Dakota Cowboy

A High Plains drifter.

A hitchhiker on gleaming white U.S. 1.

An American icon with a Stetson on his head and a Marlboro in his mouth.

Not a cent in his pocket and shit for brains.

But he possesses a chiseled chin and a dream.

Riches or bust.

One more solo in an album of wind songs.

Dakota knows all about dust to dust.

And although the Missouri awaits its baptism, Dakota is stubborn as hell.

It’s the devil with its boots on.

Reagan didn’t come from here but he lives here now.

Though John Wayne is dead and Black Elk has already spoken,

Dakota still ships its wealth east and its hopes west.

There is nothing left to eat for the serfs who remain.

The starving cannot imagine.

The Corps of Engineers and the Missouri River Master Manual.

High priests and their holy book, sprinkling federal irreverence under a mean August sun.

West River is scattered and gone, all because of the Ghost Dancers and the dirt they kicked up for Sitting Bull.

Bear Butte, Harney Peak, Pine Ridge, steeples on the roof of the grassland.

Prayer houses for the poor.

Nobody wants to admit it, but the party is over.

Someone just needs to pick up the trash.

But it won’t be that hitchhiker on U.S. 1.

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