WATER IS THE NEW PRECEDENT – UPDATE

WATER IS THE NEW PRECEDENT – UPDATE
Read more about the collection here: http://bit.ly/TheNewPrecedent

It’s been a year since I wrote these essays while at SR, and the fight has only continued to expand since then. I just contributed $50 to Makwa Initiative – Line 3 Frontline Resistance from last month’s book proceeds. Based in Minnesota, the protectors there are preparing for a cold winter camped out to Stop Line 3, a pipeline set to be built through Anishinaabe sovereign territory at the Mississippi River headwaters. Contributions will help them weatherize camp and afford other supplies to safely protect their sacred waters and wild rice harvests for future generations.

Thank you to everyone who has grabbed a copy of WATER IS THE NEW PRECEDENT in person or online! For weeks, I have been reliving my memories of North Dakota from last year, and it is my honor to share the hope and prayers I found there in these essays, so that the movement continues to spread to every corner of Turtle Island and beyond.

You can read about the collection and grab a copy here: http://bit.ly/TheNewPrecedent

Otherwise, please donate directly to #StopLine3 here: http://www.youcaring.com/makwacampsupplies

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WATER IS THE NEW PRECEDENT – UPDATE

Street Theater

STREET THEATER
(artwork by Dylan A.T. Miner)

I envision a mass demonstration. Folks coming into the heart of the city. Riding trains and bicycles. Assembling near City Hall. Tens of thousands. Maybe more. Each with their own sign rallying around the cause. A cause for the world and its children. A cause for Life. Love for us All.

They begin to march.

There are trumpets, sounding the alarm. Drum circles leading the charge. Movement in rhythmic motion forward.

They march onto the avenues. Hold traffic till tomorrow. Heading straight for the Liberty Bell inside Independence Hall.

Unnerved by routine, they only settle here for a while. Then they continue further. Marching north. And then west. And then south. Into the stars. Above the ground. Their souls’ chants echo against the concrete walls. Each footstep causes a groundswell.

Eventually the whole city is taken over. The working crowd leaving their offices and joining the march. Tourists and other pedestrians going along for the ride. People swept off their feet and into the current.

It all seems smooth and victorious, except for what awaits for them just beyond the next traffic light.

Near Rittenhouse, a tank is just around the corner. It’s a big tank. One of the largest and greatest tanks. A tank greater than any other made before. A tank made of cardboard and painted black. Recyclables turned into the war machine. Its motor singing the finale of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture as it rolls forward. Its wheels at least twenty pairs of boots belonging to its drivers marching a synchronized beat.

Led by the tank is an army of clowns. Bum clowns. Circus clowns. Awkward and Weird clowns. Fascist clowns. Merry Pranksters dressed in Federalist regalia. Minstrels of mummery dressed in the cultures they’ve conquered. Clowns in White Face. Clowns in Black Face. The Blue Man Group wooping like car alarms. Scary clowns. Nasty clowns. Jerk clowns. Clowns of the sewers. Clowns of the pipelines. Clowns of the pulpit and the banks. Hundreds of clowns following the tank.

At their back is the main cheese. The King Clown himself surrounded by a dozen or more head honcho Court Jesters. A cabinet as insane as it can get. In turn, all of them holding onto multiple leads. Hundreds of strings attached to the army’s heads and legs and feet and arms and hearts. Puppet masters and their marionettes.

The two parades meet on Walnut Street. Outside the Barnes and Noble. Clowns and Lovers and a whole city of park sitters, random shoppers, and luxurious apartment residents watching the scene.

At first there is a standoff. Neither side so sure of the other. The Clowns glaring pure terror, while the Lovers can’t help but laugh. But then someone turns up Tchaikovsky’s overture and the tank starts firing shots. Large balls of confetti shoot into the air. The cannon balls synced up to the music, firing like the Russians against Napoleon did.

At first nothing. Then people start dropping. Then finally pure absolute terror and the people not already on the ground start running out of the way.

Soon, everyone has either been knocked down by the tank, or been completely scattered onto sidewalks and out of the street.

All except for a single child.
They stand there upright. Not much older than 7 or 8. A short pixie cut with rainbow streaks in their hair. A young girl holding a heart-shaped balloon in one hand, while the other is extended forward offering a rose.

Tiananmen Square. A stencil drawn by the street artist Banksy. Zuccotti Park. Tahrir Square and so many others. These images are all brought to mind in this single gesture.

The tank silences.
The clowns mime surprise and awe.
They begin to step forward, maybe to snatch the girl up, and then they stop.
The child starts whistling.
They step forward towards the cannon on top of the tank.
The gun lowers down just in arms reach.
The child places the rose into its barrel.

A GOP official from Michigan wants another Kent State? Well, this is how Love overcomes Hate.

The Clowns all fall to their knees. Even the King. They bow to this child and the girl giggles relief.
One of the clowns brings forward a bucket of paint.
The child takes the brush and walks forward to the tank to paint it.

Behind them, others begin to rise from the pavement. They too come forward and begin to paint. Soon folks are wandering back onto the street from the sidewalks and joining them from the park and surrounding store fronts. Each person is handed a paintbrush as more buckets are brought out. The once black tank, quickly turns to a canvas of peace signs and rainbows and pretty flowers and moonshine beneath golden rays.

The scene turns from one that is war torn to a community block party. Folks of all ages and nationalities and sexual identities and gender pluralities exploring what it means to rediscover their inner child on the public street.

Someone passes out chalk and they start turning the floor beneath them into a whole other ecology. City streets turned into abundant gardens. Seeds of harmony blossoming. A psychedelia of awakened heart permeates in the breeze. A true rêvelution like never seen anywhere else.
The creative mind united with the heart making communal art.
A band sets up on the band stand. They play punk choruses like it’s the 1980s and everyone begins to dance.

At this point, the King Clown has let go of the leads or even begun to cut the strings and the Clowns are suddenly allowed to be truly free.

It starts with the King Clown’s Head of Interior. Then the Department of Education soon follows. Soon it’s the Attorney General. And his self-declared Head of Intelligence. They each grab at the tank. The cardboard beginning to tear. Where it tears, they rip harder, until each piece breaks free.

The other Clowns get a hint and join in this disassembly. Each taking a piece and ripping the tank to shreds.
The painted pieces are lifted high in the air. Some of them are attached to long sticks to wave in the air. New protest signs. New messages. Simple in their color and slogans. Rainbows spreading. LOVE. PEACE.

The act is almost over.
Everyone is feeling real fine.
For most of them they’re not even sure what’s happening anymore the vibe is so fresh.

And at this brightest moment, it springs up.
Hidden beneath the leftover rubble of the former tank, the BLACK SNAKE.
He emerges.
Dark and stormy.
A hiss as his head pokes high into the air.
Another hiss as he looks downwards on the people suddenly entangled in his long winding and ever-present scales.
A tail so long, it grabs up the people down the street even a mile away.

No one can move. They’re all entranced in his hypnotizing stare.

Except for the King.
The King steps forward. He’s lost his yellow wig. His fat gut. His entire wardrobe, except for the crown. Except for the crown, he now looks less like a monarch, and more like a human. He’s become an old woman actually. He’s grown long hair and tied it back. His court robes have been replaced by a polka dotted dress that reaches down to high heels. His gestures are less oafish and more heart-centered, sensitive. He holds a tall staff in his hand. To some he looks like a mixture somewhere between a wizard, a hippy, and Alice in Wonderland.

He removes the crown. Tosses it into the snake’s mouth.
The snake swallows it whole.
The elder pulls out a tobacco pipe and begins smoking.
The snake slithers closer.
Unfazed, the elder kneels down and touches the earth. People close to him can hear him humming.
The snake hangs overhead and opens its mouth wide.
With the speed of lightning it lowers its head and snaps.
The elder even quicker, places his wooden staff between the roof of the snake’s mouth and its bottom teeth.
Open mouth, it hovers around him, trying to bite, but failing.
In the confusion of it all, the elder grabs the snake’s tongue and pulls.
The snake lurches back, but the elder holds strong and the tongue pulls out of the snake’s head, bringing with it the snake’s black and gooey insides.

The girl from before reemerges. Giggling they join the elder and hold onto the snake’s tongue.
Others wake up from their trance and join them too. Each grabbing a hold of the extending tongue.

The snake still tries to get free pulling back even further. Unraveling as it pulls further and further away, letting more and more of its insides be pulled out.

Its insides go all the way back into history. They go back in time to before then into herstory.
They continue to pull out and suddenly we’re seeing the birth of it all.
Through the snake’s death, we are seeing how it all started.
The rope turns from oil slick to wooden stick to lightning strikes to molten lava.
Everything one can think of that burns and more.
A long fuse leading back into the beginning.
Before time.
Something like the chicken and the egg, philosophically.

At the end of the string is an egg.
Inside the egg is water.
The water is clear and pure.

From one of his dress pockets the Elder pulls out a bag of seeds.
He takes a single seed from the bag and holds it high over his head.
It shimmers gold in the sunlight.
Then he tosses it to the withering shell of the black snake skin beneath him.
He opens the egg and dumps the water onto this fertile earth.

From the point, where he placed the seed, grows a giant rose.

Catharsis.

Street Theater

Fighting For A Bloodline

Ever since I traveled to Ireland in July, I haven’t stopped thinking about my bloodline. It was maybe a couple weeks after I got back to the States, when the bulldozers started rolling through sacred sites including burial mounds, cairns, and other humanmade formations in North Dakota.
The pain this gave me is indescribable.
I had just been to a tiny island of a country filled with similar cairns and ring forts and burial mounds and druid rock circles preserved for thousands of years, some since 5000 BC, initially out of fear and then out of reverence for a people’s past. Some of these were registered as world heritage sites with UNESCO, but most of these sites were in people’s backyards or on a farming family’s land and no one touched them for that entire period.

Not with a tractor. Not with a shovel. None of the stones were displaced or removed in all this time.

Yes, the Irish are a superstitious lot. If any of them had come and removed a stone they would have had a penance to pay with the fairies that would’ve struck them down.
But this “fear” eventually translated into a sort of respect.
In a few days, I will finally be traveling to North Dakota to pay my respects to a people that have been so disrespected in the last 500 or so years since the European invasion of 1492.

I consider these folks family in so many different ways. I am not a First Nation person. But I relate more to the roots of this continent and the roots of my own tribal heritage than anything that has come since then in the way of thought.

Western society is cruel and sadistic. I have always found a separate peace in the Earth and the Moon. The Sacred Mother and her Luminous Sister. The way the trees grow tall and the wind brings simple wisdoms.

It is 2016 and it is about time the people of this current nation make a stand. No to industrialization. No to petty jobs for petty wages. No to digging up death to stunt the growth of cleaner and safer technologies. No to genocide.

On Monday, I will leave the Tiwa land to go support the Dakota land. I will find folks from all over the world there. Together we will be rising up, but really we will be supporting each other to get there. We will be friends… allies…friendly. Our hearts, which are all made of the same earth, will guide us.

On the surface, we will be defending the Earth against sadistic tyrants who seek to ruin us all for profit. In a much more radical way, we will be ending a centuries long war against a people that were here since the dawn of time. We will be defending their culture, their heritage against invasion, so that they can again walk upon this land and teach us all how to celebrate this existence.

We will be fighting for the bloodline. Theirs. Ours. The Earth’s. Everyone’s. In the end, this old-new way, this dying way…will have to listen.

Fighting For A Bloodline

America, The Brave

AMERICA, THE BRAVE

Today’s America
pits a racist depiction of
this nation’s indigenous peoples
against Smokey the bear
in a world series of baseball
ain’t that some irony

Meanwhile,
folks glued to their televisions
are distracted by
two comic book villains
attempting to win the presidency
convinced one of them
will make a difference

But, there is still hope …

The modern heroes
distributed by Netflix Originals™
are a brother wearing a hoodie
and a sister who overcomes
her abuser

(It has to be said, though
it’s sad to see these plots
still alive on the big screen
when they should’ve ended in the 70s
when they were first written)

On the plains of North Dakota
real heroes are born
from their ancestral lands
staging protests
to protect the water
of eighteen million citizens

America,
has never been so brave

And yet,
the media continues its silence
its silence
is the speech of an oppressor
it is the signature
on death warrants
it speaks volumes
even if it is unheard

Prayer through Poetry
Poetry for Peace
We stand for Standing Rock
in Peaceful Prayer

Our oppressors
will wear themselves out
And this nation
will come to realize
what bravery really is:

It is the strength
to stand
in front of the war machine
and continue
to shout LOVE
It is the PRAYER
for PEACE.

America, The Brave