Saturday, 18 of May of 2024

Karen Coulter – Big Seated Mountain


Dzil Nchaa Si An (Big Seated Mountain)

White clouds racing across deep blue
fast, steady as the light footsteps
of the Apache runners
concentrating with each step
all energy into the earth
to heal her wounds,
vowing protection
asking guidance
spirit giving back to the source of all beings
earth returning strength
up through runners’ legs
so sweat drops unnoticed in the long climb
sacred earth objects giving strength
through runners’ hands
grasping rock and feathers
resistance and flexibility
the earth power felt by all
exchanged in smiles

Scattered throughout the sky island forest
red squirrel leaps, gathers, nestles and chatters
living ancient natural life
their dance of joy and death
as the cold metal helicopters whir louder
and louder
National Guard with infra-red sensors
buzzing the squirrels’ defenders
the mountain’s defenders
as we slam dance the caribou polka
threaten their monopolies with our poems and songs
our hugs and unity in purpose spread across the meadow
like wildflowers
Oppression nothing new to the Apache people
no longer new to us
borne silently by the great spinning cycles of life.

last night our tree climbers were tracked and stopped
but there are more of us
more life in us
and we have time–
time, and blood pulsing warm through our hearts
We don’t just come together to passively watch a movie,
to read the news digested for us
we come to dance beyond our shattered cultures
to reshape our tattered lives
by living for more than ourselves
by breathing for the squirrel
by running for the first people
by climbing the mountain to protect her
until glass flies in shards
from the passive observatories
mimicking a deranged spectator society
the glass flies glinting in the hot sun
reflecting our elders–the trees, the animals,
the sky, the people who grasp real life
the concrete crumbles back into dirt
the metal bars erode slowly back to rock
from our prayers, our steps and our hammers.

Karen Coulter
Sunday July 4, 1993

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