Friday, August 10, 2012

I Ride My Buffalo to Remember

One recent night in the dream world, I rode a buffalo bareback to get a bit of ice cream. We traveled down a busy, tree-lined street, and not a single car or truck so much as slowed down as we passed. I caught sight of my reflection in a glass-walled building: sitting astride my four-legged chariot, my hair streamed down my back, unbound and untamed as her mane; but instead of buckskin, I wore a sky blue Talbot's tee shirt. 

Talk about straddling two worlds. Our entire journey was rich with contradiction and metaphor for the tension that exists, that we've created, between the natural and industrialized worlds. In my waking life, I inhabit primarly the latter. Traveling with buffalo, I can remember that which came before, and that to which I can return - both in and outside of my dreams. 

This poem attempts to explore the messages and spirit of Buffalo, and to honor the dream in which we traveled together, unseen by the waking world.

I Ride My Buffalo to Remember

I ride my buffalo to partake of the feast,
to indulge, until sated,
in the pleasures and treasures
before and beyond us.
The perfumed relief of open air,
the languid summer breeze on our faces,
the brief, sweet respite
of a lone shade tree,
the company of a kindred soul.

I ride my buffalo to remember,
to feel remembering in my bones;
the dissolution of boundaries
between beings and being,
the solid support of her broad bare back,
sinew and blood,
muscle and bone.
The smell of sun-warmed fur
fragrant with sweat, grass and loam
returns me to myself
in an instant, 
for real and for good.

I ride my buffalo to inspirit my prayers,
to give thanks for the abundance
that both carries and is carried 
within me.
My path has been blessed,
each breath,
every step,
and I have never traveled alone.

I ride my buffalo between the worlds,
the one on the surface
and the Real one beneath.
Skimming the skin of the outside world
from this perch atop my ancient kin,
I peer over her brow at the horizon
scrawled with the horrors
and hopes
of my fellows.
They do not see us 
though we pass within the distance 
of a breath,
do not hear us 
though we call out 
in a single, resonant voice,
Return! Return! Return!

I feel myself grow heavy upon her back
and my cheeks, my chin,
her neck
are baptized in a salty torrent.

With thundering hooves and heaving breath
we pierce this flimsy membrane,
plummenting through and descending 
down to the heartbeat
of the world,
where beneath perpetual sky
and upon boundless land
we eat, sleep, dance and dream
with one heart, one mind
around one circle of stones,
one eternal fire.

Ringed by the ancestors,
enjoined by the spirits,
buffalo dances with wolf,
bird and fish unite,
black embraces white to form
a silver plume 
that ascends beyond sight 
to tickle the stars, 
an invitation to the dance.

I ride my buffalo to remember,
to feel remembering in my bones.

8.10.12/Honoring a dream

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