Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Excerpt - Novel in Progress

I am attracted to violence from wherever it is that I come. If it is violence against the whites I am drawn to it like a bee to spring flowers. Like a coyote to weaker prey.

My tipi is the only one, a lonely sentinel. I am standing in a small bare space in front of the entry flap, in that space I dance with myself when loneliness becomes unbearable. A long slope flows away beyond me to the east, a carpet of wild grasses swaying in the wind, and on clear days the distant peaks of the Ouachitas are gray shadows low against the sky, easily mistaken for smoke trails except they hang without moving. Today I watch ragged chevrons of geese heading away from the snowy lands, cutting the sky like a canoe prow. I am lonely for my people but I cannot find them, so I spend long days in silence. Within this silence I hear many things that I never heard from within the company of others.

Did you know sand has a voice?

It is true. Sand sings in a constant keening sound, as does the prairie grass. The grass calls to the buffalo as well as the field mice, whereas the sand calls for water. The wind sings many songs, depending upon the season and whether drought or rainy. Rain grass sings with a joy whereas dry grass sounds like the crying of a hungry infant. The spirits have taught me to listen with the ears within my head and not the ears that are pierced with silver hoops. These are the things the elders should teach us, but no one ever taught me these things. The reason, I have come to believe, is that they did not know. I believe unknown spirits have adopted me, have chosen to teach me of the many things that live just beneath the surface of what can be seen, or felt, or touched. What can be seen is a river; what cannot be seen are fish.

I am standing in front of my solitary tipi with its beautiful lightning patterns, looking toward the distant mountains as I decipher the songs of the grasses, when I hear the first shots. They are so far away as to almost be hidden by the song of wind and grass. But I know too well the sound of gunfire, so I cock my head toward the direction from which it comes, and ask the world to stop singing for just a moment, if it does not mind. If I close my eyes and ignore other songs, I can turn in slow circles until I feel the direction of origin within my belly. And now I am like an eagle skimming above the world at a great speed, just above treetops and hills, drawn like a buzzard to the scent of blood.

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