Mad Dogs and the Apache Tear: John Trudell is Song

walking on at 69, RIP, hAkonpe . . . how are things, John Trudell?

Nature isn’t a place to visit . . .
it’s our home, gary synder says
John fought the controllers
music and song not political protest
cultural realities
fucking FBI, immolation
wife and children, fetus
they captured their paranoia on
17,000 pages of lying cheating
government dehumanizing cop talk

FBI memo early on: “He is extremely eloquent,
therefore extremely dangerous”
burn flag burn, he did on the steps of
corruption central, shadows of FBI HQ
his bones are wise man’s bones
he walks the earth a million times
words more than a pocketfull of
thoughts but soul and song

through the dust he shines
truth on the backs of people
the invaders with black pools of money
counting eyes, his people in their home
turtle island, home on the backs of
legends, stories, poems, the lyrics
of truth and resistance
it is a good day to die Little Big Man
“It’s a good day to be indigenous,”
Trudell says in Smoke Signals

he fills the hollow tree with sage, life
captures whimsy and song
plays with redneck songsters, ladies
spoken word and revived magic
Trudell is not some simple name
his fights inner wisdom, for the powerfully
greater good, misunderstood
the rattlesnake is king of time
marked by the shards of pottery

Trudell sings and clouds move
the rain carries Apache tears
orbs as black as space
the island in the heavens
orbiting some lone woman, man
in the sage, holding the shape of pinon
listening to coyote
the rolling thunder of ravens
meeting the stars that are Trudell
lyrics, unsung here, but flowing
in the hearts of someone new, old
death and life

Geronimo, Black Elk
Looking Glass, the heart of the monster
eaten from the inside out
people spread like the blood, raw
flung from east to west north and south
Sitting Bull and Yaqui Trudell wildseed
west monsoon, crazy fire in the sky

bad dog, cloud cougar, John sings
the great horned screech
tin pan twang Jesse Ed Davis
pawing guitar like a god
the flames in Trudell’s memory
now art saved him from caustic
booze, heroin, but now his walkabout
assured, poems fixed in sunsets
lyrics syncopated with the rumble
of sagging earth, dying planet
his name shall be shouted inside
the Badlands, forever young, forever
fighting the capture of his people

Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.