The only good Indian


  • Life

    Poem Commentary

    Based upon my time on a farm outside of Ontario Oregon. I was the Camp Foreman. I tended to the welfare of 36 Navahos, 40 Mexicans and 17 mainily crazy demented white guys. i treated all of the same. Like I would want to be treated. This worked out well. I was told upon being hired not to lend them money not to drink with them that i would be disrespected and to lock up my things. I, of course, did the opposite. I took them into town on paydays in a lagre van. That was part of my job. I drank wth them loaned them money never locked up my things. Money was paid back. A pair of new levi's was stolen once.. Later returned, washed. I drank with them in town except at the places that 'didn't serve Indians'. and I myself didn't drink at those places. I treated them equally i listened to their stories. I watched the sons take care of their fathers and the young take care of the older men. It was a learning life experience. And I still treasure it.

    The only good Indian

    a cloud of dust 10 Navajos and a white guy
    on an MG Midget
    looking like some surrealistic miniature image
    of the Calcutta Express
    chugging’ down a gravel road out side of Ontario Oregon
    we had been at a bar in town
    settled down to a table and waited for beer
    the bar maid called me over
    I thought she had the hots for me
    she said ‘we don’t serve Indians’
    I thought about that,
    and said fuck you
    me and the Navajos have the top down
    crusin’ and boozin’
    on some dirt road outside of Ontario
    tossing empty beer cans
    bearing witness for being totally into the moment
    I park on the bank of a small stream
    we pass around the Thunderbird and more beer
    they tell me the story of their beliefs
    Don't throw rocks at a whirlwind
    It will throw them back and chase you
    Don't whistle or you will call up the wind
    not to look at clouds moving in the sky
    Or you will be a slow runner
    do not watch a river flowing swiftly
    or you will get dizzy and fall in
    The death of the sun and of the moon is a frightful
    and ominous thing
    do not look at a shooting star unless
    you blow at it
    I wish I had listened more
    we finish off the beer and the wine
    because, I am after all, the camp foreman
    and it is my job to make sure the Indians
     do not bring
    booze onto the farm, I am very good at this
    we go back to the farm
    dismount emerge fall off the MG
    we go into the my barracks
    where resides the only TV
    I am also keeper of the TV
    we watch a cowboy and Indian movie
    on an old black and white
    the TV Indians talk
    the Indians with me laugh
    I ask why
    they say because the Indians on the TV are supposed to be
     the savage Sioux
    but they are really Navajo saying that
    the ‘white man sucks’
    sounded good to me
    we all laughed

    tomorrow the Navajos from the Tuba City
     and the Farmersville reservations
    will move irrigation pipe around the 10,000 acre farm
    at 5 cents a pipe
    tomorrow I will take one of them into town
    to see a doctor at the clinic
    because I am, the camp foreman

    a 17 year old Navajo
    with bright eyes and copper skin
    a clean white shirt new Levi’s
    hair that no white man sees when undone 
    and hangs to the floor is now tied up
    into a tight bun just below the bottom of the back of his straw cowboy hat the doctor at the clinic tells me that he will have to be sent back to the reservation

    I ask why
    the doctor says that he has TB,
    I ask what will happen to him
    and the doctor says simply
    that he will die

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    Teardrops commented on The only good Indian


    All to ture and now they cure TB but still treat the indian like a second rate citizen and time goes on great write Marie

    Poetry is not the expression of personality but an escape from personality.

    T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) American-English poet and playwright.

    train64’s Poems (87)

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