Tattoos in Mayberry

51,296 poems read

open lands.Wild Horses.
Not a gold star route to plunk
everything down and summer vacation.. Closed Reservation.
You'd have to go to the other side
of the far Glacier and a ways beyond 
to visit them, fast livin, good timin,,
Hollywood Indian types,
where there's a jewelry store
inside a casino where you can get polished agates and
even acquire an electric powered rock polisher on lay away

This place, though, does't move so fast
doesn't make much noise.
Here they don't have much interest in looking
or feeling like every other place,
retailed up to the gill stripes..
If you want to vacation with the Indians here,
 best you posess and share  powerful medicine with their people.
put great thought into your offerring
be generous
blend in as best you can,
don't forget your camera,,
and don't overstay your welcome..
The most gorgeous lands are here
lands most city folk today
aren't  likely worthy of laying eyes on 
Cabins spaced out  by the acres..
 mostly undeveloped, land
a few round houses pock marked by
 movable trailers temporarily parked on tribal
trust land.
This big country
is not for sale.
 clear mountain Lakes
Sasquatch high, country.
 Collect by the bucket ful pure,l, glacial, drinking  water coming off the rocks
You' have to be a tribal member
or be hitched up pretty close with one
to even set foot up here without
Tribal Council permission.
The council has the final word
because the council is wise..
Plan on leaving behind your snow mobile .
Free cherries to pick
all you can eat, fill up your basket 
it's another  Indian Summer
and we are the Buffalo.  
no keep out, private property signs,
Put up a fence, 
we run right through it
Run it down.,
this is wild country
The go and do 
as you wish
high chapparell
We graze on through
We walk amongst
and I'm starting to feel
like I'm walking with the
Sacred Buffalo..
Tribal policeman's law trumps
white man's  law.
 rez car zips through stop light,
car doors swingin wide open,
baby hangin' half out of the car
half in.
Hootin  screamin cooin, singin
drunken freedom songs
letting off steam,
raising a ruckus.
No problems...
All smoothed over,
with a park it warning.
go home,sleep it off,
if you have to.
Tribal Cop lives across our street.
on tribal trust land. deeded to his auntie
who holds court up on her hill.
where we are her guests down below.,
A vintage, or older running American car
is greatly valued up here
Everywhere, that supplies 
everything is 25 miles away from home.
  We went to town once,that winter, Browning Mt
to pick up supplies
.No rock polishing jewelery stores
here. If you look real hard you might find an outlet
store selling saddle gear.
for the few tamed horses.
Browning Mt., 40 miles 
from  Heart Butte ,
Wife there is teaching native music/song 
to the students at their flagship school.
We're temporarily housed  next door
to the school in a trailor.
Accenting how we are just guests.
I am trying hard to do something
for the kids to not look like too much of a tourist.

The kids are untarnished, beautiful,
strong, curious, with a, culture 
steeped in tradition, the modern
world meets the 
untamed,not completely civilized.
If you want your  Government
Indian check when it's scheduled to come
for treatie violations, you have to live in
or visit Browning,
Keeps their own from leaving the coccoon of the  reservation
along with a way to track their number. 
The most obvious benefit of this restriction 
The idea may be,
if you leave, you live beyond,
plus you aren't supporting our efforts to sustain our culture.,
and your departing, must mean
you are well off enough so we don't have to pay 
for your journey beyond,
I imagine there are exceptions, still a good number of Indians
prefer not living on their reservation because they
have seen the world,  and can never go back .
, and it's all kind of silly to be counted, sorted
or bought like that..
 So some of the best as well as the worst often leave.
If they want to spend their allotment
 checks on booze, women and cars,
they can tool around all they please in Browning.
Many of the townie's prefer alcohol.
The only way to get a check and 
traverse around half freely is if you  show up in Browning 
once a month,
sign in at the way station, then  wait at a table.
for your name to be called. So, you can sign for your money.
There are a lot of professionally -paid,
non workers hanging around on that day.
You can mingle with others who.
Do a little auto repair on the side.
Maybe custom flute makers or sculptures
Masterpiece makers selling to tourists. , 
Gallery quality paintings
for a case of beer
Renbrandts painted in bars then
sold out the back

There are no hobby farms in the city of Browning.
There are junkyard,
amindst used car lots. You pay the price, you get 
the car.keys.
Just outside of town you have colonies of  Amish
Fine craftsmen, furniture for sale. Come see. 
them, living simply, as they have  done  for centuries
No accident the proximity of both cultures.
There is a post office, doubling as a western union.
next to the bus station twice a day you can enter or depart..
The passenger trains don't run through there.
There is no nuclear power plant within 1000 miles of this place.
City, with a small c.

many of the horses run wild on
one of the coldest places registered
for coldness in the North lands
In addition to the horses there run,
packs of  feral and semi wild resevation dogs
with a pecking order
masterless a,free agency, 
of inbred canines.
thumbing their nose at
dominant culture with dog catchers,
spay and neuter clinics, 
Putting another exclamation point
on how things are done differently in Indian Country.
 A free roaming population of sex and ,hunger driven, 
stray, townie dogs  left to their own devices,
to Live or die by their wits. 
Even the strongest and smartest
pack dog every day, struggles 
harsh brutal, below freezing,
conditions to live to see another day..
Many animals fold under less challenging conditions. 
It isn't unimaginable that an extra pet store dog
could easily be offloaded here
because somebody would raise little or no suspicion if they didn't  want
to or couldn't care for the animal..
The best a dog like that could do is beg at the grocery store,
until they died of neglect, failure to thrive, from frostbite, and consumption.
I said to my girl
look there's a dog and its not moving
It looked like roadkill. 
off the sidewalk at the grocery store,
It looked stiff, twisted and run over.,
I almost didn't want to believe my eyes
when it moved ever so slightly.
Right about then my gal said
pick it up and put em in the back seat
of the car,
I feared, by the looks of him,
maybe we were simply going to end up 
burying him in the woods
She said, we're going to save him,
She saw something I had missed.
We left the parking lot at the big central chain
grocery store in Browning,
we'd cut our shopping trip
short, Browning is the big city 
on the rez.. They have the billboards to prove it
advertising bars, hotels and  restaurants,,,

We put this half frozen thing that looked like a mop,, 
in a blanket
and she held him against her body heat,
I drove the 40 miles to our Trailer
when we got there, he was beginning to thaw out
We gave him a warm bath,
We kept pouring luke warm water in his mouth.
After a few days, we
were able to feed him.
My girflfriend knew about being forgotten, abused, left to die
I learned something  the value of  ev evert precious living thing.
about never giving up trying to save a precious life.
At some point he had stopped shivering
and his eyes which were glassy and barely open
showed less terror and the fright
we had seen in them had turned to  curiosity
and understanding,
Realizing , somebody cared enough to give him time
and enough attention needed to recover.
If he played his cards 
with his luck turning as it  was now,
he might even find Cripple Creek.
His eyes darted around, anxious to show us
what an actual dog player he was.
We all played easy with him,even our Rottweiler.
Checking in on him gently head butting, sniffing
being gentle.
easing his anxiety to have to prove
immediately how able and wonderful
he actually was once we got to know him better.
    There is nothing but open prairie,In Heart Butte
Nothing out there for miles but the faint curvature of the earth
on either side of the rez road
as far as you can see..
You can't be non-indian and live there.
you can work with or for them and live in temporary housing
but you can't be a resident there if you aren't of the tribe.
we were temporary residents,
My natiive singer wife was on teaching assignment
so we were guests
stationed next to the High School in their temporary housing 
I was not raised in the Indian Way
Being green,
I learned you don't ask a Peigani, Indian man, a question like 
Hey Chief
what time is it?,
The correct answer from the standpoint of this indian
and exactly what he told me
was 
I am not a chief..
Hey, you live and learn.
Or maybe you live and die.
I wanted to sink into the floor,
How could I explain to this warrior
I was making love to a native woman
spooking 
Wild horses. is a punishable crime here.
I had promised not to disturb
Peigani  tribal life. .Not tarnish paradise
on an extended vacation
in the Peigani' indian's forbidden city. 
My job was to keep my eyes open 
and my mouth shut.
I got my taste
took my peek.
Nice place to visit
But, any way you slice things.
and I like to slice things..
They have problems too.
Everywhere you go 
there is going to be conflict
They have a flagship centerpiece public school,
This school could be in Connecticut,
The Hollywood Hills,,
or Beacon Street In New Orleans,
a school from anywhere U.S.A
like it was built from the standard
big school win win fight fight,  construction play book. 
Big football field. Baseball,tennis courts, Basketball courts Swimming Pool
and in stark contrast, 
the Indians have built immersion schools to save native tongue.
 to save as many pieces of the culture 
their way of life, 
and what could be more valuable than through language.
expressing 
their ancient, oral traditions.
Indians being part of a team aspiring to win in sports, as competitors in
the games.,only has intrinsic value 
if this hungry spirit isweig tempered
with the ways of the elders ,
within their culture 
the spirit of fair play, cooperation and sharing.
These ancient bonds cannot  be broken..
I saw how this tribe
dealt with the culture clash 
with what they were told 
is the way of the future
The indians have been for a long time, with much care, 
wisely,hedging their bets
Keeping an eye on the future 
while grounded in the lessons of the past.
Look around from the school
in all directions, horses, deer, elk, beauty,
nature, trees, water
open, wild, free country
The stark contrast, between the school and all that's around it
can't be missed.
I love how problems are solved here.
The big city school seemed out of place.
But, it was perhaps  a necessary 
counterbalance between modern, big  
combined with the beauty of knowing where home is
the simplicity of smaller. while giving big it's due
After all, don't
People needothers on the big blue planet 
Nobody lives in a bubble and evolves
There is good in the big world outside, Much to learn.
just don't get swept away in an avalanche of big.
big employs families, many wayward folks,
line and factory workers,
construction workers, security details, janitors,
food prep workers,teachers
so why not play the game if it's gifted 
to these indians, a gift of a palatial public school 
a starship enterprise school. To have your children
boldly go where no young brave has gone before.
Beyond the
boundaries of the sovereignty of the reservation
If our grandfathers were offered a space ship
they too might take it.
Nobody could say they didn't know
the North Star.
or were left behind...
 Of course, there is work to do
here on planet earth, in Browning
where there's Woody Kipp,
He had a simple idea for their people 
immersion
schools where the only language
spoken within their walls was Peignai,(blackfoot) native tongue.
Woody sent out word that he wanted the babies to attend.
school kids surrounded and immersed in their own language
The idea is to re-populate native talkers 
the kids  will pick up english, elsewhere.
everywhere else, in fact.
The simple plan was to keep alive a language
their langauge which would otherwise have died out
and gone extinct,
by around 2035..
To me this is 
really living the serenity prayer.
accepting and even respecting the new, the modern and the big and learning from it
while preserving your own little piece.....
But, remember that dog, we found
half dead.
looking like a dirt encrusted, frozen mop
on the curb in Browning, when after some weeks
we came back
to our home reservation after the gig in browning was over,
because we already had enough dog, a big needy rottweiler,
we  offered the mop 
to the Matee neighbor lady
up the hill, a powerful elder,
who was the tribal cop's auntie.
and chief of police's sister.
she said she'd take him
It was a deal made between her and my wife..
I was instructed to leave him in her garage and shut the garage door behind him.
She was a private person.
and I was an outsider..
 
Do you  know a strange thing happened
when spring came around  
a dead ringer for Lassie
came bounding down our hill and made a bee line around the fifth wheeler prominently stuck in wet muck in
our front yard,
doing his Lassie dance Fine Collie footwork. Up and back twisting his hips 
showing off powerful runners flanks
He sashayed through our front door.
Our Rottweiler was too stunned from the cult of his personality to
do anything but gawk. as we all were doing
There he stood, in his golden prime,
proud as a rut rooster.

Behold, the golden child has arrived..
I must admit
if I was a female collie, 
I might fall  dumbstruck in fools love right there on the spot,

To think this little guy had grown into
a survivor 
'I showed em', he was telling us
Momma Cop up the hill had schooled me
I am on light patrol.
Back at the station, my  corn bread gets double buttered,
and just how little I have to do as chief crime dog
to get over.
Here was perhaps
the best little grifter sheriff
on the rez,
sleek coat, moves like a cat
a master strutting, rutting street hustler
who
gets what he wants
by simply striking a pose,
and wagging his tail
livin the easy life.

.
He wanted to come down to thank us
show us how he was worth saving
and thank us for believing in him..
At first, I barely recognized the mop..
, because over winter things had improved
exponentially for him. From starving and freezing ,
to death on unforgiving pavement,
to the top of the heap,., 
Yes, things were looking up.
having the key to crack
the combination to the safe 
holding the heart that
was locked up tight in that old woman
who lived in the big house, up our hill
good,
handsome, surprisingly clever rez dog..
take yourself another once around our house, and
,
promenade your pimpin, high livin,
pretty boy behind 
out our open front door and, back up to Candy Mountain
I imagine that rez runt knows he won the Pet Power Ball lottery jackpot 
 that cold windy winter's day when we found that frozen puddle of twisted hair
 on the curb at the Piggly Wiggly in Browning Montana,.

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Buddy Bee Anthony


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