First Monday in Boreal Time

Time sings in the forest
places have their songs
linear melodies break down
a cadence solders
but the melody might as well be
water
or sky
what it sounds like where they meet
I come to crossroads
crossing streams
horizon rushing on toward
aurora
boreal time signatures
are like wings on falcons
time dives and reaches
cloud-sewn peaks
nothing and then
hours, disappearing days,
arriving nights;
those moonsun temples
you cannot stay in one song
long.
Everything has a song
and we are the cherubim,
and we lament so that
evil sounds beautiful
by its beauty it is conquered.
From dark bogs
static spirits flash in peripherals
eyes detect the spirit but
concrete minds shut out
a million shades of one note
leave the angels suspended
the spirits half cocked.

Ghosts of Gull Lake

Protect your spirit, for you are in the place where spirits get eaten.

-John Trudell

 

Went driving north

north of Pillager,

old lands of Hole-in-the-Day

around the bluffs

of Old Gull Lake.

truth is,

 

I am a white man.

 

out a dandruff windshield

skeins of sun

there is the land of red clay

orange clay

iron in the blood

 

ghosts eke through FM stereo.

they pull the steering wheel.

 

under white pines I stop the car

they were saplings when

East Dakota people

on the move,

buried their dead.

 

or when the East Dakota and

The Chippewa and

The Winnebago

transfigured into wolves

followed the sun to survive

westward, where begins

the bloody Mississippi.

 

from the red clay

to the white earth

 

then we almost killed all the wolves, too.

 

total silence, for just a moment,

as the forest eclipses the beach

to tease out the memories

draw out the ghosts

for precious little moments

feeble as sheets of mica.

 

abruptly the lakeshore is revealed

and of course

 

I am a white man:

 

great whites washed ashore

giants squids of industry

blubbery and viscid where they

belch oil on the beach

leave rainbows on the wakes

comes out their pores

satellite security systems

golf courses tailor-fit to fat asses

tailor-fit to democracy, the Imposition,

genocide of a thousand colors

ancestor portals and caribou;

passing mansions on sacred hills

where manitou woke yawning to

machine amoeba, gaping mouths

paralyzed myths where they lay

shivering.

resorts crop up, shoot roots through

tombs to kings;

history is as dead as the bison

as gone as the white-skinned First People

to the north-

 

even though they too had blue eyes

 

And so it is known

that what these resort homes

ranches and cabins

four story symphonies of death

spread over seventeen acres of rape

with water slides and daycares

pontoons and Potlatch

what they want to kill is not a pigment

they would like to kill something living

kill the Manitou

they would like to kill the Chippewa

they would like to kill the Dakota

 

I am white man on a drive

my name is not known to the lake

but ghosts tell me stories

of the white man’s undoing