Two Poems

The Big Picture

Way back, after the B film, interlude
(cue sex, uncomplicated stuff, the eye
and such, ‘It’s Now or Never’ land, ‘Be Mine
Tonight’), ice cream, lights fade, big picture floods
the screen. This is the country of the blind
where those who see are damned. When ignorance
is bliss, “Consume” the prayer on every lip,
banks bring us to our knees and get away
with it. Debit and credit cards fired from
the hip, the ones with most to lose aren’t fazed.
Small fry do time; the poor get sacrificed.
Where trees are camouflage, romantic views
the rage, Art prostitutes itself and paints
its face. The contradictions spread like weeds.

Dog Soldiers

The Dog Soldiers or Dog Men (Cheyenne Hotamétaneo'o) was one of six military societies of the Cheyenne Indians. Beginning in the late 1830s, this society played a dominant role in Cheyenne resistance to American expansion in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming. Today the Dog Soldiers society is making a comeback in such areas as the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana and among the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma.

We’re alpha male, war-paint, full battle dress,
ride ponies, single file, careful to write
no message on the flawless parchment sky.
We come and go, werewolves, dust-devils, ghosts,
in shadow-land till spirits cry “It’s time!” 
Fast in the earth beneath our feet, pinned down
by golden arrows, there’s no second way,
hope of retreat. The chiefs talk peace. They know
the Yankees are too powerful to drive
away. Don’t take the long term view, world-wise,
missiles and moneybags, oil rights, foresee
the genocide, measles, smallpox and flu,
whisky, mass slaughter of the buffalo.
The Dog Men wait, White Eyes. Our day will come.

—Peter Branson, Stoke-on-Trent, UNITED KINGDOM