NOTE FROM LB:
In the early ’90s, when I had had enough of Hollywood’s reality as opposed to the dreams that had driven me to go there and succeed, I did when any totally impractical and probably insane person would: I packed my clothing, comic books, drum kit, and dog into an SUV and drove off to the Southwest to see if I could track the magic I had been writing about for so long but never experienced. I found it, kind of like this…
The Indian People See Things No One Else Does
by Larry Brody
The Indian people see things no one else does.
They hear the elements, and smell the spirits
Within each clod of their Mother’s earth.
They say I can see the magic too, if I try hard enough.
They say I’ll be able to hear, and even sniff out the scent.
But they don’t want me around.
They don’t want any wannabes,
Any turquoise-wearing Anglos,
No matter how high their cheekbones or their aims.
Even the most well-meant of intentions
Have caused too much pain.
Still, I took the form of an eagle once, and
Flew with a Hopi elder, through a sky that
Spoke straight to me.
Even in man-form, the elder had an eagle’s eyes,
All pupil, with no iris, although it was the middle of the day,
And black, as black as the heart of anyone
Working for the BIA.
He knew I was afraid of heights, and took me to a high
Mesa, where the wind roared like the sea.
There we prayed—a chant, the waving of a
Sacred gourd—and I gave myself to his wishes, which
Weren’t really his but mine.
I stopped fighting the gusts, and let them take me,
And together we took off.
It took only seconds for the fear to knot tightly
Around my newly-feathered soul, and I knew I didn’t
“Tough!” the sky said, and I soared. I saw the Indians’
Mother as eagles see her, smelled the clouds
as eagles smell. “This is real,” the sky said.
“Earth, air, wind, and sky. This is true.”
My fear was flung downward, plummeting to
the rocks far below, and I screeched a
Reply. “This is true,” I screeched.
“True. Earth, air, wind, and sky.”
Then we landed, and I was a man once more,
Sitting cross-legged beside a weathered Hopi
Who wore a red bandanna around his graying head,
A weathered Hopi with an eagle’s eyes.
I thanked him, and together we walked back to my truck.
I knew I was walking on his Mother,
And that she would never be mine.
I’m not of the people, nor do I wannabe.
But sometimes I dream about the
Mesa, and I see things no one else does.
I hear the elements, and smell the spirits
Within each clod of earth.