Rookie (1/30/40 / LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY)

Desperado - Poem by POET HUBITO

“Oh, you ain’t getting’ no younger
Your pain and your hunger,
they’re drivin’ you home
And freedom, oh, freedom,
Well, that’s just some people talkin’.”

~ Glenn Frey/Don Henley

I caught myself shouting Hey-You! Hey-You!
as a limp body melts in a puddle of urine,
behind my dumpster, where homeland’s lost.

He probably traded grandfather’s buckskins
for a pickup journey in tainted garb to an Indian
saloon for the next bottle of Red Dog.

His faraway black hair is homeless,
dull and unbraided by beaten streets
tarred to city dirt, and can’t be hung
in the wind to pound
clean, like a rug
rinsed by the sun.

His lips burn and swell for a drink.
I beseech him to rise.
Hey-You! Hey-You!

Couldn’t he feel the old ones hold
to tempestuous plains like flower
and bee, sweet grass and buffalo, hear
the ancient’s spirits calling
his brothers, twenty million five centuries ago,
only two million today, calling
Ha-ya, Ha-ya…

I lean and pull a bottle from my kinsman’s fingers remembering
kain-tu-ki, bloody land where arrowheads abandoned
in fresh plowed fields filled
my pockets with heroic tales.
Why doesn’t he remember?

I thought about Great Grandmother,
Woman Runs Fast,
her honored Blackfoot stories
about Old Man’s promise to return…

Hy-ya, Hy-ya, Hy-ya…

Shadows shroud the searing sun.
Dust devils descend from darkness dancing
a crooked step to deep voices
from heavy beats on large hides.

Magpies circle the dance
with tail feathers bent,
eyes popped in blazes as Napi’s chant
raids my core like alcohol
dreams through falling water.

Can you see Old Man walk in dawn of the world?
Trample mountains into valleys to shape the hills, pull
his children in travois over icy lakes to sweet grass plains, hunt
scared buffalo to feed and clothe
his children, teach them to use
his gifts for life?

Hy-ya, Hy-ya, Hy-ya…

The Old Man disappears in a white man collage.
My vision loses color.

Can you see trappers kill
the scared beaver for a hat?
Buffalo skinners leave sweet meat to rot, stacking
bones for miles beside the rails,
while tribesmen starve and die in winter?

Can you see traders barter
smallpox blankets to children, build
whiskey forts across the line, murder
warriors alcohol blind on blizzard nights?

Can you see white soldiers build
garrisons to round us up, torch
our villages while families sleep, slaughter
old men while women hide their children?

Can you see tribal chiefs pass
their blackstone pipes in peace,
X white men’s treaties never ratified,
While Great White Father takes homeland?

Can you see missionary men condemn
scared sun dance worship,
bury dead spirits once held high
to sun and moon?

Ha-ya, Ha-ya, Ha-ya…

The drum moans quiet.
Magpies disappear as dust devils ascend.
I fall from vision,
stumble over his untied Adidas.

My Desperado cries,
“Let me be.”
“Let me be.”
“Let me be.”

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, July 2, 2005

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