coyote in the city series

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Dedicated to the life and memory of my uncle, Patrick Keith Wabegijig-ba, a true trickster spirit.

 

coyote in the city

baashig.

coyote sits alone in a coffee shop at the corner of broadway and commercial

scrutinizing a leather-bound notebook

these days he’s fond of writing prose

and the odd naughty limerick

 

coyote writes about brothers and sisters

who walk down a long dirt road and never look back

 

coyote writes about mothers and fathers

who go to the ndn bar for drinks, staying way past last call

 

coyote writes about boys and girls

who learn to dress, cook for themselves, and forge their parent’s signatures

 

coyote writes about grandmas and grandpas

who were taught to write the white man’s way and to speak with no words at all

 

coyote writes about reservation dogs

who run down city alley ways and chase shadows till their paws bleed

 

coyote writes about warriors with broken dreams and stolen hearts

who blockade, have stand-offs, and where fires burn with no smoke at all

 

coyote writes, re-writes and writes

he wants to be deep and pensive

he writes till he gets a cramp in his hand

and he can’t write any more

 

niish.

coyote sits alone as the moon sets and the sun rises

at the corner of everywhere and nowhere

 

coyote prays to nanabush that she can sing the old songs

on a deer hide hand drum in the kitchen

in front of a stove

in the living room near a window

in the backyard around a small fire

 

coyote prays to nanabush that she can dance the old ways

back through sage smoke trails

and to the stars that shift up above

 

coyote prays to nanabush that she can tell new stories

with new beginnings where we don’t fall from the sky

or crawl out from the earth

 

coyote walks across the milky way where dreams are forever

 

nswi.


coyote sits with many new faces

all of us are there

even some reservation dogs

 

we all sit with coyote

waiting for him to do something

 

coyote raises his eyes to the dancing aurora borealis

he closes his eyes and clears his throat

he taps lightly on his leg as a song slowly escapes

past his lips, his song is slow

and deliberate like maple sap after the first frost

 

he hums it under breath

the song builds inside of him like a fire

it crackles and bursts as coyote begins to sing

and when coyote begins to sing

he gets up, he gets loud

now there’s a drum in his hand

and a drum stick in the other

when just moments ago he didn’t have either

coyote pounds the stick over and over and over

 

he sings songs he never heard before

he sings about how the world was made

out of clay, water, air and definitely fire

 

he sings about how tough it is

being the only coyote in the city

 

he sings about reservation dogs

who pretend to be coyote to get a piece of ass

 

he sings about how important faith is

and you can be sure that the sun will always rise

 

he sings about this and about that

until he doesn’t know what else to sing about

so he just goes on and on, he beats on

the drum till the stick breaks

so he starts banging his head

on the drum over and over again, howling

 

nanabush steps in

taking the drum away

coyote shrugs his narrow shoulders

and takes a bow

 

 

coyote in the city 2

niiwin.

late one night

while sitting on cracked concrete steps

and exhaling crisp clouds

i hear the sound of clicking

nails tapping along the cluttered streets

one lone coyote in the city

runs and hides behind car wheels

he peeks before darting to the next car

not sure what he is looking for

he sees me from the corner of his eye

and smiles

 

naanin.

park rangers arm themselves with tranquilizers

to take down coyote, to set him free

beyond the urban sprawl

where he can roam

the problem is that they can’t find coyote

and they don’t know how clever coyote really is

coyote has always been free

 

 

coyote in the city re-mix

gdaaswaay.

coyote sits on the top of the CN tower and waits

for the words to whisper

for the stories to unravel

for the songs to travel

coyote’s closes his eyes

and he dreams.

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