Saturday, May 30, 2009

Series of Dreams #5 - Crosses of San Carlos

Past Jerusalem Mountain; red-amphetamine sunrise
Mesquite, saguaro, great mystical agave…tell us, please,
Where in hell are we going?

There is a road which runs from Phoenix Arizona, on up to Globe and back down the other side to Lordsburg, New Mexico. Highway 60 melts into highway 70 at Globe and runs down through the San Carlos Apache reservation. This is the great cactus road of all cactus roads, with all the Sonoran varieties of agaves, prickly pears, ocotillos and chollas; and the barrels and the great saguaros and organ pipes. Don't forget the fish hooks, and devils fingers and ironwoods and stag horns and Palo Verde and hedgehogs. Might even spy a Joshua Tree with a Gila Monster hiding behind it. When you hit the San Carlos reservation the road becomes spiked and framed with the white crosses which mark the Indian dead. Drunk drivers, mostly. You see, there's no alcohol allowed on the reservation and sometimes the folks get thirsty and take off on a weekend spirit search for libation, which becomes a ghost dance. Those roads are snaky, sandy and treacherous when a man has twenty beers under his belt and he's pissed off anyways at what became of the Native West. All of it went to hell since they sent Geronimo into exile in Florida. Florida for Christ sakes. Can you imagine an Apache Warrior Chief in Florida? And maybe out there on that Arizona road, in dead of night, you might be lucky to glimpse the almost extinct Mexican Jaguar (one was recently collared and accidentally killed by well meaning Tucson park ranger biologists)…though it aint likely the Old Man Jaguar would venture this far north of the line. Let's say two boys stole a car from their drunken Apache brother and head for town; over yonder. This be Mangus Jack and Jimmy Yellow Eye. On the way back, drunker than a thousand white people, they are swerving and swilling. Swilling and swerving. They're listening loud to "Horseshoes and Hand Grenades" off of Green Day's latest: "21st Century Breakdown." The boys squint and see a Jaguar in the high beam lights. Brother jaguar is walking his coyote predator walk, down the middle of the road. There is a shooting star high up above Jerusalem Mountain; then a screaming and screeching of tires; the final war dance of blood, hot metal and sand. Shattered glass skimming sideways through the air like ancient arrowheads; piercing the sacred saguaros. The moaning and then the final silence. Three days later there are two more white crosses on Highway 70; a bouquet of plastic roses and a sign lettered in black paint. "In loving memory of our Apache brothers:Mangus Jack and Jimmy Yellow Eye. R.I.P. Horseshoes and Hand Grenades! Forever!" Amen.
(This is song #5 in a series of back-lit dream songs off the coming record "Blood and Candle Smoke.)


Anonymous said...

Tom, You are a very good story teller and muscian. I am looking forwards to you new songs. I am somewhat of an artist, if you'd like to visit my website its:
There is a guestbook if you'd like to leave a comment.
Well take care and watch out for those Jaguar's in Arizonia!

editor said...

yeah. That's the one.

Anonymous said...

I was up in San Carlos a few years back when my wife was asked to photograph a wedding. When we showed up at the small house just about everyone had gone. Clothing was hung to dry and a couple of scrawny dogs were milling around looking for food. Long story a little shorter, a child had been backed over by a truck and killed. Of course, everyone was at the hospital. When we got there the lobby was filled with shock and mourning in full blossom. We were close enough to everyone there that we were invited to view the child's remains. We declined.

After we left the hospital we learned there was a funeral for an elder that we were acquainted with so we went over there to pay our respects. A man was outside this small church playing gospel blues on his electric guitar and singing for the departed's long journey to the next world.

San Carlos is a beautiful place but it's harshness has always seemed violently sudden. This entry reminded me of all this.

Tom, I heard you do this song in Sahaurita, AZ recently. I "can't wait" to hear the cut on the CD and see you when you come to Tucson in September. Thank you for what you do.

Unknown said...

Where the heck is Saddle Tramp? said...

To the abover. Hehe.

Anonymous said...

Dude, that place is full of peyote cactus, isn't it? I want to believe you didn't eat any of those, right? right? If you did, you should try them with a generic viagra dose on you. It's great.