On-again-off-again tears mixed with sweat and suntan lotion
Too much disbelief for too many reasons
Sweltering afternoon sun giving birth to a rash on my skin, with
Hand after hand offering friendly gestures from car windows
telling us that we are welcome here--
that we are a certain shade of Warrior for travelling this many miles by bike
and every shade is One
He waves to us from his front porch, broken fence, tin can rectangle
He offers us water from the front yard spicket
He asks us to stay a while, visit, ask him anything we want
On-again-off-again tears mix with centuries of sweat--no suntan lotion
Too much heartache for too many reasons
Sweltering afternoon sun heating his home like an oven
He gestures us in, tells us he doesn't show many people his home
His grandfather puzzle-pieced together on the wall
Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, posters with AIM emblems
The Tribal Council banters on the local radio about "cultural education"
He excuses his French because Bull shit... those fuckers... they're all lining their pockets while we get nothin'!
Look at this! I get my water from my front yard and go to the bathroom in an outhouse!
He pounds his hand on his bare chest
Change our hearts! We need to change our hearts!
His tears resurface just before he swallows them in alcohol-laced orange juice
He smiles wide, lips receeding without showing his teeth
Pauses, gazes out past the rolling hills, past the pine trees, past the sky
This was a damn Holocaust!
The Jews survived their Holocaust.
The American Negroes survived their Holocaust.
I hope we can survive ours.
I guess I'm still here.
Everybody has opinions. I have an opinion!
But nobody asks a dumb Indian.
They don't represent me!--
I am LAKOTA!
His pride makes my insides crumble like the Badlands on fast foward
He is anything but a dumb Indian
He is LAKOTA!
Sacred as the hills, the trees, the sky
Sacred as the knowledge that We Are All Related
The afternoon sun sets into the early evening
Our rested legs swing over our bikes to pedal their last 16 miles
On-again-off-again tears mixed with sweat and sunburn
Too much overwhelm for too many reasons
We fly down a 3-mile stretch, balancing between rumble strip and grass
Between heartbreak and holocaust
Between emotional and physical exhaustion
We exist on a tight rope
Our falling means our death
And we must survive to tell our story
We must survive to create new stories
Which are really ancient stories
Which is really all of existence on repeat
5 miles in the distance we spot a red barn-like building at the bottom of a hill
The same hill where we stood two summers ago
dreaming an impossible journey of carrying ourselves back
with our own two legs, two wheels
Deep breaths, not bothering to excuse my French
Holy FUCK; how did we do this?!
We turn the bend with a mile to go, wind swooping us along
Our wheels meet the dirt-road driveway and
I sob like a an over-tired child who can't find her blanket
Except the only thing I can't find is a suitable explination of
How we made something wonderful from something impossible
He grins like a proud papa and says
We did it together!
I sob some more and then we mount our bikes for the 100 yard dash up the driveway
We're met by smiling faces, wonder, disbelief, questions--
But none that I will answer
Not in words
The medicine wheel is lush with tomato and pepper plants--
Don't forget the weeds--
My body rests beside them, heart bouncing out of my chest
I make out the sky through sunglasses and teary eyes
Feeling unbelievable evidence in my aching legs
my exploding heart
my dumbfounded mind
the inifinite sky--
That impossible visions are made manifest all the time
and the unlikliest of events are sometimes just
Forgotten potential, forgotten strength
The Warrior Spirit that waits for our awakening