Some Like Indians Endure

i have it in my mind that

dykes are indians

 

they’re a lot like indians

they used to live as tribes

they owned tribal land

it was called the earth

 

they were massacred

lots of times

they always came back

like the grass

like the clouds

they got massacred again

 

they thought caringsharing

about the earth and each other

was a good thing

they rode horses

and sang to the moon

 

but i don’t know

about what was so long ago

and it’s now that dykes

make me think i’m indians

when i’m with dykes

 

beacause they bear

witness bitterly

because they reach

and hold

because they live every day

with despair laughing

in cities and country places

because earth hides them

because they know

the moon

 

because they gather together

enclosing

and spit in the eye of death

 

indian is an idea

some peple have

of themselves

dyke is an idea some women

have of themselves

the place where we live now

is idea

because whiteman took

all the rest

took all the rest

but the idea which

once you have it

you can’t be taken

for somebody else

and have nowhere to go

like indians you can be

stubborn

 

the idea might move you on,

ponydrag behind,

taking all your loves and

children maybe downstream

maybe beyond the cliffs

but it hangs in there

an idea

like indians

endures

 

it might even take your

whole village with it

stone by stone

or leave the stones

and find more

to build another village

someplace else

 

like indians

dykes have fewer and fewer

someplace elses to go

so it gets important

to know

about ideas and

to remember or uncover

the past

and how the people

traveled

all the while remembering

the idea they had

about who they were

indians, like dykes

do it all the time

 

dykes know all about dying

and that everything belongs

to the wind

like indians

they do terrible things

to each other

out of sheer cussedness

out of forgetting

out of despair

so dykes

are like indians

because everybody is related

to everybody

in pain

in terror

in guilt

in blood

in shame

in disappearance

that never quite manages

to be disappeared

we never go away

even if we’re always

leaving

 

because the only home

is each other

they’ve occupied all

the rest

colonized it; an

idea about ourselves is all

we own

 

and dykes remind me of indians

like indians      dykes

are supposed to die out

or forget

or drink all the time

or shatter

go away

to nowhere

to remember what will happen

if they don’t

 

they don’t anyway—even

though the worst happens

they remember and they

stay

because the moon remembers

because so does the sun

because the stars

remember

and the persistent stubborn grass

of the earth

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