Tent Shaker Voice
by Charles Plymell
It was the voice of the Game Lord
only heard when you know it
at the intersection where
ancient people walked the four paths
in four directions were decimated, tortured and enslaved.
But in every eye the universe is never forgotten
marked the rock where we heard the voice
coming from the great plains when it was a sea and from the
heaven’s night wind galaxies
shaking conical huts of the inverse
whose breath formed the world of animals and
The Hopi made crossed their trails outward from the point of
north east south and west
like a backward swastika
some went far south to Aztec land to call again their voices from space.
The Apache stayed and fought invaders first, the Spaniards on the
quest for metal
for hundreds of years tribes roamed.
Navaho north path fire camp at rock the Kansa, Crow and
Pawnee and later Sioux.
The swastika was bent to turn forward in Europe
for destruction and conquering races later
same claw that came to the land of Apache who
turned their outstretched hands upward toward the sun the
dolphins of the water had peace already
brains as large as humans but no hands to attack.
When the rock crumbles the human land also from across the sea
they came to steal and plunder
the native paradise taught them how to scalp.
Cut out women’s genitals to decorate their saddle horns
cut off their breasts to sew purses and sell as
souvenirs on Turk street in San Francisco.
Gold rush greed through centuries became scalps of future like
paper floating in the great dust
numbers the figures of accountant’s world trade
from others bringing their gods with their names
having spinal cords for brains
oil the new gold.
All forgotten in the tally of innocent deaths
criminals have no account of their spoils
left for indifferent history of blood
fires, earthquakes, floods each human decimals
trapped in time like animals chewing off their limbs for freedom
that all religious disciples will forever eat away
On the accountant’s tally for each animal killed there is an
equivalent sacrifice in horror
like each baby screaming in the prairie blood
of its mother dying in the dust from horses’ hooves.
Each cry is amplified into the voice rising again where rocks hold
life inside them
from other regions like carbon and crystal
separate in memory, composite in carnality
hot on inside cold on the out
the boundaries no longer hold
the rock crumbles outside television & alternate realities.
Even the dream of a shy animal
fascinated, frightened, alone in flight
explodes center of self like waiting chemicals of the sun
faces become silent space
dreams the only animation without hands
blown together in the world of flesh
the odyssey of chances inconceivable
voice of both animal and human in catastrophe.
Below the rock
people turned like the lines of gears
the forward swastika of war departments
same war now in Afghanistan.
Karma has no footprints, no court, whoever is slain pays equally
like the trapped beaver or the bear cousin
the piles of dead Buffalo for sport
nature regurgitates the toxin and rot
no eyes in her upheavals
too late now to pay for those who wantonly kill
no catastrophic accounting now, no tallies or equalities.