Dance of Tears, Chief Nobody

Dance of Tears, Chief Nobody is a poem written and shared by Michael Lee Johnson to The Ugly Writers for the month of March.


Dance of Tears, Chief Nobody (V5)


I’m old Indian chief story
plastered on white scattered sheets,
Caucasian paper blowing in yesterday’s winds.

I feel white man’s presence
in my blindness-
cross over my ego my borders
urinates over my pride, my boundaries-
I cooperated with him until
death, my blindness.

I’m Blackfoot proud, mountain Chief.

I roam southern Alberta,
toenails stretch to Montana,
born on Old Man River−
prairie horse’s leftover
buffalo meat in my dreams.
Eighty-seven I lived in a cardboard shack.
My native dress lost, autistic babbling.
I pile up worthless treaties, paper burn white man.

Now 94, I prepare myself an ancient pilgrimage,
back to papoose, landscapes turned over.

I walk through this death baby steps,
no rush, no fire, nor wind, hair tangled−
earth possessions strapped to my back rawhide−
sun going down, moon going up,
witch hour moonlight.

I’m old man slow dying, Chief nobody.

An empty bottle of fire-water whiskey
lies on homespun rug,
cut excess from life,
partially smoked homemade cigar-
barely burning,
that dance of tears.

* Music Video Credit: Native American Indian Music – Sunset Ceremony- Earth Drums 02




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