Monday, December 12, 2011

Coyote Don't Know

Lone hawk circling, soaring
Higher than I've ever been
No matter how high we get
What's gone ain't coming
    back again
I'm lying on my back and the
    whiskey's almost gone
Just waiting for that river of tears
    to start flowing
The horizon's on fire everywhere
      you look
Just the light from their cities glowing
   Well, I ain't ever been there
   And I ain't ever going
   What coyote don't know
   Ain't worth knowing

Took it home again last night with the 
   headlights off
Just to see how long I could stay out of the ditch
With that yellow moon riding high
    and that Eldorado floored
I was feeling almost white-man rich
Every few miles I passed a 
    warrior's grave
Wrecks on a dark night on a
    lonesome road
Though they were only riding  
   Detroit horses
To me they all died like braves
And they called out to me by my 
    real name, saying
"It's a good day to die, hurry up, might
   be your last chance"
And they beckoned me to come join
   the circle
Where all the skeletons danced
When that moon ran behind some clouds
    I couldn't see a thing
    But I knew where I was going
    What coyote don't know
    Ain't worth knowing

I remember it was Grandfather took me to hear him speak
I wasn't half-grown yet when he came to the reservation
He didn't try to tell us we had to be patient
And he didn't try to tell us all was right with the nation
He was small and frail with a terrible sadness in his eyes
You could feel the weight of the cross he'd carried 
     to this station
The day the people voted for him
Was the same day he got shot down
A couple years later Nixon sent Feds in here
Our men put a couple of them in the ground
Does it ever seem to you the rivers have all run dry
And the grass has stopped growing
And the only sound you can hear
Is a faraway wind blowing?
What coyote don't know
Ain't worth knowing

Well, I might be smaller than a wolf 
But I'm free-er than a dog
Smarter than the night
Slipperier than the fog
My uncle told me when he came back 
   from the army
Anyplace they don't own they call
   Indian Country
Every place in the entire world
The people don't want bought or sold
Now you call it progress cause you dig
   up our earth for uranium instead 
   of gold
Cause you use some different words
When it's the same old lies being told
We even got satellite dishes now
Bring in all that poison you're showing
  But you know, there's stars behind those clouds up yonder beyond the ridge
  By this time tomorrow it'll be snowing
  What coyote don't know
  Ain't worth knowing

Walking along the railroad tracks,
"Do the buffalo know
     they're gone?"
Standing at the foot of the
       cross asking
"How'd a guy like that get to be
       so strong?"
I remember my father playing a guitar, 
  singing"Down in the valley, valley so low"
Remember my brother arguing with 
     the preacher, saying
 "If there's white men up in heaven,
      Then I don't want to go"
Now we're assured the people's future
    is bright
Cause we've staked it all on games 
    of chance
When I dream I don't see roulette wheels
    spinning in the night
But Black Hills where the antelopes prance
Did you think before the black robes got here
We didn't know that we shall live again?
Did you think before you cut them down
Cottonwoods never bent in the wind
    Maybe your gods are stronger than ours
    Or maybe mine knows some things they ain't showing
   And maybe what coyote don't know
   Ain't worth knowing 


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