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SONG OF ARROWS/Adrian C. Louis That high, lonesome sound you hear? It's ghosts of blue soldiers marching, stumbling through moonless night. A homesick trooper lights a cigarette trying to recall an old anthem and the soft melody returns with the hush and whistle of hand-hewn arrows. We sing that song of arrows in the bordertown stores when they follow us down the aisles to make sure we don't steal. We sing that song of arrows when state troopers stop us for no reason on desolate highways. We sing that song of arrows while we tiptoe on the outskirts of this sad and goofy movie named America. It's got a good beat. You can dance to it. The Missouri Review 149 JUNGLE JIM/Adrian C. Louis According to United Nations statistics about eleven percent of the world population will be reincarnated. Men with huge bananas will come back with one-inchers. Those with one inch or less will come back as women. Women will come back as tigers, moaning in the ecstasy of manless jungles. And I will be that jungle. Foetid earth, havoc ofgreen. Flowers offantastic intoxication. Gangster tarantulas of terrible toxicity. 150 The Missouri Review JUICE/Adrian C. Louis Evaporated juice. Canned juice. I turn the can opener of memory. She walks into my house like she owns it. Making sloppy joes for the softball tournament. Ten years ago, tight, tight shorts. Tight white shorts, firm butt cheeks blaring out at me. Made my move, yes. Let me Polaroid your legs. Nice, but I need them shiny. Baby oil up thighs, higher. Baby oil on globed ass. Ghost of juice now. Her cancer baldness now. Indian cemetery whispering. Nothing I can say. What should I say? Do you remember? Wasn't it good? I mean WASN'T life good? You sure were pretty before you started dying! Withered, arid plains of August. No juice now, nor ever again. The Missouri Review 151 VAL-????? FROM INDIAN COUNTRY/ Adrian C. Louis On these plains the plows and drums wrestle for centuries and marry into resignation. The old songs scratch the earth attempting to release the ancestors. Digging deeper, John Deere tractors unleash the Ghost Dance but nobody remembers the steps. Cattle and deer graze together in the moonlit fields, both afraid of civilization, and fearful of the forgetful mouth of man. Bob used to tell me he thought drinking was a revolutionary act. Of course, this was before he got out of his car in a Badlands blizzard and lurched until he turned into a block of brown ice. Months after my near fatal operation I ask my doctor if I can drink again. I didn't know you drank, he says. Well, I haven't in ten years, I tell him and shake my head. I've paid my dues and I'm still a thirsty fool. I leave his office and sigh, knowing I've made it through another day. Ten years of one day at a time. 0 sweet Mary ofNazareth, 152 The Missouri Review my soul is the Black Rock Desert and your son is not my wine. Crossing into the rez, most white people.think they're entering Hell. There is unmistakable scent of brimstone, eternal damnation. Everywhere they turn are burned-out husks of abandoned cars and scarred husks of abandoned humans, shuffling, lost in the dreams of their grandfathers. Hope is only a word used in grant applications or in the leering glare of casino one-armed bandits. Yes, this is Indian Country and we are bone and juice, twelve frothy ounces of moon drool, a touch of inexact wistfulness, wry evaporation, and eventual extinction. In America there is no truer place for us to worship our terrible beauty. Adrian Louis has a new book of poems, Ancient Acid Flashes, due out in 2000. Adrian C. Louis The Missouri Review 153 ...
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