“Civilization has been thrust upon me… and it has not added one whit to my love for truth, honesty, and generosity”. – Luther Standing Bear

“What must we do, has become what must I do?” – DS

And he looks away!

He sees Whiteclay as immortal sometimes, and perhaps it is. A Northern Nebraska indention between the world of his ancestors and the fifth of Wild Turkey he holds in the very palm of his hand. He feels Whiteclay as an empty faced angel scorching the earth in January, alkali and snow mixing, bringing death to the valley grounds. So cold in winter, there’s not a sound, except the sighing of the last breath of the defeated.  The indigenous, such a nice progressive word, for the itómni man leaving town. The mist it rises barely, over worn blankets hiding flesh, their bottles around them giving unto them a twenty-second century rest. And for the record Bruce Springsteen you can go home, for your song Nebraska, does not come close to atone. Your culture of murder, and thrills. Nothing is real in these Nebraska hills.

And he looks away!

For a million stars that have fallen from this cold sky. A million spirits that failed to gray and die. Look away, he sometimes hears them say. Born to die, die in Whiteclay. And sometimes late night, when he’s so drunk, his greatest grandfather comes riding bareback on the back of a thirteen-point buck. His eyes are smoking, and his feathers gray and black. He speaks in languages that the old ones hid away. Sounds and syllables from way back. In his tongue there is no variance or broken sound, just a rushing river of the winds from the south. The questions he wonders the ones he should ask, always seem to stick in his mind, as his greatest grandfather looks back. For in the morning when he awakes there is no greatest grandfather, only the empty bottle in Whiteclay, and his headache.

And he looks away!

He sees Whiteclay as a metaphor, for the coming future for the whole damn war. For the differences between what has been and the future apocalypse for agnostic sin. He knows it is a place in a state of mind for the drunken Indian that has lost his mind. But somewhere in the springtime when it is not so cold and bare, sometime when the first grass starts to bare, then if he’s alive, he will start again. To drive north from Whiteclay to where this war began. In the dead of night, he will sing a song, do a little ghost dance till the dead of dawn. And from the point of past of where he might have been, he will look away from demons and try to rise again. And then he will toss the bottle of his greatest sin, and he will look away. Finally, he will look away.

And he looks away! – 01.14.2019 – דָּנִיֵּאל


66 thoughts on “Whiteclay

  1. I ask the question as you do Daniel, how is it I can help, what is it I can do. The story of Whiteclay is a somber and sad one, and you have brought it as you do so often with so many social topics to life. Going to share. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Whiteclay — Daniel Swearingen | heatherdevono

  3. To be sure Daniel it was like listening to an older Springsteen song, but I get your sentiment. I just had to throw that in as a “Springsteen” fan. 😉 The hopelessness came through very well in your sweeping descriptions. Well done. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your choice of music for this post was a great choice. I listened to it over and over again as I read your words. I kept reading “For a million stars that have fallen from this cold sky. A million spirits that failed to gray and die.” I am still hearing the song and thinking about the words I read.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Daniel,
    This piece touched me in a personal way. I am half Lakota, and although my life has been very blessed growing up far from my homeland, I have visited the very area you have written so well about. Your description and your character is full of reality. Thank you for writing this.
    ❤ lauren

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Brother, the tone and subject matter of this piece touched my heart. You have often brought your inner voice to subject matters that are of a personal matter. This one touches us all. Shalom, Den

    Liked by 1 person

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