Washing Dishes in Laramie  
    Dancing Bear

There is a certain music
in the sound of dishes
clink-clanking in water
and on the rack like
Beethoven's Pathetique.
More than just a worker's
song to make the night
move faster through its
rinse cycle tedium.

Out back he smokes
a bummed cigarette
without a prayer or
appreciation of tobacco
as an offering or gift or
whatever the hell
an ancestor would think.
Watches the porcelain stars.

His long hair under a net,
the stained white apron
mapwork of a life like his.
He was happy with this
honest work; his chapped
hands, hangnails, crimped
muscles and the honor

ache of standing bones.

On Nights When Billy's Father
         is in Jail

    Dancing Bear

It used to be that he would stay home,
study the cut corners of their HUD house,

but now he goes to the elder, Lone Horse,
sits at the fire drinking tea,
listens to the stories of his people.

The spider and the coyote,
the blue soldiers, generals, and colonels.
The pointing government men
dressed for anything but a desert.

Horse shows him the stars. Points
at the snake slithering the horizon

and the streaking Kachinas.
They laugh as they know
this changes everything

about a father in jail.

Dancing Bear lives in San Jose, CA. He is Chippewa. His poems, art, interviews, reviews and photographs have been published in many journals, including New York Quarterly, Rattle, Zuzu's Petals Quarterly, Slipstream, Rio Grande Review, Pearl, and Poetry Motel. He is Editor-In-Chief of the on-line magazine Disquieting Muses and the 1999 winner of the Mindfire Chapbook Contest for his manuscript Blue Hand, later this year a chapbook Atlas (Red Fruit Press) will be released. Dancing Bear is the host of a weekly poetry show "Out of Our Minds" for public supported KKUP 91.5 FM in Cupertino, CA.


In Posse: Potentially, might be ...