Guinotte Wise lives on a farm in Resume Speed, Kansas (USA). His short story collection,
Night Train, Cold Beer, won publication by a university press and just enough money to
fix the soffits. Three more books since. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives
100 miles a day to keep it.

Dog Toy in the Weeds

Neither a Kooser nor a Collins am I
just a lowly Poet Lariat of the plains
I know it's laureate but I'm a rodeo
poet a retired bull rider who simply
deals in bull and never reigned

But when I walk my place with old
dog Rocket (Lucy left us after her
thirteenth birthday) we look about
and find this woods receptive to us
old hands and paws that we are

Home for owl who declines to hide
she knows us well enough by now
but retreats from tree to tree as we
advance, she soundless, dropping a
barred feather for Rocket to find

I spy a half buried odd thing in the
weeds, nudge it with my foot and
dislodge it to the sun and Rocket's
curiosity: a rubber donut that Lucy
tired of, larger than life, soundless

as the owl's flight now, due to a
dog surgical removal of its squeak
yet it still shows icing and colored
sprinkles. Not enough to engage
Rocket's interest, a scent has put

his nose and thoughts to rabbits
which he pursues like my memory
follows the trail of Lucy's delight
with this Christmas or birthday's
squeaking donut they no doubt

quarreled about and growled at
one another's bold assumption
that any of the many toys were
one or the other's for the taking
The donut makes me ache a bit.

Fast Moving Storm

The dog comes close, leans against my leg
as I sit,waiting for the storm to pass
the piglet runs from room to room excitedly
so I lift it, hold it in my lap, but it squeals
and runs away, each boom of thunder
accelerating its pace it seems, the dog
merely lowers his head and burrows closer
to me. The trees are waving wildly then
they still and something seems waiting
watching, hunting us? Then it, too, passes
and the rain comes sideways to the house
slashing, then becomes a spring rain and
the piglet comes to us as though he just
now found what he wanted. I stroke the
dog and the pig and they seem grateful
as though I had stilled the storm and made
the rain into something we understand and
fear lifts as the light comes back and we
venture out to look at the carpet of hail.
We are a small, loose, happy herd on the
way to check the horses in the pasture.
The horses, Amy and Harley, have taken
refuge in the loafing shed. I wonder how
the hail sounded to them on the tin roof.
Must've been a billy blue banshee bitch.

Leonard Peltier

Seems to be a strain of sadness
in this indigenous reservation
just a deep of boredom boring
holes in souls with everclear
which is what we're sharing in
a jar that passes roundabout
wiping mouth on sleeve I say
this shit will make you blind
and they just shrug and pass the
jar, I drink too, and sky blurs
blue, white clouds take shapes
of riders charging into wounds
and wombs and flowing fiery
buckskin tombs, the pyres of
a massacre a roundup of open
mouths beneath the hooves of
blue clad scorchers of the plains
who leave a smoking mass of
ruin there seems to be a strain
of sadness here, or doom or
bones that bleach but wailing
still that cannot stand the wait
for kharma or the manitou that
rights the wrongs so fuck it all
for now they seem to say and
pass that lightning blinding
booze, casino coming to scalp
a few the other way, we look
as huge-tired scrapers change
the land, one laughs, another
sighs but smiles drains the jar
sets it down turns and takes a
whiz which sizzles on the little
fire we set to keep mosquitos
down a bit, he hunkers there
and then he sings some Indian
song about counting coup he
looks at me, don't look at me
I say, he looks away, I can't
help it being white my heart
is red, he says yes but you'd
have been on bedlam's side
fired blindly into wigwams
where my people died and
rode on bloodlust satisfied I
am sure of that he said but I
am also sure of hell to pay
you will not escape that day
sins of fathers come to stay
he shakes my hand and walks
away. I read nothing in the
clouds but visualize the glass
and steel casino rising out of
bones and sand and cries and
moans that fill the night with
psychic leftovers from the
site of things we whites say
that is sad but not our way
this day and age of football
names we are so correct and
civilized but look away when
Leonard goes to jail to stay.

Back to Front.