Monday, May 11, 2015

South Dakota

white folks ‘n’ th’pine ridge sioux
hope t’work on th’strained relations –
cigarette ‘n th’hot breeze

sure there’re guns in th’car,
says th’pine ridge sioux, ‘n’ they’ll stay there –
fireworks off in th’night

busted transmission
on hot deserted two-lane
just outside of faith

rank and sticky fourth,
amoco in kadoka -
sick on bathroom floor

grew up ‘n kadoka,
got this job at th’gas station,
now she has t’work th’fourth

clear sky, badlands wind –
he’d be flying down the road
but for th’transmission

trailer near th’pine ridge,
th’biracial kids play in th’dust
she, too, heard th’gun shots

they're loud but love to
talk harleys - time they get here,
almost to sturgis

jefferson’s shadow,
th’photographer’s obsession –
he buys sunburn salve

those three on th'harleys,
forgot t’pay for what they took –
three less at sturgis

sturgis-bound bikers
dwarfed by th’semis ‘n th’interstate,
foot-long beards caught ‘n th’breeze

clear, hot sun, sacred
black hills - just 'cause there's walmart
now, doesn't change that

pastor heads for huron -
save souls at state fair - carney's
as good as any

state fair at huron
near th’waffle stand, th’pastor tries
t’preach gospel t’ th’carnies

deadwood gambler's tale -
brought his whole life to sturgis,
lost it all 'n a bet

her shelter helps th’wom’n
came t’sturgis on th’back ‘f a hog –
victims ‘f alcohol

hundreds ‘f thousands ‘f men
love their harleys ‘n’ their beer – she’s
‘cross from th’broken spoke

domestic vi’lence –
sturgis, ‘n august, far from home,
it’s just violence

fury ‘n’ th’pine ridge dust
they’d rather stay in th’car, its trunk
still holds all their guns

shade of moving van,
parched grass crackles at his touch -
"yonder's wounded knee"

"blew up this mountain
t'have something for license plates"...
warm wind, lincoln's gaze

steady wind from west
prairie grasses gone to seed
buffalo road sign

august near custer
he still looks for crazy horse,
wife looks in th’mirror

a town called igloo
was on this weed patch - but the
white man ran us out

fall river county
back road – prairie goes to seed,
out there, th’town ‘f igloo

first frost, ruins ‘f igloo
took th’sioux land, he says, used these huts
t’store th’ammunition

eagle soars, pulls him
up into th'shorter days - river
pulls him back t'yankton

rushmore empties out,
rock holds slowly changing trees -
how sacred, this place!

gettysburg to th’west –
stops t’watch th’leaves change, th’quiet town
goes by th’name of faith

last leaves fall on th’road,
prairie’s wide ‘n’ lonely – she tells
why they called th’town ‘faith’

souls’ day in sturgis
th’cross country biker stops f’r th’beer
just t’pay his respects

vermillion exit,
sunrise glows on backpack frame -
hopes for turkey fade

vermillion exit –
even th’grasses’ve changed color,
but th’sunrise steals th’show

first frost at rushmore
th’sioux asks if it qualifies
as th’graven image

aberdeen farmer,
back from the war that christmas,
never wanted to leave

new year ‘t th’wall diner
cross country trip got waylaid,
they ask ‘bout movies

back roads ‘f watertown,
lost th’kid – th’crime, not taking ice
seriously enough


back roads ‘f watertown
th’kid smashed th’power box ‘n th’ice storm
‘n’ he’ll never forget

search harding county
for coyotes, fly over'm, pop'm -
snow's our best ally

snow ‘n harding county,
used t’ th’slipp’ry roads, ‘n’ ‘t’s easier
t’find and kill th’coyotes

wall diner ashtray's
last stub smolders, bad coffee-
icy onramp looms

nature call, 'n' he stops -
th'needles, th'badlands, orion,
'n' millions of his friends

truck ‘f guys ‘n camos –
going t’sand lake t’hunt th’snow goose,
hoping th’decoys work

sand lake hunters’ tale –
stayed up all night, couldn’t tell
th’snow geese from th’decoys

joy ‘n’ th’first daffodils,
big sioux ‘n’ th’highway – they mean th’same
even in th’wild west(3-17)

dandelion adrift -
sioux falls schoolgirl takes deep breath,
only wants t'get out

t’ th’sioux falls drama queen,
anywhere’s better than here –
she blows th’dandelion seeds

shadows ‘f mount rushmore –
from th’telephoto lens, he knows
that’s where th’green stuff grows (3-17)


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