Glacier Park Verses


Drive to Glacier

Smoke from burning slashpiles

hanging in the ranges

with the stuffing torn from clouds

my spirit over the face of the steep


O Flathead Lake,

I will go to your shore

and be baptized awake upside down

breaking surface on another time and place,

returning to my family anew


Old Service Road

Old service road

below the highway along the river

trampled muddy

by the Uruk-hai,

the deer, the oxen

O service road muddy and forgotten,

I saw you


BIson Train

The bellow of the bison


headed west to join the ghosts of American Commerce

dead with the bead trade and buffalo runs,

the stock market and federal reserve,

that and Corporate American Objectivism


Montana means mountain

Hunchback hump of ridges

          kneeling at the foot of the mountains,

ridge to range and back again

Boars back bristling,

plutonic pate, fold of stone,

          riot of bucking broncos

a wake as far as the eye can see

One range meanders on into the next

here in olde montana


Nothing but the Mohawk

of a mountain

Scalped by white men for its wood


A prescience of presence

the mountains beyond the trees

great shoulders for the big sky

there just out of reach


Little Chief rises up an altar before me,

Spirit visions loom behind me,

Going To The Sun over my right shoulder,

Goat Mountain over my left,

Angels at my back,

The hayyoth crying

Holy Holy Holy


Patches of sun on the mountain

the clouds move east with the train


Singleshot Mountain,

A cut of marbled meat

Cosmic slab of Bison steak,

fatty quartzite

running the length of the cut


Lake Vision

A kingfisher hovering over the face of the deep,

Jesus walking across the waters of St Mary’s Lake

The first People here

remembered the mystery of the spirit

and of the fire of the earth

long since forgotten

under the hammer of science

and the adze of religion


Crow flying abreast the highway

You defy as the crow flies

If I were you I would follow

The river or the rail


Indian Highway



Indian highway,

Line of black oil cars

Parked on the rez

Broke down single wide teepees

Under the shadow of the continental divide


Blackfeet boy

In the bed of a white pickup truck    

with 3 dogs riding

2 black labs and one that looks like a coyote,

what will you do today?

Will you help rustle up 6 black cattle

with yellow earrings

who lie along the road

unfenced and bored?

Will you herd the 3 horses

grazing near White Calf Mountain,

free as Old Man intended?

Or will you rescue your elders

on horseback

entangled in sapling stands

driving the herd?


Indian father

 stepping from white mini van

along the side of the road

rifle in hand,

and your son, he with rifle also,

what do you seek?

Lame cattle? The horses? A grizzly?

The hound we will come across a mile south?

Do you hunt for deer?

We saw them hiding on Goat Mountain

two too young two points


Hound trotting masterless

Along the highway

Two black collars and brown ears,

Where are you going?


Looking down upon the Lower Two Medicine

Where generations of Blackfeet have scattered in the wind

Bud Light bottles clutter the steepbank

If you fall, you will die

If you are drunk, you may survive


St Mary’s Lake Verses



3 crows fly over the matchstick forest

black tears

on St Mary’s stone cheekbones

I halt the children for bears

But the crows already warned them


On the shore of St Mary’s

Another planet another time

Wind punching the laughter out of us

Jesus walking across the water whipped

Into our eyes

I die and am revived

Before my children’s eyes