This poem represents one of my earliest clear memories. It was an encounter that occurred somewhere near Needles, CA in 1963.
The sun beats down on tin roofs, a fist from God – the One who made the cactus flower and needles to protect it. Two boys lock eyes at 70 mph. The bronze one stands still, surrounded by flowers and needles. The white one flies by in a blue ’63 Impala. A boy can learn all he needs to know at 70 mph, or standing still, A boy learns who is already lost and who will be in the end. He learns tomorrow may be a block of granite, today is a ticking watch, and yesterday belongs to the dream catcher. A boy learns on the Rez. He learns the future is a souvenir, a trinket, fool’s gold, nothing at all; he learns it is a blue jacketed bullet, it is a bronze tipped arrow -it is something dangerous speeding through the Rez.