a place for an arrow
a place to strike
and sing about it later
standing still
I carved a feather
a feather
into that stone
and just went home alone

I left the
feather
in the stone
and just went home alone


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Inside a Medicine Lodge


Humbled by the stones
stones, the hearts of the old ones
wild and young are the waters
rushing through their hearts
stones, red hot burning like blood
singing all at once
stretching through the womb
stones of hope round and hard
following the smoke from the shadows
out to the light again

remembering everything
on all fours they have gone
remembering everything


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Corn Spider Woman


Corn spider woman
marches up the red mountain
in the dark moon
where the sun has set
to sing with a feather
which has been sitting upon the skin of a drum
carrying the hearts of the women
the ones who are here now
she will sit singing
she will sent remembering
while the old man makes the evening


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Buffalo Song


In the songs carried by the winds
there is the dark dust of a man's shadow
all alone
biting the stones
scratching even the clouds
wandering wild
the fingers of the old women
clutch the beams of light
and press them into their bellies
and try again
to open the closed mind
bleeding in the morning's edge
carrying the heart of a bear
i saw them knocking on his door


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Red-tipped White Feather


red-tipped white feather
carefully placed
in jet black hair
reflects
sister sun's
early morning greeting

rings of courage
circle the neck of
the warrior.
his nation builds upon
his gallantry...

bold stroke of pride
reveals bravery;
lovingly demonstrated
upon fields of blood

panther-like body
demonstrates
ebony prowness;
agility and strength
flows fluently
from he
who fights for
freedom...

honor fuses passion
and justice to soul;
forever sealing
opportunity to
destiny for the
fortunate few
who wear the
plume of
fearlessness......

unwillingly provided
by Mother Earth;
she turns her
sorrow inward...

reminders of
battles long ago won
or lost;
crown the fortunate few

flushed tips bellow
from the brilliant
snowiness;
"I am strong;
I have seen death
and survived"


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Body is a Spirit


I have carried
my life from the shadows
my body is a spirit
i was carried down from the trees
i was a bird
a little bird at that time
you might have heard me singing
i have changed my looks
i have seen thunder
thunder carried by the bear
and it has all hit my body
and gone inside my skin
so now I am going around
in a circle
here inside the mountain


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Tobacco Store Indian

I lie in the rain
my face in the mud
the mud on my belly
the moon on my moon
outside The Corn Covered Elder's Tobacco Emporium!
(open 24 hours)

So long have I stood unmoving
As the dry season wore on
keeping sacred vigil
beside the door
of The Corn Covered Elder's Tobacco Emporium!
Blessed every day by the coyote's morning water
As he rises from the ground on his one leg
and delivers the water where it will do the most good!
Till at last the rains came
and the sacred mushrooms grew around my feet
and the Tbirds remembered me
spoke to me
knocked me on my you-know-what!
I liiiiiiiiiiie inna raaaaaaaaain!

How well I remember the day I got this job --
Great, so great, are the sin taxes imposed
by the government which Always Knows What Is Best For Us
that my corn-covered elder
(great, so great, in his wisdom
in the art of How To Make A Buck)
opened a tax-free tobacco store on his sacred land!

And little, so little can I do
now that the Tbirds got my number --
I am grateful that he gave me a way to earn my keep
standing in front of
The Corn Covered Elder's Tobacco Emporium
holding a handful of cigars
offering them to the pilgrims who come
seeking day and night
seeking always!

The pilgrims come for hundreds of miles around
buy many cartons of cigarettes
and are gone
to their private shrines they go
to burn tobacco unceasingly to their familiar spirits
the Tobacco Joneses!

Day and night unceasingly they come
laden with frogskins,
as their familiar spirits the Tobacco Joneses urge them onward
like one-legged coyotes nipping at their heels!
The offerings of frogskins they bring to my corn-covered elder!

Nevermind that they can eat neither frogskins nor cigarettes --
For the Government Which Always Knows What Is Best For Us
has seen to it that there is always food
(if you don't mind eating straw and glue)
but frogskins and cigarettes are harder and harder to come by!

Great, so great, is his wisdom
he always knows what they need before they speak even a word!
He accepts their frogskins
gives them something far more valuable --
Cigarettes
to offer to their familiar spirits
the Tobacco Joneses!

And in the back of the Corn Covered Elder's Tobacco Emporium
Video Poker Games!
Slot Machines!
Even Bingo on Wednesday Nights!
Wise, so wise, is my Corn Covered Elder
He knows always what they need .......

Except one man
stupid whiteboy wannabe
came in looking for BULL DURHAM!
came in looking for OUR PRIDE!
My Corn Covered Elder told him off good!
We don't sell that crap in here!

And I see them day and night
As I stand in front of
The Corn Covered Elder's Tobacco Emporium (open 24 hours)
Except when the rains come
And I fall on my face before the Tbirds
and I liiiiiiiiiiiiie inna raaaaaaaaaain!


(Return to index)

Water's Heart


Stretched like long legs
dancing in the sun's light
but so quietly
her face is hidden
by the shadows of what we have forgotten

Crickets sing
in a cave filled with crystals
like silver in the moonlight
like the red coal in a small hot fire
the path between them
has an opening
a message is there where you dream
in the place where you are dreaming
when you are there


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Paper Eagles


eagle holds the sky
between his feathers
and turtles like to eat yellow flowers
and dream
down where it is warm
near the roots
of the sacred tree


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Coyote Morning

Old men and old coyote dogs
boil their dreams in the sun
served steaming within a bowl
filled with shadows
rolling sticks onto the ground
and making wild songs
while they smack their lips
and spit out the dust
blown in by the winds
nameless
and place-less
but hard to ignore


(Return to index)

Rain Inside a Cloud

Puple light swept upwards into the sky
where red rocks sat half in shadow
just with his toes marking the ground
water-man stalked alone
along a glowing path
half in and half out
of the lines offered by the sky
holding a small feather in his fingers
half in and half out
of his raised hand now touching the warm earth
whispering
his name into the shadows weaving
his heart
half in and half out
of the water in the clouds
right there
he picked up a stone and tossed it to the clouds

he slept alone all night.


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Snake Dancing (Moon Dance Song)

she was there
watching me
as i snake danced
on her warm belly
around us the wild winds blowed across the red sky
and i went
up and down
inside myself
it felt like i was dreaming
it felt like i was a feather
at the edge of a hot fire
shaking
my toes
in the golden dust
where the full moon was rising


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Standing Still

i have taken the stones
which the the angry winds have thrown
I have gathered them
I have rolled them into the womb
i have taken sparks
from the thunder in the road
i have taken water
from the old woman's eyes
I have crawled inside
I have
eaten myself
I have grown strong


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Floating

Coyote runs along the river
trees
offer their roots to the rhythm
which is deeper
quieter
moving with the sun
my memories are a 4-legged
song


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Stones Entering the Heart

Lined up
like feathers on the wings of Eagles
dancers
circle the dusty earth
their feet wrapped in the skins of elk
buffalo
and deer
pounding the air
and striking their hearts
a drum
stretched across the heart
of an old man
who grins at the sun
and throws stones into their hearts.


(Return to index)

Water that is Stopped

Sitting in the waters
the old one tied a cord
tied it up with knots
singing his dreams as he sat there
there it is
somewhere in there
the medicine you were weeping for
yes
there is plenty of it
yes
many have cried thinking it was lost
the sky has followed itself
into his arms
he has allowed himself to depend upon the clear sky
it may be just as I have said
that he was there
gathered with the sky
counting his knots
each time that you wept
counting the medicine that is there

i know how to speak clearly


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Sharp Knife (left in the Shadows)

Corn Child
our bowls are never empty
a heart's brave journey
casts no shadows across the fires
which warm the soul
unarmed
unsharpened
I carry the sweet corn in my belly
from the peace
and gift of my dreaming
I know you well
and I see you often


(Return to index)

Spirit Dreams..Dust Remains

In what corner of time
is the truth like dust
gathered
passing down feathers
holding them in your hands
you may go and lift the wind
carefully
there is something in there
in those feathers
they say holding them against your heart
there is something in there
there is a way to pass them
a way in which they can come
which will hold you up
closer to the sun than before


(Return to index)

Carrying the Feather

On this side
a feather is carried
it is carried on the other side
when we are over there
they put a feather on my heart
and i was laid down there
like a drum
singing came down from the sky
and pounded my skin

i remembered who i was then
i remembered where i had been

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The Indigenous Peoples' Literature pages were researched and organized by Glenn Welker.