street of dreams

I am walking in the wilderness
the moon disappears into shadow
above the rooftops owl
carries away a hapless soul
my spirit guide says beware
beats his wings
against the side of his cage
my spirit guide is a small yellow bird
I send ahead of me into the mine

in the dreamworld i am walking
down a street called the future
the houses on this street are bubbles
like the universe —only collapsing
high on a hill other houses rise
like the carbonation in champagne
        or coca cola
one by one they burst in thin air
leaving a faint, putrid odor
my bird sings beware beware
as owl carries away one more soul

and now i am walking down another street
this street named the past
is filled with small shops
which sell things we no longer use
the shopkeepers have sad eyes
as they turn the keys in their locks
go home to their shrinking bubbles
        owl is screeching
i continue walking
even though my canary is silent

i am walking down yet another street
with my dead canary
there is no street sign
but i know this street
i know the name of this street
it is filled with the dead and dying
garbage piled in the alleys
where blue smog hangs
over oily blacktop
it is the street where i live
but i am not yet ready to go home
i am not ready to face
the crimes i have committed
i will choose the wilderness
i prefer exile to waking

i am walking down another street
        in another country
and stone-faced soldiers
stand guard on every corner
the owls are screaming
a brown-skinned boy
sits on the broken concrete curb
ditsenvsvi hena he says
        you go home
there is nothing here you can do
he spits in the gutter
in the distance a baby cries
the owls, the owls scream

i am in a car
careening down the highway
the radio spitting hatred
spitting blue smoke exhaust
i am almost there
i am almost
at the street with no name
i am lying in my bed
a baby cries feed me
a baby cries wake up and feed me

i have no choice now
but to face the waiting mirror

© 2005 by Duane Poncy

i dreamed i was on a boat

Once I dreamed I was on a boat in the middle of a wide river, floating toward the sea. My boat was a very small boat, nothing more than a raft, really. I felt overwhelmed. Sometimes the river became so expansive, or the fog so thick, that I couldn’t see the bank. I traveled along so slowly that it felt like I wasn’t moving at all. At other times, the river grabbed me, and pulled me into the rapids. My tiny boat would lurch and sway and be swallowed by the violence of the current, then heaved back up like an indigestible meal.

Every now and then along the way, I could see a smaller stream emptying its waters into this great river, and along each of these tributaries was something almost recognizable –a town, or a farm, or someone fishing. Once I saw a familiar face of an old man chopping wood. I willed myself nearly close enough to look him in the eye. Who are you old man? I asked. As the current took my little boat and yanked me away, I heard him say: I am your ancestor. Have they not told you of me?


Whether of the left, right or center, ideological absolutists (purists, fundamentalists, whatever you want to call them), have a few things in common. Among these is an intolerance which is inconsistant with democracy. There is One Truth, and whoever deviates is either the devil, or on the road to hell. You’re either with us or against us, love it or leave. Fundis of the left are no different in this respect, than fundis of the right.

My favorite site to explore the fundis is Portland Indymedia. While Indymedia is a great site to find out what about left happenings in the community, and occasionally even breaks an important story, its open publishing forum is a magnet for fundis of all stripes.

Here are some of the fundamentalist threads you can find there:

Anti-Nader Democrats: these folks are narrow-minded anti-democrats who believe that the DP owns the vote of anyone who calls themselves Progressive. These bigots now control the Multnomah County Democratic Party.

Liberal Haters: These folks are Radicals. There One Truth is that nothing but Revolution will save America. Anyone who proposes anything short of Armed Resistance or Direct Action (whatever that is, I don’t think they know) is an Appeaser of the [Capitalism, The State, Fill in the Blank].

Electoral Politics is a Waste Of Time: Some of these folks belong to the above. The Democraps and the Repuglicans are two wings of the same party, big money and big government have made your vote useless. They have no solution to this, so they like to spend a lot of time online, beating up on people who might want to exercise their vote.

Cop-Haters: Cops are Bad. Cops are Pigs. Anybody who says anything good about a cop is…well…probably a cop.

Conspiracy Theorists: Well you know that Al-CIAda is responsible for 9-11. They did to put the fascists in power. They got help from the Israelis, who planted explosives in Twin Towers (oh, and you thought is was airliners who brought them down, you foolish person). They may have also been responsible for Oklahoma City. Of course the Bushes and the Bin Laden’s have been pals for years, funding Nazis and such. The communist-zionist conspiracy, some believe they are The Illuminati, descendants of a race of beings from outer space who have been controlling the human race since the beginning of time. These right wing theories have been around forever, but now they have new adherents among the anarcho-lefties. Dare to suggest that any piece of their theory is wrong and…well…you are part of the conspiracy.

Anyway, thats my peeve for the day

stories of the ancestors

There are two Cherokee Tribes. One is represented by the Cherokee Nation, east & west, and other groups, recognized and unrecognized. This tribe is overwhelmingly made up of mixed-bloods; many, like me, are part of the Cherokee diaspora, tied only by blood, and some family stories. But even most of those who grew up in The Nation are more connected to the white, mainstream culture, than they are to their Tsalagi roots. We Cherokees, like our all-white counterparts, are mechanics and clerks and college professors, drive the same Chevrolets or Toyotas, go to the same churches, drink the same brands of coffee, and so on.

Then, there is the second Cherokee Tribe. That is the tribe of some mostly-forgotten past, which still offers its hand to the present. It is the tribe of our ancestors. The ancestors speak to us in the language of the dead. But in America today, few know this language. That is because the mainstream culture fills every moment of our lives with the chatter of the living —the young, the hip, the consumerist desire.

Many of us try to understand the ancestors by retelling the stories of the old times. While these stories are important, they aren’t enough. Unless the stories instruct us in our contemporary world, then they are only children’s fairy tales. Learning the “sacred formulas,” or the use of herbs, or grandma’s recipes will not embue us with truth.

As much as we (mostly mixed-bloods) may want to belong to that second tribe, we cannot escape the fact that we are the product of two (or more) cultures. By definition, the white, European Uber Kulture will always try to dominate. And it will be difficult to tell our (Tsalagi) stories from their (European) stories, because we are they.

Still, our ancestors have important knowledge to offer us. In order to understand them, I think we must first learn to listen.

I have some suggestions to get started.

Turn off the T.V. Go out side. Run your fingers through some soil of that place where you are living now. Listen to the wind.

Ask yourself some questions. What kind of world do I want? What is wrong with the one I have? What is the best path to get from one to the other? What am I doing with my life right now that is not in harmony? Listen to the voice that answers.

What advice would my grandmother give me? My grandfather? What lessons do their stories have to teach us today? Listen to the answers.

What are the stories, all of the stories, that have led up to the person that I am? Listen to the storytellers.

It is your ancestors speaking. It doesn’t matter if they are Cherokee or French or Chinese, or African-American, listen. They have something important to say.

by duane poncy

the next ice age — an excerpt

The transit, the chain, the compass. Those were the instruments of the land surveyor, before geo-positioning and such electronic wizardry. My Cherokee ancestors had a word for compass, duyuda kahonvsgi. It meant “land stealer.” That’s what land ownership is really. It is about taking something that belongs to everyone, and saying, “This is mine. I paid for it. It’s been measured. I got a piece of paper and I own it son-of-a-bitch, so keep your filthy mocassins off of it!”

But who did they pay for it? God?

In my part of the country, we have these so-called Property Rights people. They think they’re blessed with the absolute God-given right to real estate. They purchase some hot piece of property, looking to make a killing, and when the zoning doesn’t go their way, they expect the rest of us to pony-up. Loss of Potential Income. Pain and Suffering. Boo-hoo.

I got news for you, pal. You’ve got no right. You have a piece of bleached dead tree, marked with invisible ink. The people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They have a right to protect Mother Earth. They have a right to a place to sleep, piss and eat the fruit of their labor. You have the right to take your thieving piece of paper and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

When the next Ice Age comes, and the snow starts piling up for 100,000 years, your borders and boundaries and property lines won’t mean a damned thing. Your surveyors stakes will be buried beneath a mile of ice. A fool might invent some electronic gadget to attach to the bedrock, which will withstand gazillions of pounds of pressure. But so what? You think the Queen of the Polar Bears is gonna recognize your so-called Property Rights?

Another Ice Age is a lot closer than most of us realize. The Gulf Stream spills over from the South Pacific, into the salty Atlantic Ocean to keep Europe and North America toasty. When Ma Earth gets hot enough from your global warming, and the polar ice begins to thaw —which it already has, by the way— the change in salinity will shut off the Gulf Stream like a switch. Click. An Ice Age.

Another theory I have is that the Ice Age has already started. The coldness emanates from the hearts of callous human beings. The Cherokee word for cold is the same word we use for Republican. No lie!

by duane poncy

crossing borders

What border, what contrivance of culture is it that prevents us from standing in the middle of the street, all of us, and saying stop? Stop! We have to change this world. If we don’t change this world, there will be no world. And if we don’t believe that, can’t we see what is happening to the people of the world? Can’t we see that it is wrong that we sit behing our tables in restaurants and homes and eat all the cheap food raised by people dying in the rows from the slavery we impose? Can’t we see how we take the food from them and their children lift their too large hands to a too large face to shoo away a fly from the corners of their eyes, protuberant orbs in faces that hover over distended bellies? And their mothers and fathers dying of AIDS and them dying of AIDS and we can’t allow them to buy the drugs, or we can’t give them the drugs that will ease them or save them. And the School of the Americas graduates that have killed and raped in Central America and Columbia in the name of democracy and, oh yes, let us not forget Henry Kissinger who told the Argentinian death machine, “we want you to succeed.” Have I crossed any borders yet?