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None But the Future

- All I've done for want of wit, to memory now I cannot recall... I only seem to write in this thing when I'm about to leave. This is my final el'jay post.

Once again, transition is calling me to leave. This time I'm abandoning the Gallup Depression for the heights of the San Francisco peaks. I'll be counting eagles, rabbits, and prairie dogs for the Navajo Nation's Fish and Wildlife department until next winter brings down temperatures enough to make bush camping a hazardous prospect. I'm moving out of Gallup, mostly because it's a horrible place, and into Flagstaff, mostly because it's closer to the woods. I am also retiring from the el'jay, mostly because strange Ukranians keep trying to tell me about internet poker and there are advertisements all over the damn place. Also I have a new "blog" devoted explicitly to the sort of woods stories and granola philosophy I'm mostly writing these days. You can read all about it here:

http://laughingcrowpermaculture.wordpress.com/

Reflecting on the past decade of writing here, I'm grateful for the presence of this medium in my adolescent life. I don't think I could have made it through the agonies of high-school without the sounding board this technology provided. Conversely, I don't think I would have invited so much trouble into my life had I not started pouring my heart out, warts and all, into this thing, and the audience I often didn't know I had.

I started writing here mostly to try to impress Sara, whose earth I've all but fallen off the face of these days. That story is here, somewhere, in the spaces between the words. In a way, that magnificently muddy friendship opened the door to the mystery of myth. Though I didn't notice at the time, spinning teenage allegories about Chimera, Bellerophon, Talos, and other figures from ancient Greek cosmology helped me to understand the story I was living at the time, and the significance of my place in it. Myths help us know who we are by illuminating certain aspects of ourselves as archetypes, and showing how those aspects must interact to tell the grander story. Seventeen years old and in love with the idea of a girl, there was nothing much heroic about the path I was walking, but talking about my desires and frustrations in symbolic terms helped me to understand why things were happening as they were and learn from the experience. As the person who sent me down this road, I owe Sara a great debt of gratitude for inspiring me to dig a little deeper into myself, if only to appear a 'sensitive' guy. What may have begun as artifice has grown into a way of reflective living at the core of who I am these days.

I am also dearly thankful to the various friends, acquaintances, elders, challengers, and other people who I met or interacted with in this medium. The support and guidance of people like the late whitelinefever and the consistently insightful Vicki (daisydumont ) has been a vital part of my prolonged tumble into adulthood. I'll still be checking in every now and again to see what I've been missing; Ross' (doesdance ) artistry and poetics alone are worth coming back for.

The winding roads of circumstance, ancestral intervention, and plain old luck have dragged me across two oceans and a continent rife with mystery. My adolescence, as exemplified by this journal, is over; I go now into a new stage of life. There is much wandering ahead of me, and many more things to learn, few of which can be written. What the Lakota call Wakantanka, 'the big artery', and Michael Meade 'the world behind the world', I am walking towards. The myths and legends of the culture I grew up in, and the culture of many of my friends, are no longer sufficient to guide me. Where I'm going, the English language has difficulty keeping up. I'll wrestle with these themes in a new venue, the time for my writing here is concluded.

I used to spend quite a bit of time thinking about what my final el'jay post would look like, years ago when I had no intention of quitting. I picked out the perfect song, and the perfect beginning and end quotes. It was full of epic symbolism and heartbreakingly tragic turns of phrase. Not too long, not to short, it was to be perfect, a swan song to my life in electric words. Needless to say, I've forgotten all of those plans, and these days I just don't know if I can do epic. This is something of a big deal for me, the symbolism being more personal and perhaps prosaic, but what I'm left with, at the end of this long day, is simply gratitude and a little sadness for the ending.

I suspect we'll meet again, dear reader, when the hurly-burly's done, when the battle's lost and won. I reckon you've not heard the last of me, nor I the last of you. Stay safe, be well, and practice good dental hygeine, I'll see you in the by and by.


Much love,
Ben
January 23, 2010

Goodnight and joy be with you all.
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"Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin' high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
'We'll meet on edges, soon,' said I
Proud 'neath heated brow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
'Rip down all hate,' I screamed
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull. I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Girls' faces formed the forward path
From phony jealousy
To memorizing politics
Of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists
Unthought of, though, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

A self-ordained professor's tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
'Equality,' I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My pathway led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now." - Bob Dylan
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Desert Snow

- Streams of beautiful lights in the night, but where is my pastureland in these dark valleys... It's snowing over the Zuni Mountains, fat, wet flakes dropped in torrents by looming overhangs of clouds. It's snowing over the roadcut on Route 40, the rudely clipped slice out of the hogback ridge softened by gusting peals of winter laughter. The yellow blare of headlights on the highway is muffled, temporarily. Here, in the winding almost-grid of Gallup neighborhoods, the dogs are quiet, hunkered down under porch steps and fallen elms down in the arroyo. The low clouds over the city are streetlamp orange, brightening the night to the color of a stand-storm.

I've been sculpting, knapping beer-bottles into rosary-beads and knitting chicken-wire and cloth into ersatz fetishes. Once again, I'm considering dropping out of polite society, quitting another respectable job, moving out to the woods, and trying to seek my fortune with my art. After much goading by family members, I reckon it's about time I got some writing published. There's a potential market for my masks and arrowheads in the Ramah Valley, between the Checkerboard (a series of disjointed territories under the auspices of the Navajo Nation) and Zuniland. There are colonies of practical almost-hippies out there, pretty women with a knack for orchard-keeping, and enough gallery space and odd-jobs to keep a refugee from a liberal-arts education busy for a while.

The more I think about English, and read about it, and listen to other people, students mostly, talk about it, the less I find myself wanting to continue teaching it. I'd love to teach limited linguistics in another context, where it wasn't a compulsory course, or, better yet, outside of a brick-and-mortar school altogether. I don't at all like the sort of person I'm, yet again, turning into in this urban place with its urban rules. To quote Jack Forbes:

"Our religion is not what we profess, or what we say, or what we proclaim; our religion is what we do, what we desire, what we seek, what we dream about, what we fantasize, what we think- all of these things- twenty-four hours a day. One's religion, then, is one's life, not merely the ideal life but the life as it is actually lived. Religion is not prayer, it is not a church, it is not theistic, it is not atheistic, it has little to do with what White people cal 'religion.' It is our every act. If we tromp on a bug, that is our religion; if we experiment on living animals, that is our religion; if we cheat at cards, that is our religion; if we dream of being famous, that is our religion; if we gossip maliciously, that is our religion; if we are rude and aggressive, that is our religion. All that we do, and are, is our religion."

I realize that the University of New Mexico will continue to enact a genocidal schooling program whether I'm there to be a minor iconoclast or not. I also do not dismiss the transformative and regenerative effect that iconoclasm is having on my students, and could well have on future students. Nevertheless, I am not convinced that, no matter how much of a maverick I may be, I am not doing more harm than good in living my life this way.

I don't know if writing articles for High Country News and selling masks at rural boutiques will necessarily be any more revolutionary, but I do feel drawn to the land out there. I've had enough close calls and funny coincidences over the past couple of years to reckon that there's somewhere that I ought to be going and something that I ought to be doing that goes well beyond my own petty ambition and cultural blinders. I've got a few hunches as to what that's turning out to be, but such thoughts have no place in writing.

The snow whispers onward over other anxieties down burrows and under sagebrush, beside hearths and writing desks, in many dreams inside this sleeping desert. You've been leading me beside strange waters...



"Was a cowboy I knew in south Texas
His face was burnt deep by the sun
Part history, part sage, part mesquit
He was there when Poncho Villa was young

And he'd tell you a tale of the old days
When the country was wild all around
Sit out under the stars of the Milky Way
And listen while the coyotes howl

And they go
Poo yip poo yip poo
Poodi hoo di yip poo di yip poo
Poo yip poo yip poo
Poodi hoo di yip poo di yip poo

Now the long horns are gone
And the drovers are gone
The Comanche's are gone
And the outlaws are gone
Geronimo is gone
And Sam Bass is gone
And the lion is gone
And the red wolf is gone

Well he cursed all the roads and the oil men
And he cursed the automobile
Said this is no place for an hombre like I am
In this new world of asphalt and steel

Then he'd look off some place in the distance
At something only he could see
He'd say all that's left now of the old days
Those damned old coyotes and me

And they go
Poo yip poo yip poo
Poodi hoo di yip poo di yip poo
Poo yip poo yip poo
Poodi hoo di yip poo di yip poo

Now the long horns are gone
And the drovers are gone
The Comanche's are gone
And the outlaws are gone
Now Quantro is gone
Stan Watie is gone
And the lion is gone
And the red wolf is gone

One morning they searched his adobe
He disappeared without even a word
But that night as the moon crossed the mountain
One more coyote was heard

And he'd go,
Poo yip poo yip poo
Poodi hoo di yip poo di yip poo
Poo yip poo yip poo
Poodi hoo di yip poo di yip poo

Poo yip poo yip poo
Poodi hoo di yip poo di yip poo
Poo yip poo yip poo
Poodi hoo di yip poo di yip poo." - Don Edwards

The Conqueror Gummi Worm

- On the day that I turned twenty-three, I was curled up underneath a dogwood tree... The Fruit Bats sang about an earthquake and I remembered, looking down the Christmas-light-lit kitchen table, the time I was at another head of another kitchen table looking through candle-light at Gwyn, the night my parents weren't home, and we went swimming. I remembered feeling so good and right, at that table, in that light, with that person, for one nineteenth of forever. Lyle Lovett was singing about a leopard.

The flavor of Bushmill's whiskey calls me back to Lara's apartment, where she and Matt and I played cards always and told bad jokes and laughed too loud. I remember the time Elizabeth gave birth, just underneath the flimsy pineboard floor that Coleman would always listen to us laughing through, and tell us to shut up through, and Lara slept through it because we'd been playing gin and talking about civilization and Indians all night. I remember the baby's eyes reflecting blue oaks and acorn woodpeckers in spring sun, over wet grass.

Cooking chili this afternoon, when the air was chilly and wet, I remembered cooking in Christmas-light-lit Portland nighttime another birthday gift to all my friends, and a goodbye dinner to a woman I thought the world of until she mentioned overpopulation. I walked through the Canyon in the evening, hearing the 'whi-whiew' of the wigeons, feeling bad about the two-hundred fish I'd killed, and feeling bad about Makenzie, and feeling a part of every living red-cedar and vine maple and apart from every textbook and bicycle enthusiast, and ready to move on. Then I saw the ghost.

I got scared of heights for the first time in a long time the other day. I was on a barely ledge of sandstone overhanging a fifty-odd foot drop down a sheer cliff, halfway over the Hogback ridge between the Roadrunner Cafe and the White Cliffs. I could have slid it, scraping the hard-earned calluses off my hands, slamming into the wild oats and Russian thistle below with maybe nothing more serious than a broken leg. But I choked; I scrambled up, back towards the sacred cleft in the toothy grin of yellow sandstone where the water flows when there is water. Also there was the matter of the man with the gun at the base of the cliff, and the fact that it was aimed at my hat. I like that hat. My father gave it to me. But I disappeared into the rocks, and the gun walked a mile back to its trailer, and I found a safer passage that only involved a little bit of asshole-tightening sliding out over the edge into free-fall. On the long walk back into the oranging sun, I found the body of a tarantula who had somehow managed to crawl to the edge of the road, her abdomen marked with tire tread.  Robert Bruce, eat your heart out.

Fleetwood Mac sang about honey, and I was in the Blue Meanie, winding down that one hill that comes off the ridgeline, down towards Nevada City, going to Maidu language lessons. Evening slid on into nighttime, when the rain fell, and then back into gloaming, with the piles of sooty snow gathered around the curves at the time of day it'd be a good idea to fall in love. I was thinking about forestry then, and making masks for the festival, and how we were going to bring back the culture with the power of stories. Later, I was at the Willo shooting pool and eating the Willo's good steak and drinking the Willo's bad beer, and later I was in a cabin made out of a house-trailer and some wood playing cards and lying about a waitress and ten pounds of Jerusalem artichoke.

I remember Oakland, and getting high by myself in the octagonal room I was renting, and playing with the cat all night. One night I bicycled back from north Berkeley through crowds of yuppies and the odor of expensive food wafting from expensive houses, with everybody laughter and warm light on the chillying Bay breeze. I wanted so much to belong to these people, to earnestly care about Barack Obama and energy-efficient lightbulbs and protesting the War with petitions. I wanted, more than anything in that moment, to come home to one of those warm houses and be a person with a good job and a loving partner and lots of friends with imported beer. I wanted to eat brie unashamed and listen to NPR uncritically. I wanted, for that one fleeting bicycle instant, to be my father in the comfortable Maryland night, in the kitchen rats will be living in when I show my grandchildren around.

Some time when I was a kid and confused, I ran off into the werewolf night to the cold woods with bare flapping leaves and the distant baying of a dog. The woods spat me out, like the time it spat me out when I pretended to care about the sewer line chewing up my childhood. I came upon a new clearing, fresh with stumps, bearing orange flags and flapping black tarpaulins, and an outlet gushing green slime into the creek. I swore I'd stick around and fight back the suburbs, that I'd shepherd the new oaks and river birches while I lobbied to halt the buldozers. The sky blackened and the the birds all stopped their songs mid-chorus, and the wind picked up the tarps in glossy black wings. "Bullshit," the woods was saying, and it was- I had no intention of sticking around Maryland any longer than I had to, California was the place to be. A cold wind gusted my jacket up all through the silent walk back to comfortable roads and square-cornered houses. That time, though, in the winter, a can dogged my running up the block, up the hill, to the Christmas-lights and the kitchen table.

I'm living in this desert town, and I'm worrying about genocide, and I dream about trees every night, and I'm 24. For someone who hasn't done much with his life, I sure have done a lot. It's quiet now, just crickets and a dog fight somewhere in the far away...



"Big city Europa
July of 64
It's 5AM
Weather blowing bitter off the Baltic.

Car slows beside him as he walks
Hubcaps slow revolution
Jaundiced-looking pockmarked face, round in window
Short greasy black beard

Couple of language stabs, settle on English
"It's cold - I give you ride.
Don't you want to kiss me?"

This goes on halfway across the cobbled bridge
Driver pulls ahead - gets out by the construction fence
Ambles towards him rubbing the bulge in his pants

In his jacket is the revolver
The hand is already in the pocket for warmth and fingers slide easily around wood grips

Slow as that predator's footsteps the gun comes out
Arm straightens, sight blade bisecting yellow forehead
Wind
Blue metal streetlight
Faint twilight shining on the corners of stones.

Wave on wave of life
Like the great wide ocean's roll
Haunting hands of memory
Pluck silver strands of soul
The damage and the dying done
The clarity of light
Gentle bows and glasses raised
To the charity of night

Slow revolution
1985
Crosswise in a hammock in the hot volcanic hills
Its 3AM the night after the air raid
From the ridge she watched A37s, like ugly gulls,
Make a dozen swooping passes over some luckless town
Maybe ten kliks beyond the border
In the distance the Pacific glimmered silver

Now lascivious laughter floats on the darkness from the police post next door-
Male voices - and a woman's -
Little clouds of desire painted around the edges with rum
In the muddy street a pig suddenly screams

Wave on wave of life
Like the great wide ocean's roll
Haunting hands of memory
Pluck silver strands of soul
The damage and the dying done
The clarity of light
Gentle bows and glasses raised
To the charity of night

Pacific glimmers silver
Moon full over shadow mansion
West coast
Can't say when
There is incense and the heat-driven scent of flowers

Tongue slides over soft skin
Love pounds in veins brains buzzing balls of lust
Fingers twine in wet hair
Limbs twist and roll

On the dresser wax drips in slow motion down the long side of
A black candle
Ecstatic halo of flame and pheromone-

Wave on wave of life
Like the great wide ocean's roll
Haunting hands of memory
Pluck silver strands of soul
The damage and the dying done
The clarity of light
Gentle bows and glasses raised
To the charity of night." - Bruck Cockburn

Teaching at the Edge of Empire, Part II

Continued...

I don't mean by all of this to imply that Navajo is a dying culture (or Fiji or Lenape or Makah, for that matter) or that the appellation 'Diné' is in any way appropriate.  I mean to indicate that members of my own Euro-American culture are attempting to eradicate this culture.  The attempt is entirely transparent to us- it just looks like good business, or law and order, or a decent education.  Observe how the cultural transmission here only seems to go one way, and examine the effects of the adoption of this culture, and a pattern much more sinister emerges.

As a teacher, I hold a great deal of authority in the lives of my students.  Never mind that most of them are my age or older, and never mind that I'm still the smartass and the class clown, even now that I'm holding the chalk.  My word counts for much more in class discussions than anyone else's, and we all know it.  I have made a concerted effort to break down some of the artificial hierarchies of the classroom.  I climb fences with my class to sit outside in remarkable places, I rearrange the desks in crazy patterns, I invite my students to teach their own class for the day, I sit in a plain chair like everyone else, and let a student take the comfortable one at the front, I don't lie about what I believe or how I feel, and I encourage my students to do the same, I assign readings from Jack Forbes and Derrick Jensen, I talk endlessly about gendered power, the effects of colonialism, the failure of the state to attend to the needs of the community, non-Western philosophies, the plurality of knowledge, and the importance of living beautifully.  Still, I give grades, I take attendance, I edit papers (OK, that I can justify on the basis of my being a pretty good editor) I have the power to flunk a student, I have the power to expel a student, I have the power to verbally abuse a student without fear of censure, I have the power to lie to a student without being called out on it, I have the power to demolish a student's written record with the swipe of a pen, I have the power to hurt.  All of my students know this, so it will be a very long time, if ever it happens, before we can be people in a place together, learning, rather than a teacher and students in a classroom.  Moreover, I am a role model to my students.  I have a college degree, which they are encouraged to admire by the advertisements that plaster the hallways and the advertisements spewed by advisors and counselors throughout their school career.  I am, despite my humble wages, what they should aspire to be, if these advertisements are to be believed.  When I show up on time, smiling, in my slacks and button down shirt, speaking English, every day, this is the lesson I am truly teaching.  Some days I may rant about the government, others I may challenge people to have fun doing something goofy, but always I am modeling Western Civilization as a good club to be part of, or at least acquiesce to.  Even more than my overtly abusive colleagues, I fear that I am undermining local culture terribly effectively by making school fun.

It's easy to brush this off as me simply being hard on myself- I'm the best damn teacher I can be, and I'm getting results in the ways that I say matter to me; my students are opening up to themselves and to the world, what have I got to complain about?  But I also recognize that in this self-discovery through the classroom, a critique of the classroom itself can only be superficial.  Schooling is genocide, particularly when those schooled are not Westerners by birth or home culture.  In demonstrating an acceptance of this system, by participating enthusiastically in it, I support it, and encourage a support of it by my students.  'After all, I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for school,' I or a successful student of mine might say.  This is a dangerous confusion to make.  We become more ourselves not through school, but in spite of it.  If I can truly educate, it will be because of the time the people in my classes spend together challenging ourselves to think, not because we took a class.  It is we as people- not the class, not the teacher, not the students, not the school- who educate.  It's a tricky line to walk, and if it's merely semantic, might I note that what we say influences what we think, which influences what we do.

If my students and I reinhabit our bodies and our families and our cultures and our landscapes, and praise the good things in life and fight the evil ones and grieve the sad ones, and do it all showing up to work on time with a smile, in slacks and a button down shirt, then I will consider this educational experiment to have been a relative failure.  If, however, my students and I wake up that deep part of ourselves who says 'fuck this nonsense, I want to live,' and praise the good things in life and fight the evil ones and grieve the sad ones, on our own terms, then I will consider this to have been a successful year.  Don't know much about history...


"There once was a teacher of great renown
Whose words were like the tablets of stone
Because it's easier to learn than unlearn
Because we've passed the point of no return
Gather your goods and follow me
Or you will surely die

I was only a child of the city
My parents were children of immigrant stock
So we followed as followers go
Over a mountain with a napkin of snow
And ate the berries and roots
That grow along the timberline
Deeper and deeper the dreamer of love sleeps on a quilt of stars

It's cold
Sometimes you can't catch your breath
It's cold

Time and abundance thickened his step
So the teacher divided in two
One half ate the forests and fields
The other half sucked all the moisture from the clouds
And we, we were amazed at the power of his appetite
Deeper and deeper the dreamer of love sleeps on a quilt of stars

Sometimes we don't know who we are
Sometimes force overpowers us and we cry
My teacher carry me home

Carry me home my teacher
Carry me home
Carry me home my teacher
Carry me home." - Paul Simon

Teaching at the Edge of Empire, Part I

-  What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine...  There's a difference I take pains to impress upon my students between schooling and education.  Schooling is when I, acting as a teacher, know something you don't know, which you ought to know, the knowledge of which will make you a better person, almost as good as me.  Education is the creation of an environment in which people can learn, and become more themselves.  Schooling occurs in a classroom, and involves a teacher who knows, and students who don't.  Education involves human beings in a place.  Schooling encourages getting the right answer.  Education encourages asking good questions.  Schooling results in more productive workers, more concerned consumers, more compliant citizens.  Education results in people who are more fully themselves.  Schooling separates disciplines and subjects, and segregates emotion.  Education synthesizes knowledge types, worldviews, and perspectives, and is conducted entirely in the first person.  Schooling is primarily about the importance of abstraction.  Education is primarily about the importance of experience.  Schooling promotes one right way of thinking and acting.  Education recognizes a plurality of wisdoms.  Schooling requires individuals.  Education requires communities.  Schooling necessitates the use of coercive violence.  Education necessitates a reliance upon love.

From Derrick Jensen's Walking on Water: "The word education comes from the latin root e-ducere, meaning 'to lead forth' or 'to draw out.'  Originally it was a midwife's term meaning 'to be present at the birth of.'  I would contrast that with the root of the word seduce, which is closely related, but with a striking difference.  To educe is to lead forth; to seduce is to lead astray...  Who knows what sort of trouble I could have gotten into had I begun talking about the relationship between classrooms and seduction."

I teach 'transitional studies' English to three classes of mostly Navajo college students.  That's fucked up.  Gallup is a colony town, here at the edge of the largest Indian-held landscape in the continental United States.  The curriculum I have been hired to teach is a colonial curriculum.  Valuing English over Navajo on land illegally, by our own laws, claimed, is gauche at best, genocide at worst.  In this instance, I fear for the worst.  There is no requirement for teachers to learn to speak or write Navajo, nor is there any training in the traditional knowledge systems of this part of the world for incoming faculty.  Students are required to learn how to read and write Academic English and take Western science and mathematics courses.  Kachina dolls, bought at Hopi and Zuni trading posts decorate the directorial offices like trophies.

In Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks said something to the effect that, for all our liberal talk of multiculturalism, unless a legitimate cultural exchange takes place, in which the dominant society gives up some of its deeply held beliefs and adopts some from the 'minority', rather than simply taking the material trappings of that subjugated culture and claiming ownership, we are still in the same colonial straits we were when this whole righteously outraged movement started.

The Navajo word 'Diné', often translated as 'the people', has a quite different meaning.  Literally, diné translates as 'a dying man'; its adoption as national moniker is unsurprising in an era of increased oppression of Navajo women and of ruthless cultural suppression under the rule of the United States.  The culture is being destroyed, and, more to the point, it is being deliberately destroyed.

Failing students because of absences taken to support ill or dying relatives further undermines the traditionally tightly-knit extended family structure common in this part of the world.  Abusive teaching, be it overt, "do your damn reading- do you want to wear buckskin for the rest of your life?"* or implicit, "I expect every single person to be in class on time," reinforces the attitudes of harm that are currently tearing up relationships in town and on the rez, Anglo and Native alike.  Culturally monotone resources ("Daryl boosted his career and calmed his nerves") insist over and over the desirability of being White, working for money, and being an individual separate from other people and from the land.  We teachers no longer need to fixate upon killing the Indian to save the man, this job has been ably accomplished by years of McKinley County public schooling and the ministrations of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, now we need focus only on killing the human to produce the Productive Member of Society.  Bonus points to whoever can guess whose society that is.

This genocide is subtler still, in the sorts of music deemed popular (by which magazines owned by whom?) by the Western clothing styles now so commonplace as to be almost invisible (thou shalt wear slacks and a button-down shirt to work lest ye be disparaged) by the laws enforced, based not upon local traditional conflict resolution techniques but on European city management, by the monetary valuation of goods, by the insistence upon labor as the path to happiness, by the language spoken (English) by the language written (English) by the language untranslated, unsubtitled, unapologized for (English) by the language taught in schools (English).  All of these things destroy Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi culture, just as surely as they've destroyed Fijian culture, Lenape culture, and Makah culture.



Continued below (or above, depending upon your format)...


*Quotations here are from actual teachers, and the writing workbook, respectively.

Hopiland Reggae and the Tarantula Morning

-  So it's so long California, reckon I'll be a-movin' on, I'm leavin' even if I had to crawl…  Stately in the morning blue, before the naked sun crested the eastern mountains and sprayed living gold on the sandstone and Joshua trees, two feral burros ambled past my face.  Stringy muscles bending under pale hide, they drifted like cinematic ghosts through the gummed curtains of my eyes.  My breath blew patterns of fog on the car window.  The air was dry and cold.

                The first spatters of the last monsoon rattle along the roof and bend the elm branches down in heavy, wet gusts.  Out the speckled window, I can see the roadcuts of route 40 and the rolling sandstone escarpments they call the Hogbacks roll away to the east.  The towering cliffs of Superman Canyon rise away from the highway, north, on reservation land.  Between me and the hills squats the city of Gallup, New Mexico.

                The burros faded from view, disappearing noiselessly into rock scree and Mojave scrub.  I rubbed the soreness into my neck and bent my knees back from the dashboard.  The night before, on my perch at the crest of the Black Mountains, I watched glimmering lights dance at the forefront of a desert thunderstorm.  The clouds boiled against the ridge crest like waves on the shore, flaring lightning and echoing thunder down canyons and washes.  Terrified and fixated, I felt the storm flow around me, pushing air into water, and then ebb away into dry billowing wind.  My little candle guttered and waned as meteorites painted the sky.

                I’m teaching again, college this time.  Through a series of fortunate accidents, I managed to land a job as adjunct professor of transitional studies (‘remedial’ English, for students who have little patience for standardized testing) at the University of New Mexico.  All my years of peering cockeyed at words and worrying about nested assumptions is finally coming in handy.  Have also started learning the Navajo language.  With its complicated Canadian diphthongs and strange spelling, it makes me miss the Maid^ tongue.  Though I have a house and a job and a community welcoming and needful of the services I have been acutely trained to render, I miss the ponderosa groves and Manzanita hills of Nevada County.  Despite its rural-suburban wolem maid^m elitism, I want to return there, where bluebirds flutter between valley oaks and gnats dance in the afternoon sun like gods.  The Yuba still speaks to me in dreams.

                Cool water rushing in my eyes, I rattled awake to a desert sky full of stars, and the angry echoing rumbles of someone loud and well-armed marching up the ridgeline.  I threw my bedroll into the car, cleared camp, and booked it down the mountain, past a drunken white pickup and its drunken white crew.  I hid the car in a pocket canyon, and nestled up against the dash to wait for the dawn on the rocks.

                Hopiland, I was informed by an Anglo-trader-turned-Hopi-nationalist, is the continental capital of reggae music.  Toots and the Maytals go out of their way to play at Hotevilla’s tiny plaza.  The feet of everyone from Black Uhuru to Michael Franti have trod the sands of Second Mesa to play before crowds of latter-day Anasazi, furtive kachinas whispering to each other in the back row, lit by bonfires and disco-balls.  Some other white people and I went out, into the hollowed out center of the Navajo Nation, to the land of arid flats and soaring mesas crowned by pueblos indistinguishable from the cliffs that give them substance.  We went to see the butterfly kachinas dance in the last rains of summer.  Or something.  I don’t really know what was going on.  We came back, all of us, sick with exhaustion and unable to move for two days afterwards.  This land is strange to me; I don’t know the names of plants, and already I am stepping on toes.  Hopi reggae, incidentally, is quite good.  Casper Loma-da-wa and his confederates cook up some excellent lyrics.  The beats are fresh.

                Along the grey sandstone, under a Joshua tree, against the backdrop of every western, a hand-shaped shadow moved across the ground.  I struggled out of the car, blinking in the unpolished light, and crept across the floor of the wash.  A tarantula had crawled out of her gossamer burrow to greet the dawn.  Her arms outstretched and waving, the sun’s rays painted the Black Mountain sandstone ochre and crimson , violet and ebony in shadow, luminescent peaches and ambers where the light touched the rock.  The morning’s decoration begun, the artist walked back to her cave.  Startled by the territorial snort of a male burro, I hurried back to the car to ready my departure eastwards, to cover the distance to Gallup before nightfall.

                In smoke and flame, concrete and pen, root and leaf and hair, we are making the world.  Gonna tell you how the west was won...



"Two little feet to get me 'cross the mountain
Two little feet to carry me away into the woods
Two little feet, big mountain, and a
Cloud comin' down cloud comin' down cloud comin' down

I hear the voice of the ancient ones
Chanting magic words from a different time
Well there is no time there is only this rain
There is no time, that's why I missed my plane

John Muir walked away into the mountains
In his old overcoat a crust of bread in his pocket
We have no knowledge and so we have stuff and
Stuff with no knowledge is never enough to get you there
It just won't get you there

 A culture exploded into knickknacks and memories
Eagle and Bear trinkets I don't think it's good
Old man what am I trying to say it's a
It's a messed up world but I love it anyway

Two little feet to get me 'cross the city
My little hand to knock upon your door
My little thing for your little thing
And a big love to lift us up once more to the mountain
Lift us up

Tumble us like scree let us holler out our freedom like a
Like a wolf across a valley like a kid lost in a game
No time no name gonna miss that plane again
And I'm gonna stay here with you baby and kiss you to a good dream
I'm goin' kiss you
Kiss you like you like it

I got two little feet to get me across the mountain
Two little feet to carry me away into the woods
Two little feet big mountain and a
Cloud comin' down cloud comin' down cloud comin' down.
" - Greg Brown


Surprise Endings!

-  I am leaving I am leaving but the fighter still remains...  I was reading the other day about something called a Po function.  You insert the symbol 'Po' in between two or more phenomena, to indicate a relationship.  Often, it's used to show connection where connection would be overlooked, or assumed not to exist.  The example given was 'flying saucers Po rabbits,' and the article followed with two pages of examples of the coincidences surrounding rabbits and flying saucers.  Needless to say, rabbits and flying saucers were all I could dream about all that night.  The next morning, in opening arts and crafts time, the kids were all drawing these strange creatures- every single kid, same creature- some kind of animal with large ears, a toothy grin, and a round body.  They called them 'bunny sharks' and they flew.

I quit my job, I realize, mostly because of pronouns.  Namely, the pronoun 'it', my frustration with my coworkers' wanton use of the word in reference to other people, and in my own inability to find some alternative means of expressing generality without resorting to objectification- short of using the Maidu 'mü' form, which nobody understands down here.  "Why is your dog who tried to bite me 'she' and the hummingbird who sings every morning as you cross the bridge 'it'?"  But I never asked that question.

The poorest people, where I'm going (more or less) in Gallup, don't live in the city, not even in the slums or shanty towns.  They are Dine' mostly, with stragglers and outcasts from other local peoples making up the smaller percentages.  They live out in the desert.  Coal trucks drive through town, with ragged people following along behind, snatching up fallen lumps.  This is, so I'm told, what they heat their homes with.  Nobody in the city knows what they eat.

I heard a story once about an old man who, when he was a younger man, died and became an anteater.  He walked into a hillside where some people gave him secrets.  He stayed there for many years and walked out in the spring.  They called him 'Swordfighter', not because he fought with swords but because he fought swords.  A stick of iron-wood, harder than the hardest steel, was his constant companion, swooping through the air and in his hands.  The stick shattered metal weapons and tools on contact; the gods hate steel.  The old man wasn't an anteater all the time, and became an old man after many years and many children.  The story goes on from there, but it's not my story to tell. 

I'm leaving for the desert soon.  Not going to render an account, or atone for my sins, or 'go native', or contemplate th' being and th' nothingness, or do the tourist thing, or visit a friend, or anything one would usually go to the desert to do.  I'm going to the Inyo Mountains because they're on the way to the desert and I've been dreaming, or hallucinating, or something, their name.  The desert is as far as I can get from home on this continent.  Even culturally, I'll be leaving the United States for the Navajo Nation, learning another language.  I have to know that enough of my heart lives in the manzanita scrub and towering ponderosas to call me back to Yuba country.  I know that my heart lives in the firefly rafts and chirruping night-time of the Maryland moon, but I'm refusing to go back there still.  I'm afraid of the cities there, afraid that I won't be able to pull them down, and that they'll eat me up like this city's been eating me up.  I planned on chopping wood and carrying water for a season in this city, but I wasn't counting on loneliness and the ability of computers to sap my will.  So I'm leaving for the desert soon.  I don't know what I'll find there. 

Lac, secretions from a scale insect that parasitizes the creosote bush, can be collected and used to repair nearly anything, notably ceramic jars, sandals, and cracked engine blocks.  When the last days come, we shall see visions more vivid than sunsets...


"Well I stumbled in the darkness
I'm lost and alone
Though I said I'd go before us
And show the way back home
There a light up ahead
I can't hold onto her arm
Forgive me pretty baby but I always take the long way home

Money's just something you throw
Off the back of a train
Got a head full of lightning
A hat full of rain
And I know that I said
I'd never do it again
And I love you pretty baby but I always take the long way home

I put food on the table
And roof overhead
But I'd trade it all tomorrow
For the highway instead
Watch your back if I should tell you
Love's the only thing I've ever known
One thing for sure pretty baby I always take the long way home

You know I love you baby
More than the whole wide world
You are my woman
I know you are my pearl
Let's go out past the party lights
Where we can finally be alone
Come with me and we can take the long way home
Come with me, together we can take the long way home
Come with me, together we can take the long way home " - Tom Waits

Living in a Time of Monsters

"...But Porcupine said, 'Do you really want me to go to the Man yonder, who eats bushes?  He will come and swallow all the sheep, as they stand in the kraal.  You need not think that even these bushes will be left, for we shall be swallowed with the sheep.  A Man who devours things as he does- walks along eating the very bushes among which he walks!'" - 'Mantis and the All-Devourer'; Zu'twasi story, trans. Paul Radin

-  Welcome the ugly animal...  Most places I've heard about or been, there've been old stories about older times when the world wasn't all the way formed and monsters walked and hid on the earth.  Old women with hair like snakes and apetites for children, great toads in secret caverns, serpents that crawled and flew, ten-thousand-eyed bulls and asses, giants, Tiamat, Lilith, Yngir, the Titans, Terrible-Lizard-Who-Lost-All-His-Children, the All-Devourer, and countless others.  These individuals are different from the fauns and fees, those who the Lakota call 'common spirits,' different from Nagas and Tengu, different from the Baba Yaga, Humbaba, and other notable heroes of the wood, and different still from the Protectors of the Children, lake guardians, black dogs, or any 'cryptozoological' mystery you'd care to name.  These old time monsters had nothing to do with the Trickster, in any of his guises.  The old time monsters were insatiable eaters, or wanton destroyers- killers, land-flatteners, bellowers, and nuisances of the greatest degree.  Teachers, too, by example if not in their words, decayed or consciously ignored over the years.  Every hero twin or trickster who vanquished, banished, or transformed one of these old time monsters took from the encounter a lesson, which was subsequently passed down in story and song.  We remember those stories when we hear them, even if we've been cut off from our ancestors' land, I think because we recognize some element of truth deeper than the watered-down accounts laid out in textbooks of how the past ought to have been.  But most of us have forgotten so much, and have buried the old understandings under a barrage of scientific superstition and dead-end rationalism, that the substance of the lessons of the monsters has slipped apart.

Every day, moving through the city from one irrelevant point to another, I pass by this one area where all of these people are walking without looking at each other, or trying to sleep, or selling pot, or moaning, or talking at nobody, sometimes into machines.  There are a couple of street trees that are old enough they're straining at the sidewalk above their roots there.  I see rusted marquees and fresh ads for movies.  There is no ground visible, but the asphalt smells like urine.  It's loud there in the morning, hardly any people around, just clacking sounds and engine sounds and far-off boat sounds.  There's an old holy hill I can only see when the fog's burned off earlier than usual, towering over that part of the city.  It's too steep to build roads on, but whoever does these things put a science museum on the top, to kill whoever was still managing to live there, I guess. 

This Indian thing I've been on, I think I've been more of a colonist about it than I realize.  I mean, my intention is to do right by the land, whatever land I happen to be on, and my sad, lonely, confused human self's trying to find a village of people who'll love me for my crazy ideas, and who I'll love for theirs.  The way I reckon it, folks with extant roots to a piece of land, and who heard stories about the way it was when humans were people there, are liable to know a heck of a lot more about how to do this living thing well than us disconnected idiots living on dead ground and pretending that words and actions are the same thing.  On this continent, that means people who look up, or tired, when you say the word 'Indians'.  But I ask too many questions without really thinking about the answers I've been given, and I trust books too much, and I fear, for all I'd genuinely love to see the Maidu language as the dominant tongue in Maidu country, I am excessively proud of my currently unique ability to barely speak it.  I am concerned not enough about my co-option of 'Indian' cultural identity.  My mother's grandmother was Cherokee, so the family says, and with the Keetoowah band's no-blood-quantum rule for membership, I reckon the geneologies could fix me up with some official paperwork, but that would be cheating.  I was raised White, was educated White, was told all my life I was White; I'm a White man, with all of the disgusting implications that label brings up in me.  Though I've allied my understandings with the stated aims of the American Indian Movement, and bawled my eyes out over first-hand accounts of the genocide, I don't live my life any differently, in an activist way, than I did when I was an asshole scientist.  I'm not exactly busting dams or firebombing the BIA, here.  I mean, I've taught anti-colonial attitudes to any students of mine who'll listen, but that's pretty minimal; words are empty if there isn't experience behind 'em.  At the moment, I am hurting this place more than I am helping it, just by living the way everyone else here is living.

I see my feet that crush continents, and my hands that wring mountains into slivers of tin.  My eyes turn to stone what I see, deadening birds and plants into Latin names.  My veins are tar and asphalt, my blood petroleum.  When I speak, I speak out of a hundred angry mouths, and where I defecate no plants will grow.  I am eating up the forests.  I am drinking up the seas.  I am flattening the earth.  I am killing the world. 

We are living in a time of monsters again, and we are the monsters.  I wonder what stories the grandchildren will tell about these days.  I don't think I'll ever be an indigenous person, but perhaps my descendents will be.  What's a skin-held body anyway, if you don't have a three-verb-tense linguistic system?  In our lair in the desert places of the earth, we are waiting for the heroes.  The monster's loose...



"Tiny darling ghost holder
Tiny darling ghost holder
You our soft spirit breather and
You our bark skinned weaver
Remember you could weep fire
Remember you could weep fire with wild eyes
With wild eyes, oh those wild eyes

If you ring your cells like bells in a garden that
You plant your burdens way deep down in
And water them daily from wells of salty
Guilt for sons who pollinate the deadly
That wild eye, oh that wild eye

Papa my pine whistler sparrow-eyed sun misser
Papa my pine whistler sparrow-eyed moon blisser
Mama my jaw clincher spirit mouthed ghost dancer
Mama my vein braider thousand year bone burner
Mama my tongue twister thousand pronged antlers
Mama my tongue twister thousand pronged antlers
Mama my vein braider thousand pronged antlers, antlers
And oh her wild eyes, oh her wild eyes

So I will ring my cells like bells as you
Bind your father's molecules with roots of silver
Pierce him cedars with eyes like fingers
Picking bloody flowers
His wild eyes, oh his wild eyes

Papa my pine whistler sparrow-eyed sun misser
Papa my pine whistler sparrow-eyed moon blisser
Mama my jaw clincher spirit mouthed ghost dancer
Mama my vein braider thousand year bone burner
Mama my tongue twister thousand pronged antlers
Mama my tongue twister thousand pronged antlers
Mama my vein braider thousand pronged antlers, antlers
And oh her wild eyes, oh her wild eyes

Tiny green moss collector
Sweet tiny green moss collector
Remember you could catch fire
Remember you could catch fire with wild eyes
With wild eyes, oh with those wild eyes

And once the river is rolling lower
We'll gather lichen from the boulders
We'll keep it dry inside our lockets
We'll put this town down into our pockets
We'll try.

To leave these branch arms behind
The swaying hands of pines
Their needles tugging at your skin
Trying to pull you back deep in their wooden womb
Of a hundred hearts hanging suspended, moth-eaten
Those muscles the size of your fist
All floating around your head
Not knowing who they're a loving
Not knowing how fast they're a pumping
Not knowing how hard they're a beating
Not knowing who they're a punching
Those muscles the size of your fist
All floating around your head
And throwing punches like we throw the stones to
The bottom of river beds
Who knows whose next
To watch from under the currents
The rapids rapidly raging while rapid
While we're rapidly blinking our wild
Our wild eyes." - Mariee Sioux



Into the Land of Great Forgetting

"...While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core." -
W.B. Yeats, The Lake Isle of Innisfree


-  We'll find a new way of living...  So, I came back to write some words about living in a city, and I discovered a bunch of poker-obsessed European people claiming to be my friends.  The internet, I am given to understand, is not to be trusted.

It was a while ago now that I last was in the Yuba river, naked and a little drunk with some friends and some people and the cool sculpted granite and the river.  I remember the chirruping song of the dippers, and in dreams I still feel them flitting by, and I can smell the good trout smell of rapids. 

One afternoon when I was back in New York, I spent a beautiful lonely spring day inside reading borrowed comic books.  I remember this one panel, this full-page panel, where the protagonist is kneeling on the ground, wearing an anguished expression, and the speech bubble read: "I remember everything!"

I'm in the city now, in Oakland in the room above the place the old woman was shot two weeks ago because she was somebody's mother.  I live under the walnut tree, by the old road they used to walk carrying shells from the coast and obsidian from the hills.  I am in the belly of five rivers, in the shadow of the mountain who sung the world out of mist, downhill and south of the woman who makes new fire every year.  I forget this sometimes, and I tell people "I'm in Oakland now," and when I tell them where in Oakland, they make shocked sounds and I wonder if maybe they're seeing something where they are that I don't see here.  Anyway, I figure being shot at is like being growled at by a mountain lion.  If the old man bothers to snarl at you, it means you're OK; it's when you don't know where he is that he's liable to cause you some mischief.

All cities are, in all the ways that matter, the same city.  That's different from the way all beeches are one beech, or all mosquitoes are the mosquito nation.  All cities are the same city because some people wanted it to be that way.  They were scared and they were lonely and they never got a chance to get initiated on account of all their grandparents got killed by plague or other lonely, scared people, so they ran from their ancestors and hid as best they could.  'Course their ancestors live everywhere (all places being one place) so the only way they could do that was to make their home in a no-place of dead ground and walls.  And of course those fearful people couldn't have healthy folks running around, walking right out the front gates into the bush like it was home or something, so they ground the bones of those small, beautiful, shell-and-obsidian-trading people into concrete and churches, and they wept in their hearts, though they did not know why.  This happened in a lot of places.  The reason all cities are the same city is the same reason schools and prisons look the same.

I forget that sometimes, so when people ask me where I'm living, I say "Oakland," and elaborate only as far as the names written on green strips of metal hung on poles by the places where foxes and cats meet their end and the pigeons are careful.

I see a colony of manroot vines growing over the BART tracks as I bicycle to work most mornings.  They are tearing the concrete to pieces.  Every spring the thick roots, as big around as your waist, sprout vigorous tendrils that race upwards to the light, seeking any chink in bark or cement.  Come summertime, the spiny fruit is thick on the vine and the leaves are browning for the summer drought.  They have been here since the bay was dry prairie, grazed by creatures that, from a distance, looked almost like elk.  They have seen the small, beautiful people crushed into the mist of songs from which they were sung.  They have seen the forests hewn into park benches.  They have seen the rapid transit system, and they have seen the bridges, and they have seen the tenements, and they have seen the gunfights, and they have seen the roads.  They are growing over the BART tracks; in the shadow of the mountain, the manroot is growing over the BART tracks.  Every morning I see these plants and I remember a little more.

When I sleep I hear bŭbŭm 'cham, the wind-lessening, wind-singing trees speaking in tall voices in the green-dark places of the world.  In the Yuba, in the cold fish-bright water, I remember floating below the moonlight in a Maryland swimming pool.  It was the last night, and I was the last in the water, under the water, naked in the moon.  I close my eyes, and forget about the poker players, and the walls, and the road noise, and I can hear far-off the sound of shell beads clinking together, so soft, so gentle, like water.  Hold my hand and we're half way there...




"Yeah, when I was only seventeen,
I could hear the angels whispering
So I droned into the words and wandered aimlessly about
Until I heard my mother shouting through the fog
It turned out to be the howling of a dog
Or a wolf to be exact, the sound sent shivers down my back
But I was drawn into the pack and before long
They allowed me to join in and sing their song
So from the cliffs and highest hill, yeah
We would gladly get our fill
Howling endlessly and shrilly at the dawn
And I lost the taste for judging right from wrong
For my flesh had turned to fur, yeah
And my thoughts, they surely were
Turned to instinct and obedience to God.

You can wear your fur
like a river on fire
But you better be sure
if you're makin' God a liar
I'm a rattlesnake, Babe,
I'm like fuel on fire
So if you're gonna' get made,
Don't be afraid of what you've learned

On the day that I turned twenty-three,
I was curled up underneath a dogwood tree
When suddenly a girl with skin the color of a pearl
She wandered aimlessly, but she didn't seem to see
She was listenin' for the angels just like me
So I stood and looked about
I brushed the leaves off of my snout
And then I heard my mother shouting through the trees
You should have seen that girl go shaky at the knees
So I took her by the arm
We settled down upon a farm
And raised our children up as gently as you please.

And now my fur has turned to skin
And I've been quickly ushered in
To a world that I confess I do not know
But I still dream of running careless through the snow
An' through the howlin' winds that blow,
Across the ancient distant flow,
It fill our bodies up like water till we know.

You can wear your fur
Like a river on fire
But you better be sure
If you're makin' God a liar
I'm a rattlesnake, Babe,
I'm like fuel on fire
So if you're gonna' get made,
Don't be afraid of what you've learned." - Blitzen Trapper
.
.
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Shangri La

-  Peace and quiet and open air...  I think November is the month of correspondence with women I have loved.  Spent the last week biking up and down the ridge to Grass Valley, where I'm doing some landscaping for Habitat for Humanity.  I know every pothole and steep bit of grade along that canyonside.  Took a tumble one afternoon and busted up my arms and legs, but I can ride well enough for it.  I'm teaching now, high-schoolers, and doing a bit of permaculture on the side.  Spent the morning learning about planting and pruning apple trees from the local Master Gardeners.
Small, slow thing happen in my life here.  It's quiet, in my little cabin in the woods, and I'm often lonely.  Every morning I walk down to the bath-house to fill up containers for drinking water.  Lately, my breath's billowed out in misty swirling clouds, backlit by the sun rising over the far ridge.  The winter rainclouds brood over ponderosa hillsides, little drops muffled by the pine duff.  My little garden will sprout gloriously come springtime.
I'm writing again, after a long time away.  The weights on my heart are lightened a little, remembering smiles I haven't thought about in years.  Outside, the wind is picking up, carrying yellow catalpa leaves in stumbling flights across the lawn.  Go out to the meadow; scare off all the crows...
.
.
.
"Every step of the way we walk the line
Your days are numbered, so are mine
Time is pilin' up, we struggle and we scrape
We're all boxed in, nowhere to escape

City's just a jungle, more games to play
Trapped in the heart of it, trying to get away
I was raised in the country, I been workin' in the town
I been in trouble ever since I set my suitcase down

Got nothing for you, I had nothing before
Don't even have anything for myself anymore
Sky full of fire, pain pourin' down
Nothing you can sell me, I'll see you around

All my powers of expression and thoughts so sublime
Could never do you justice in reason or rhyme
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

Well, the devil's in the alley, mule's in the stall
Say anything you wanna, I have heard it all
I was thinkin' about the things that Rosie said
I was dreaming I was sleeping in Rosie's bed

Walking through the leaves, falling from the trees
Feeling like a stranger nobody sees
So many things that we never will undo
I know you're sorry, I'm sorry too

Some people will offer you their hand and some won't
Last night I knew you, tonight I don't
I need somethin' strong to distract my mind
I'm gonna look at you 'til my eyes go blind

Well I got here following the southern star
I crossed that river just to be where you are
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drownin' in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothin' but affection for all those who've sailed with me

Everybody movin' if they ain't already there
Everybody got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now

My clothes are wet, tight on my skin
Not as tight as the corner that I painted myself in
I know that fortune is waitin' to be kind
So give me your hand and say you'll be mine

Well, the emptiness is endless, cold as the clay
You can always come back, but you can't come back all the way
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long." - Bob Dylan

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Quixote in his Library
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Venustiano Carranza, President of Mexico
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So come and swallow me, follow me, I'm trav'lin' alone

Blue water's my daughter

'n I'm gonna skip like a stone

I'm leavin' my fam'ly

Leavin' all my friends

My body's at home

But my heart's in the wind

Where the clouds are like headlines

Upon a new front page sky

And shiver me timbers, I'm sailin' away

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