Here Ends the Journey…
Our residency at Wanbli was the last of the fall tour. And with the last stop comes the last time I will work with Jacinta. I have been issued a new partner for the spring tour. His name is Kevin. That’s all I really know. Jacinta has been my only companion, captive audience for my music and a friend for nearly four months. I wish her well on her future travels and adventures in the world. I hope that Kevin is ready. I hope he knows what he’s getting himself into. I hope I do to…
To finish out Wanbli and Kadoka…what can I say? The kids, in many ways, were better behaved and more agreeable then those at Wakpala. They were a handful-and-a-half but, they showed a side of themselves that I’m not sure anyone has seen. When they would let go and would allow themselves to enjoy what they were doing, they lit up! Absolutely phenomenal things would happen. One of my pirates, Carlos, would fight tooth and nail about doing anything: walking, breathing, not being a pain in the ass. However, when Carlos would forget about being a jerk: he had fun! He really got into being a pirate maybe like a quarter of the time, but he was damn funny for that quarter. He’d lose himself in wat he was doing, and do it, then realize what had happened and bury his face in his hands as if to say: “What have I done?!” And the play. These kids could could play and laugh better then the rest. Much more engaged and active in what they were doing and so much laughter. Sometimes at the wrong times, but always laughing and smiling. I really hope we gave them something that they can use everyday. Something inside themselves that they can hold onto and build. Something that they can believe in with the knowledge that they do matter and can change their lives if they want to.
Working on the Rez is always terribly enlightening and scary. It’s a whole world in isolation. Unknown, unrealized. I could on and on about social issues and government infringement and Tribal Rights and so on…But, the fact of the matter is that these people are there, with lives and dreams and hopes and nobody on the outside cares to look. Or listen. How do we live? How do we survive? How do we continue after the wars change from battlefields to courtrooms? Is there an answer or only more questions?
And for Kadoka, that weird little Interstate town, I leave this:
Off the Rumble Strip
By: Leighland Hooks
Out where the electric lights don’t reach. Past where the gravel runs out though the fields and into the cold. Into the Badlands where Custer was slain and Red Cloud still walks the hills, ghastly and proud. Coyotes and loafers howl mourning’s to the dripping moon. No vultures or buffalo hide in this night, just the haunting wind. Ice cold and sharp, dry like bad wine to a drunk. Familiar and comfortable as it numbs the hands and face. These blankets for cow puncher and farmers knowing the frost all too well. Too many livestock found wearing the mask of winter. Too many fingers and toes lost to it. Death drifts those places between dream circles and ravens. Where words those their meaning with so many inflections of peace, of life. This place where we are dying without living. Not here where the lights can’t reach and the barb wire has rusted through. Not here in the Badlands. Not here in the murderous quiet. Not here. No. Where bones whisper and crack. Where the only the prairie dogs will listen as they tunnel through the graves. Here where the electric lights will never reach.
Dec. 5th, 2011
Thanks for reading these past few months. The posts will keep coming just as soon as they can.