Indian Bars

Those old badlands border town bars
timeless as Indian reservations made permanent
dim lit fixtures where the stumble wing
flying gnats are just as thirsty
as their human patron counterparts
buzzed up, waiting for nothing to happen

A good Rez joke cuts through the air
laughter shrills like a chainsaw
woodchips flying bumblebee crazy
echoing off walls and pool tables
patrons sit barstool firm as roots
cackling, tree branch arms swaying
cracked bark smiles
wild leaf hair rustling
as torso trunk heads
rocking with merriment wind voice
carrying the moon and stars past midnight
closing time always arrives too soon

Luke Warm Water’s poetry appears in Shedding Skins: Four Sioux Poets (Michigan State University Press, 2008). He was a featured poet at the prestigious Geraldine R. Dodge 12th Biennial Poetry Festival and was the first spoken-word poet to receive an Archibald Bush Foundation individual artist fellowship in literature. Although retired from competition, Luke has won Poetry Slams from California to Germany. His latest book City Tree of Concrete & Hope (2014) received an Artists Embassy International literary award. Luke currently resides in Oakland, California.

You can see another of his poems here in 2.4.