Dance of Tears, Chief Nobody - Michael Lee Johnson

I’m old Indian chief story
plastered on white scattered sheets,
Caucasian paper blowing in yesterday’s winds.

I feel white man’s presence
in my blindness-
cross over my ego my borders
urinates over my pride, my boundaries-
I cooperated with him until
death, my blindness.

I’m Blackfoot proud, mountain Chief.

I roam southern Alberta,
toenails stretch to Montana,
born on Old Man River −
prairie horse’s leftover
buffalo meat in my dreams.
Eighty-seven I lived in a cardboard shack.
My native dress lost, autistic babbling.
I pile up worthless treaties, paper burn white man.

Now 94, I prepare myself an ancient pilgrimage,
back to papoose, landscapes turned over.

I walk through this death baby steps,
no rush, no fire, nor wind, hair tangled −
earth possessions strapped to my back rawhide −
sun going down, moon going up,
witch hour moonlight.

I’m old man slow dying, Chief nobody.

An empty bottle of fire-water whiskey
lies on homespun rug,
cut excess from life,
partially smoked homemade cigar-
barely burning,
that dance of tears.