Tag Archives: powwow

Indin Souljer Boy

16 Apr

With utmost respect and honor I thank those who give it all…

What’s he to do these days?
No jobs, no prospects,
Where, here? On the rez?
Where, there? In the city?
Might as well, cop a meal,
Nice suit and a bad haircut.

Might as well make grandma happy.
He can sit stoic in the frame
next to Grandpa’s and Red Cloud’s.
swap stories with daddy and uncle Jim,
“Iraq IS NOT the new Vietnam, cuz only half the country
supports Iraq. We had nobuddy.”

Yeah, and then he can gourd dance.
Standing there, proud to have served his country.
gallant and valiant, he’ll extend his hand to
gracious shawled mothers.
Might as well feel good about it.
Does he really need to know what he fought for?

After all, he’s a member of two nations
with two flags and two eagles, one revered, one defiled.
Isn’t it his duty to defend the not so green anymore land;
all that we have left, from new conquistadors?
Isn’t it his turn to pick a good day to die
In the name of broken promises?

Might as well right? After all,
they’ll sing songs for him,
bake cakes for him,
hang quilts for him
name mountains after him (just like Piestewa)

And then with his last good breath given in the best way,
won’t his sacrifice finally be right?

-Asani Charles
Copyright 2/7/2005


For Shane

15 Apr

I remember dancing in the rain
thinking that a redblack brown girl
in a mestizo neighborhood could swing
like Fred Astaire.
I’m sure they laughed from crowded windowsills
but I cared less, I was free under Lost Angels’
acid rain. I was eight then.

I remember craving rain at ten.
Mama played The Stones and a new
kinda blues was made,
‘neath rain, in the grooves of “Miss You,” in our
slow motion sways in the living room
of our El Sereno apartment.
I was ten then.

It went on like that for eight years.
And then the rain changed on me, shaking
my bones and rattling hidden insides. A
fear of living replaced Astaire and Jagger.
Showers couldn’t wash it all, something was
always left behind.
I was no longer new then.

Still, somehow, the water would come and
remind me of those gray mornings on Lowell.
I’d smile and try to keep my mind on the road
driving itself before me. Living was no longer fearful
but a familiar practice, caught amongst the
calls of duty, and
scary monsters under twin beds.

So today’s rain is particularly peculiar.
I’m not reminded of lemonade sales
for movie seats.
I’m not remembering mama lip-synching with
her British bloke.
I don’t even flinch at the lurching storms
of my early independence.

No, I’m reminded of you.
I hear you now, dancing
like clouds are your arena,
like thunder is your drum,
crafted by His hands
just for your scissor-like mocs
and flying bustles.

The lightning is your honor beat
bravado; sticks in the air as you
catch them on time.
The panting rain the atmos’
lulu to your aerobatics.
The brushing wind a swelling
whistle call for “one more!”

And of course the deafening tumbles
are necessary, how else will you
land with a big finish?
Hunh, no wonder you
test even the forces of nature,
bending them with a savvy grin
The choreographer’s always right.

What a pleasant find!
Thank you nephew, you summoned back the
theater of the rain. Now that little brother’s
gone to find you, you’ll never dance alone again.
Twin storm funnel clouds, coup sticks in tandem,
light up the purple Oklahoma sky.

© Asani Charles 8/7/08, 4/15/12

Grand Entry

11 Apr

M.C. bellows,
“Dancers, last call for Grand Entry!
Tack on that duct tape, it’s powwow time!”
But Susie Walks Again is still getting
her hair braided.

Drum roll call rumbles through the arena,
circling outside the ring of white
vendor canopies, out to the parking lot
where brown van conversions double
as champion dancer dressing rooms.

Graceful Northern Buckskin Grandmas
make their way to the East Side.
Spit-smoothing the braids of tiny tots.
While seasoned Southern Straight Gents
have one last drag and joke before stepping out.

Finally, Susie’s braids are done. She runs,
soars, nearly flys, her fancy shawl is airborne.
She’s a renegade butterfly, but she catches
herself. Smooth now, no panting.
She smile nods at Karlie Charles, first place last.

The staff & colors are in first, carried by
Hanoi Vets for Code Talkers.
Families rise under EZ-UPs,
dads spotchecking
for poacher photographers.
The fireblast of spectra bustles and
Vibrant heartbeat of the drum

Grand Entry

© Asani Charles 2002