American Native Press Archives and Sequoyah Research Center

American Native Press Archives and Sequoyah Research Center

BLACK KNIFE: poems by Stuart Y. Hoahwah; Number One - Native Writers Chapbook Series II [a machine-readable transcription]


poems by Stuart Y. Hoahwah

Number One Native Writers Chapbook Series II

Black Knife book cover.

Figure 1. "Black Knife book cover"

Copyright 2005 Stuart Y. Hoahwah, All Rights Reserved

Published by

Sequoyah Research Center
301A Ottenheimer Library
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
2801 S. University Avenue
Little Rock, Arkansas 72204

For information on the Native Writers Chapbook Series, contact James W. Parins,

Cover Art by the Author

Table of Contents


What can be said for Saline County-a crow's call
streaking through dreary country
with a little gray sky locked to its side.
Through the architecture of pine needles, sunlight breaks itself
but laughter blows in. It is a wedding in the trees.
Like dropped corpses along Steel Bridge Road,
dilapidated pumpkin patches.
A meth lab sings, hollers
from the vortex of woods and echoes;
toothless with diamonds
Drum-set crashing down the hill,
it’s the sound of Pink Whiskers from childhood...
Sunset is a woman after love making,
who gradually loses the high coloration of her body
and falls to sleep.

Lake Winona is man-made.
Headlights, orange ribbons; chains;
sunken bulldozers rising up.
Water, dark as un-oxidized blood
pink bauxite grottos swallowing virgins.
Used nights are dumped from the cliffs
and recycled into lake bottom.
The lake turns over.
There’s morning
in the eyes of the houseboat cook
strangling chickens.

The town of Benton is a courthouse lawn and hanging tree.
God is everywhere
even in the cheese dip served at El Cena Casa.
Jesus is the waitress
with big tits and psoriasis on the elbows.

In Bryant, boys neither go to heaven nor hell
but into ghost stories.
My life was a Thanksgiving coloring book,
everyone greeted this Indian with roasted turkey
and cornbread dressing.
But Bryant lure boys to the railroad tracks;
the stars,
Blood and Budweiser flowed.
Tattered trash bags, their banners...
Bryant repelled whatever down-poured
                -it was my shelter.
Covering me
                -it was the blackest gravel.

Part and grease your hair
down with un-baptized fat.
The part, paint with red lipstick.
          Dip your sharp lethal
          stir and see your future
          in a puddle of skunk’s blood.
To the white dawn sing
anthems of the Black Knife
Fraternal Society
          To become the blessed
          make your shield like the sun
          blinding when hung in a tree.
Kill a young male crow
stuff its body with sage
this is your holy emblem.
          By night, live this month
          eat 65 watt bulbs
          it’s the Moon of Shattered Glass.
In the zigzag voice
of lightning and hailstorms
tell of your war deeds and death.
          Proverb the winged snake
          Swallowing the young bird
          Tuibitsi kana tua.


Good-bye God, I am leaving for the Staked Plains.
It is truly a wolf’s road
          spreading the sky open with red-stone rockets and powwows.
Bitterroot taste to the air oozing
          through swirling locust.
Double-barreled sunset
          the ashen face
the snake emblem.
          There is no allegiance
even though part of my body belongs to the Comanche
          and part to the Arkansas River.
The rest, Coyote holds close to his heart,
          a handful of dirty pennies and blood pressure medicine.
Night is being hauled in, piece by piece, on 18-wheelers.
          Owls are hooting now and the prairie is dreaming.
Dreams carve into the treetops
          and the black scarfed numupe throws pine cones at the moon.
To sleep like this
          I don’t consider myself a wolf.

After Dr. Armon Kracpot's highly publicized lecture: Origins and Placement of Southern Plains Oral Traditions.

We kidnapped that scholar of Native American literature
and threw him in the old tack room.
He was bound in duct tape
and razor wired his bar stool.
He became lethargic, we tipped over the stool.
In a puddle of urine and blood, he lied there
moaning, "I don't deserve this....I don't deserve this..."
Like in cartoons
where the wolf steps on the yard rake
I stepped on his bar stool and popped him right up,
turned on the T.V. and gently placed the barrel
in between his thick soft lips
letting it slip into his fat beautiful mouth,
cocked the hammer back.
I whispered into his ear,
"Watch this Looney Tunes cartoon:"

“Two bands were living together in a large camp. One band was on the east side; the other on the west. Each had its own chief. Every night the young boys were out playing games-racing, and so forth. They were having a kicking game; they kicked each other. One boy kicked another in the stomach so hard he died from it. That boy, played by Wile E. Coyote, who was killed was from the West camp. He was the son of a chief. When this thing happened, the West camp cried all night. In the East camp it was silent. Next day, they buried the body. The boy's father, the chief played by Porky Pig, had his crier go around announcing that there would be a big fight to see which camp was best so as to settle the question of his son's death. There was big excitement. Both sides had good warriors. The East camp ran to its horses. "If they really mean what they, they will kill us," they cried. The two sides lined up, and the chiefs met in the center. Then Bugs Bunny, as an old man, from the East camp came up into the center. He wept and told them it wasn't right for them to fight among themselves like that. They took pity on him. Then other old men came out and gathered with him. "You have plenty of enemies to fight," they cried. "These were just boys playing a game. Don't take this thing so seriously. You are setting a bad example for the children. Whatever this chief wants to keep the peace, we'll do it." That chief called it off. He said he did not realize what he was doing. So the East camp brought horses and other things. After that the chief had his announcer tell the people it was time to move camp. "We have had bad luck here. There has been hard feeling." While they were still there, smallpox broke out. Then they broke up. One group went north; those are the Shoshones. The other group went west, which are the Comanche.”


Comanche Bands

Quickstingers; raiders
with honey-eating beauty
southernmost words

          Root eating drifters
          drove out the Plains Apache
          into headless stars

Those who often move
sloven in their camp habits
Pease River gypsies

          Mexicans fear her
          the Sun Oracle and the
          bear claws of her son

On treeless staked plains
sewn antelope parasols
Bonnets. Crow feathers.

          The downstream people
          children of chief El Sordo
          and his Caddo wife

They eat liver raw
carry black crooked lances
and fight without clothes

          Woi ah
          Maggots on penis
          marry incestuously
          maggots on penis

Mu Tsane
Dark undercut banks
overhanging cliff campsite

          Shields hung up in trees
          bells, streamers, yellowhammers
          red, green quarter moons

Secretly Looking for Something

                It is a custom among the Comanche to count back
                five generations to an ancestor or ancestress,
                that ancestor is considered as a brother or sister.

Tall ships on crashing tables of green seas,
warped sail masts seasoned in Spanish heat.
Luggage and family lunged toward new lives
across cream rifts of the ocean
to where Christian names cease, his family
sailed from Castile Spain and settled a vast ranch,
luscious valley land, in North Mexico.
His Spanish name, Sebastian Ramirez;
eight years old when he was captured along
with his little sister, Constantina.
They were warned not to beyond the fence,
to stay close to the villa, but one morn
They noticed something round and metallic
in the grass at the edge of the barrack fence
encircling the immediate five
acres of the villa. Brooding each other,
boy and girl crept to the shiny object.
Both were hesitant, keeping an eye on it
and their surroundings for safety's sake.
They hovered over, over their treasure
admiring it, sparkling, sparkling
in different colors and beautifully strange.
Boy slowly bent down to claim his prize
hearing his heavy breath and heartbeat.
Out of morning's stillness, a Comanche
appeared, his horse galloping at full pace.
The warrior, painted in black with red streaks
under his eyes and along his arms and legs.
He leaned to one side and swept up the boy.
Another horseman, painted half rock-red
and half yellow, captured the girl with stealth.
The two Comanche horsemen, their captives
across their laps, hurdled through the orchards
fences, and stole away into the hills.
Hooves stained with Mexican fruit and fresh blood.
In the overgrowth, their raiding party          (no stanza break)
waited for them, upon our arrival
the warriors began singing victory songs.
In celebration of the horsemen's return,
a captured baby from a near-by village
was thrown up into the air and shot at.
They rode non-stop for days until they reached
a large sandy river, known as Pasi Ono.
The party melted into smaller groups.
The children went with their captors northwest.
All that time, boy and girl had not said a word
to each other or pleaded, out of fear.
They were marooned on the backs of horses.
Once past the river the party relaxed.
That night they stopped and camped. The children fed
on freshly cooked antelope and persimmon.
Constantina finally broke down and cried,
boy's head filled with bizarre trails and dark streams.
It was months before the group reached the main camps
of the strong Yappithuka Comanches.
The boy and girl were taken to the family
of their captor, Poho-kwasucut (Medicine Shirt Possessor)
younger brother of chief Tabe-nanaka (Hears the Sunrise)
both members of the Widyu or "Awl" clan
known for fighting with each other, scratching.
For days Sebastian and Constantina
stayed inside the lodge with one hand tied down
to a stake so not to run off, for the boy
almost succeeded once. He kept looking,
examining any possibilities.
One of the family members, an old deaf woman,
fed them. The little sister kept crying non-stop
all this time and refused to eat at all.
It has been said the girl cried so much
Poho-kwasucut took her back down south,
but there are also stories of her
being traded off to another tribe,
and stories of her being killed outright.
Boy never wanted to ask such questions.
Sebastian stayed on with his captor.
He was adopted and given the name,
Ho-ahwah or "Secretly looking for something."

Ode to Loobey

God, we used to pee on that kid.
Jimmy Loobey, a name
that could only come from the South.
Flaming-haired stepchild of Coyote,
we feared would ride his bicycle
to our houses at mid-night,
break into our bedroom windows
and exchange places with us.
And with our own underwear and rusty bicycle chains,
he'd tie us down to the urinal depths of humiliation.
Jimmy Loobey, the Comanche word ranging in meaning:
from an in-grown toenail
to your braids cut off
and mouth rinsed out with bleach;
from finding a strand of hair
in your fry bread
to burying a grocery sack of stillborn kittens;
from losing your favorite turquoise ring
to losing your virginity without a condom
to a girl with line-backer shoulders and bad acne.
That name has become a song throughout the years.
The death song for both Comanche and animal alike,
echoing from ditches and top of trees
being whispered in the dark corners of bedtime...
Jimmy Loobey, the name for all children's nightmares.


Hell hangs implements here.
Lumber. Woodshed. Ft. Sill.
Southern Plains.
There’s no shade but under the drill bit.
I will furnish chairs, dining tables,
axe handles to the officer’s wives.
Comanche-crafted furniture,
if shattered into a million pieces,
would drag itself
across the floor into a frantic
huddle and fit back together
with the precision of a carpenter
two millimeters away from madness.
The foreman doesn’t know what to think.
He stands there throwing shadow and light
with the brim of his work hat
flapping around
like the wounded trying to land.

The True Story of Superman

He wears Comanche colors.
Red represents Oklahoma and blood, blue--the sky and bottled water,
and yellow--his power or Sun medicine.
The "S" stands for Snake, the sign for Comanche in Indian sign language.
He's the lost son of the wealthy Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Pohosucut
and descendant of the legendary warrior, Poho-kwasucut
who possessed a medicine shirt that was bulletproof.
Superman's parents were high school sweethearts at Ft. Sill Indian School
and married soon after graduation. Two years later they had twins,
big boy and girl babies with rolls upon rolls of fat.
The girl supposedly lived only seven days.
After baby Superman's first birthday, his parents died in a plane crash.
A thunderstorm rolled in.
Lightning struck one of the propeller engines catching it on fire.
Knowing they would not survive the flight, Edwin and Lela put their son
in one of their Samsonite suitcases. Not wanting him to die by fire;
Edwin tossed the suitcase as hard as a loving father could out of the small plane.
The state police report stated flames at the crash site were so intense;
Edwin’s gold wedding band had melted off his finger.
The coroner identified the bodies by dental records.
There was a joint funeral with star blankets draped all over Permansu Cemetery.
So many flowers; pedals blew across Southwestern Oklahoma for weeks.
As for Superman in the suitcase,
so aerodynamic, soaring like a futuristic bird with a cubic-shaped contrail.
He landed safely in the sand dunes miles away.
A childless Mennonite family, the Chebatahs, from Dirty Shame found him.
They fell in love with his beauty and adopted the baby-Superman.
For his resilience and survival they named him,
Kutso-ekavit (Velroy) Stonewall Chebatah.

The Verbal Map of Velroy, the Medicine Man From Dirty Shame, OK

twins on the outskirts of electricity.
To a legacy of wolves, the female was thrown.
Boy was kept
and named after the ancient cultural hero,
Kutso-ekavit, "Red Buffalo."
We called him Velroy for short.
Once the ancient hero saved the Comanche people from a witch
who flapped illness and death with her raggedy shawl.
With a hook of his powerful horns, the buffalo tossed her up to the moon.
You can still see the witch shaking her fists back at Earth.
At age 10, head-first,
Velroy fell into Cache Creek.
It was mythical in the reeds.
Velroy surfaced, singing in Comanche:
Plains were spinning Southern style.
Black Mesa skipped
cedar shattered over Palo Duro.
I saw the ghost sickness
of the famous Parker family.
I heard the droning in the shrine
of Black Coyote.
The birthday party on the dirt road to Cache;
Velroy cartwheels into Deyo Cemetery, purple streamers falling.
With owl feathers and some Velvet Underground
he tried for the Bradshaw kid who died six months before.
Velroy said a bone prayer, held the dark in conversation of a dreamer's cult.
Its okay, you are beautiful, sing to me beautiful one...
2004. Battle for Dirty Shame.
Two medicine men jousted on Main Street,
the Cheyenne called Hippy,
and Velroy at opposite ends of the street.
Hippy lit a cigar
and blew smoke to the East four times.
Velroy hailed to the sunset
in his Dingo boots with the bulldog-nose tips.
The citizens followed the blood trails
running down the streets,
up walls, over rooftops
splashing onto the stars.
(Ouija Board Blues
By Velroy)
My skull sits on the desk of the head
          of Anthropology.
                                        Brain-package in the flower pot.
                                                  -Widow Smith
My rib cage, a bleached and glassy scorpion hotel
                                             Trigger finger plucking bowels
                                                  in a vulture
My feet, still in boots          under red swings buried in the yard
The picnic of shadows
Witch's          mouth
                                        The trick is keeping mefrom piecing back

Red River

...makes a noisy entry into Texas

Four mountains
Four creeks
Four forts
Four suns
Four seasons
Four nations- Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapaho
Four kinds of victims- Mexican women, U.S. Cavalry, white children, Texas Rangers

At Yellow House Canyon
the river turns tight.
Talons skim the water,
waves confirm dawn.
With white sheets tied around their waists
Tonkawa scouts cannibalistically count out
a bag of small left hands.
Seated in a silver concho saddle,
Death's dirty sergeant lights up
his ceremonial breathing leaf.

Where Cache Creek empties into the Red River
is a nerve center of war.
There Velroy fought the gruesome sisterhood:
Cholera, Plague, and Smallpox.
They tried to strip his body of carbon-14 atoms.
Velroy, protector of wolves
and knowledgeable in the Flying Crane Technique
of Kung-Fu,
drop-kicked Plague in the windpipe
simultaneously breaking her neck
in three places.
He tricked Smallpox with her own taboo.
By passing some milk through a hole
in an oak tree,
it made her vomit up her own stomach.
Velroy quickly buried it,
turning Smallpox into a tree.
Cholera challenged Velroy
to a showdown in break-dancing.
It took place on top of the creek.
While Cholera was doing a head spin,
Velroy pulled out the cardboard from under her.
Cholera dropped into the river and drowned.

She sits in the deep part,
a cinema of silver scales.
Her hair moves like meadow grass in flood water.

At the Red River
          Ute chief cuts my guitar strings
Ute women love Punk

Begin radio transmission:
          Fox 5 to Eagle's Nest over
          Roger Fox 5...what is your position...over
          Grim.....members of the Black Knife Society
          crossed the south fork of the river
          on horseback in a V-formation.
          They possess gear
          simultaneously musical and military:
          a stretched skin to serve as
          both shield and timbrel,
          and a club, sword, or lance
          that is also a drumstick.................[gun fire]
          Eagle's Nest to Fox 5 over....
          I repeat...Eagle's Nest to Fox 5 are you there over....
          I repeat...Fox 5 are you there over...
End radio transmission

Hoahwah's Account of the Lost Valley Fight

Across the timber, the moon tracked in blood.
The Texan's intestines, strung out across Night,
melted in the tall grass.
The horse of the dead coachman asked for me.
We journeyed back, kicking at the thick ribs of night.
From horseback, men tossed curly scalps back and forth.
Kot-see was seated up in the saddle-- tied down at the wrists.
By pulling on the ropes from time to time
members of Black Knife Society balanced his tattered body.
His forehead touched the sky,
gunshot-face leaked worms.
We sang victory songs,
dreamed of our women laughing
and the enemies' women crying.

Excerpts from a Comanche Scout's Journal

May 4th-

Across the country families would spend their Saturday nights at Bozo the Clown's Bingo Palace if the Nazis had won the war. McAlester, Oklahoma, is the Fifth Reich. Packets of bingo cards and a pack of daubers of fluorescent ink– payment for helping Henry Pussy Cat scout out a place to bury his newborn's placenta and plant a maple sapling over it.

May 30th-

It was outside of Vega when the Tonkawas finally ambushed, killed, and took off with Prufrock's torso. We were traveling west, men of true grit still reporting on the Western Expansion and just a few miles from the vortex of the American Dream. Apaches scouts even realized this, despite their racial handicap. Tonkawas are all alike, having no respect for the decency of the white man's culture. We trustworthy Comanche guides will be blamed for this incident. Some backwoods law enforcement agency will hunt us down like rabid dogs. Tonight, while my colleagues and I are being held in some dank stockade and sodomized by semiautomatic rifles and esoteric branding irons, the sky over Flattop Mountain will be ablaze by banquet fire and laughter of those cannibal savages with a grease ring of Prufrock smeared on their sated faces.

July 25th-

A sunset skirmish at Palo Duro Canyon, the turning point of the battle was when we replaced the shredded alternator belt in Chaat's Buick with his girlfriend's pantyhose. Eka-paa, the magician, led his daughter's favorite horses off the cliffs, turning each one into a star so not to be stolen. The tobacco smell from nigger-lipped cigarettes of the dead gives me a headache. Some time in the night, the commanding officer was shot in the throat with a humming bird.

Transcribed is the poem recited from memory by Eka-paa while in battle:

Palo Duro Canyon where wounded have fallen
hitting the ground like sunset, where the desperate tried
throwing ropes around the moon calling it a raid,
the glorious reign of the Chinaberry Moon
surrendering at a picnic table. Now...there
is a twenty four hour convenient Quick Stop
at the bottom. Madame _ _ _ is cashier.
In the parking lot, shopping carts and stars collide.

July 27rd-

Approximately one hundred fifty miles southwest of Fort Sill. Midnight, the hour of raids. Lassoes lay upon the ground, the men sitting within. Their tobacco smoke spirals up to the Moon. With her hands upon their shoulders, they pray to take many tanks, trucks, and horses. Commanding Officer Stanford's body was interred into a crevasse at the base of Cap Rock. I've cut my hair short on the right side and dyed my scalp lock red; heading south into Mexico with Velroy. Some Quohada and Yappithuka Comanches are there on a raid/vacation.

Comanche Contortionists

Tonight is the 130th anniversary
of the Sacred Contortionist Society.
Members rolled up into one big human ball
and bounced away.
They scare me, making me
think I'm having a good time
getting air-borne,
rolling under electrical fences,
scaring cattle,
racing trains,
disarming swat teams,
and showing me
how not to burn myself smoking
while curled up into a ball.
Inside their thick braids
they hide old Mexican treasure maps.
These Comanche witch-contortionists
ambush tanker-trucks
filled with inedible lard
and contort their spines
while they’re hunched over
chewing on the corners of Spanish rooftops.
Nothing is inedible to them.

The Frank Letters

Dearest Frank,
          In response to your last correspondence,
          everybody knows the letters of our alphabet can be classified
          as individuals, species, etc.
          Every letter is affected by accidents arising from matter or form.
          Poetry is the art of using the most appealing lies
          to attain truth.

          ...marriage is for fucking
          Christians. It is the God's truth.
          Before, during, and after sex you better have within you,
          quite clearly, the image of what you desire.
          It neutralizes the evil,
          it's the old civil code of the Sacred Prostitute.

          I am held up in Durango low on ammo and feeling ill.
          My body is shutting down. According to Galen,
          the human body is made up of four humours:
          blood; bile; black bile; and phlegm.
          This must explain my cycles of fevers and nightmares.
          I wish I was back surveying
          and popping off prairie chicken heads
          with your lever-action .22 .

Frank the pink Axe,
          Things are better, remember when I departed
          you held my hand and said, "I want the man bearing the cross
          to be its only victim..."

Black Star

At midnight, in a plastic Wal-mart bag,
          Jesus is a fat peyote button.
Inside old man Black Star's teepee,
          a quarter-moon altar
of dirt with a silver dollar
          centered on a doily of cedar.
Skin of the kettle drum
          dipped in creek water.
Sovo, the actor, sings a peyote song
          into a fan of macaw feathers.
On a mattress of sage,
          I drink tea from a glass canister.
Gritty and full of pulp,
          backwash of Eternity dribbles off my chin.
I resonate with midnight,
          the hour of raids
sweeping across the countryside
          like a clock's second hand
as stars remain still.
          I vomit and it's good.


Of arranged marriages and Comanche
wives: my insipid bony wife who wears
blouses like a coat hanger and rough kiss.
She smokes Winston Lights 100s holding
her cigarette like a jackboot Nazi,
every word is nervous cold smoke ring.
Obese diabetic wife unhinges
her jaw and eats a taco sideways.
She trashes up the furniture and destroys
with thistle in her un-manicured fists.
Darling can accurately throw syringes.
It takes Kiowa words to describe her,
my youngest wife, my craftswoman of beads.
The Kiowa is witching me, cleaning
my combs and sifting through used vacuum
cleaner bags for bit and pieces of me.
She stashes it all in a Folger's coffee can.
My dream about you, Sonora, is deep,
a blue mountain gorge. Black buckskin wedding,
covert vows taken in front of a fox's sky.
On black Spanish silk, I spell out your name
in silver jewelry, gourd incantations.
Bottomless echoes form a woodland archives
carried over in turtle shell and fire.
On the horse-colliding landscape, under
trails of lightning and hail you were born to.
Descendant of the Owl Prophet,
to say your name leaves dark plumes in my mouth.
Even to say your name in Indian sign language,
the hand motions like a snake.
You severed tail of the unrecorded.
The darkest is sunlight with too many
names hiding behind a wolf's full tooth grin.
Silver albino at night without name
in a cape of water birds craning long
your slender neck to the moon like a dream,
You walked across the shakiest rooftops     (no stanza break)
whistling down the gentle universe,
placing it into a small mason jar.
In the dark emerald curves of a dance club,
your body was a collection of bone
whistles and Sunrise Songs in re...reverse;
pentagram face, hips like Cinderella
dancing in deep steps of your own design.
You dee-jaying the séance-turntables,
spinning black water, scratching out full moons
of owl-sound mixes and gansta rap.
Combining Comanche sage medicine
and chunks of black-tar magic in blue flames,
circular on an etched spoon, you
made the whole set of silverware legend.
Fort Sill femme fatale wanting to be claimed
as relative, friend, or ex-lover
bundled in colorful silks and conjured up
for the sloe purpose of dying all over again.
You didn't die so young and beautiful
but alone curled up in a waiting room
chair at the Indigenous hospital,
head cradled and caressed by your own gold
toothed shadow. Known for turtle medicine,
your were not buried near any body
of water. Undisclosed bones still lie.
For years people have claimed, even sung,
that they are little you, they have seen you, or
can put anybody in touch with you.
"Enjoys breaking Laguna pottery
in moonlight and smoking cigars rolled up
in corn husks..."you creation story reads
on the back of the Milky Way and want ads.

Family Tree of the Black Knife or Comanches and Cars Don't Mix

Hoahwah married twin sisters.
The one wife called Double
turned into a snake
after eating a nest of glossy eggs.
Snake Woman still lives on Mt. Scott,
sleeps facing west.
The sun a white skull itself
bathes her on the cedar breaks.
In rectangular dreams
she calls me grandson.
The other sister Tsi-yee
named after a war deed
(her father charged a cavalry officer
knocked him off his horse then lanced him to the prairie)
bore three children: Tabe titah, Namnetse, and Sam Hoahwah.
Lena, Sam's favorite daughter
ran off with an Arapaho from Canton.
Sam sent his men after her
on horseback, their ranch-hand-shadows
overcast the Cheyenne and Arapaho Rez.
Lena said: I ain't comin back.
She bled to death on a mattress
after a miscarriage.
Mama couldn't remember her
just the car ride to Post Oak Cemetery
and watching wind in the pinwheels.
Mama died the same age, fish-tailing
into Comanche history
in an Illumina without insurance.
Great grandfather Sam Hoahwah
first Indian in southwest Oklahoma to own a car
(southwest Oklahoma is the poor Indian's Sicily)
got ran over with his own Model-T.
His Mexican cowboy-chauffeur
forgot to take it out of gear
when Sam crank-started the car.
Not far from his own car Uncle Carlton
was found dead in the weeds of Cache Road,
keys missing.
He sang gospels in Comanche,
backup on Robby Robertson's
Contact from the Underworld of RedBoy.
(Although for years, Uncle secretly respected Levon Helm more.)
Carlton Jr. caught ghost sickness
cyclin 'cross Post Oak Cemetery at night.
He looked past his shoulder
it twisted his face.
The moon makes fun of him now.
After the incident, his girlfriend fell
in love with his cousin Rusty
nicknamed Rabbit
who loves fried baloney
calling it Indian Steak.
Rabbit's lil brother, member of the Black Knife Society,
who records the old Comanche survivals
and paints cubic horse murals
has dreams
of swimming pools
and a 20ft long red talking snake
who calls him grandson.

Moment At The 2003 Miss Indian USA Pageant With Velroy: A Man Who Never Sees a Pretty Girl That He Doesn't Love Her A Little

Like a character from fiction, I will take you on your own terms
     you have a life of your own.
               Like God, so big-so unwanted, I offer no answers to your questions
but I am the best description of the turning point of your summer,
     the stimulating indigenous mainline supply of electrification
                    war-wrecking, unworkable locomotive stock
part academic, part sporting, part mutt, a fast passenger with manes of terror,
                                        said Velroy.
The delicious Pawnee contestant walks away,
molecularly falling apart into a trail of tiny blue beads.
Velroy vomits up ammunition for every type of gun.
We've been slinging back 44oz cherry-flavored slurpies.
     Pawnee women make the best hair stylists.
               They know how to caress with shampoo
                         and handle a pair of scissors as if it's penetralia
               Cutting away your strength, they have your hair
                    and you love it,
                                        said Velroy wiping his mouth with his hand.
I see stacks of nickels the size of trash cans
and feel the bleachers' vibration in my crotch.
Night is breaking chains.
               's possible, said Velroy, I am the ghost of this.

The Cheyenne Named Hippy With Stolen Incantations

In my rusty Suburban I place you.
The Red Chariot of Resurrection
smoked all the way to the banks of the Washita.
Possessing your last breaths in pop bottles,
I compel you. With dead cedar and sage
you are bathed, toweled off in smoked water.
Up your legs, down your arms, all over your breasts
I paint the vocabulary of owls.
Your insides-- owl poetry.
A star blanket laid out on the sands.
It is midnight hotdogs on sandwich bread.
The fires of the Quarter moon picnic rise.
Saddled turtles are ready to take you.
In the far off distance I hear the owl
who brings the trinket of your voice and things
like the bells for your ankles and the dress
that compliments a dead Cheyenne woman
into the dark foam gush you are carried.
In water so clear the fish glow...shimmer,
that Ophelia-thing is doing your hair
floating out across the icy water
like debris in the machine of green storms.
Driftwood with no horizon, I let go
like a frail mosquito without fresh blood.
You skim the water, bitching at the cold.

Dismantled Horses

What is left of the burning barrels
and the buffalo chips that fueled our dreams
is at the end of your cigarette,
the only light within five miles.
The stars are not out tonight.
Night is just the smell of burning tobacco.
Comanche County ends on a gravel road
underneath a pick-up truck.
We lie cross-legged with the dark,
stealing different tribal license plates
and reinventing horse-stealing songs
with screwdrivers.
And when you inhale
we exist only as an orange glow
with a manhood built
out of these stolen plates.
For you, morning will be tribal princesses
being carried away by yellow beads
sewed into the shape of horse-legs.
For me, its bolts and pins
of dismantled horses.
The mercy is where sunlight,
like brilliant swords in diagonal swing,
takes us by the neck.

Of The Owls Tellings (after the painting by Kiowa/Comanche artist, Blackbear Bosin)

An old man sings, holding up his hand
as though it was mirror:
You only achieve this with old age.
I look like an owl
with white patches on each side of my head.
Try to become old as fast as you can.

My horse of pearl shell
I feed him
     spring water
          snow water
               hail water.

How bright the moonlight
as I ride in
How bright the moonlight
with my load of kill.

From the last step of my house
I recognize in the distance the star
used to beat Coyote and the ringing stones.
I look up. Venus is rising.

My father did not recognize me.
He saw me he said,
You are the child of an owl.

Come back
     Before you get to the window
Come back     Before you get to the Red River
     Before you get to the circle of owls
Come back
     Before you get to the fire
Come back

Margaret made her last sketch of Velroy,
him coming out of the crematorium.
His bones were violet.

Where will you and I sleep? At the down-turned jagged rim
of the sky you and I will sleep.


Last hotel I stay in
will be the Smithsonian.
I"ll have a cardboard box-affair
with Neanderthal Woman.
Our stolen bones stir together,
a rattling Kool-Aid wedding
the skeletal display of lovemaking
in our glass-encased honeymoon.
My cranium, a laughing ashtray
hers, a glued moon missing pieces.
A jawbone exchange
symbolizes a kiss.
I'll have a mouth chiseled
from speaking Neanderthal.
She'll have no cavities and only speaks
little Comanche dirty words.
Our names are shelved
in a tribal ghost story.
Our missing parts:
handles of boot knives
frames for family portraits
a trail of powder.
We'll have nightmares
about bulldozers
and those happy hunting grounds
found underneath.

Author: Hoahwah, Stuart Y..
© American Native Press Archives and Sequoyah Research Center