Listen to an audio version of this poem, read by the poet.
I’ve been ghost dancing in 12” ceremony,
mixed in reverse
I want to go back
back to when
drum circle cipher sessions
spun the world.
I’ve been ghost dancing
on this modern platter of cemented Long Walks.
for buffalo with hooves like hail:
“Stampede, please, bump the table
please, bump the table.”
I can dance my toes over their groove backs,
listen to the way hide grinds
like pine nuts in gourd
or Hip-Hop of extinct knees
that snaps beautiful like a B-Boy. The Tribe is back!
Quests no longer find thin sacks of bones
on the plains. I’ve been ghost dancing
I can see
Crazy Horse Notorious B.I.G. and
jump from their paved-over graves.
I hear their Tribal
I hear words.
I hear prayer.
Jam Master Jay shows us
Sha’bik’eh through repetition.
Need to be tied with a deer hide / fat lace. Spit shined, / sterling silver
stamp—gotta long vamp
before B-Boys rip through stage,
decked out in braids.
Turquoise chains hanging for days like
1862 Sioux warrior ways.
new Braves smile,
Natives don’t gotta be the only ones who come back!
John Lennon, Robert Johnson, KeithMoon
play Eagle bone
whistles inside Bob Marley’s Peyote clouds.
We are Rainbow proud,
like Krylon feathers, we
bomb this world in medicine wheel
Blue coats point their Gatling guns
but the bullets pass through us
leaving spiritless splatters on the walls.
They say Graffiti is
So like Wounded Knee
we sink in.
Paint our faces,
like we’re Mad Villains.
Dressed in ghost jerseys,
we dance on aerosol petroglyphs.
lie upon all the silver
in this Glistening world.
is cedar, pine Hogan.
Thug Mansion is deer hide Tipi.
We mix these Gathering Nations
in until we all permeate
We dance to remember.
We dance until the world
is gone. Everyone is gone. The world is a ghost and everything is
So we drop the Sun
Dagger onto vinyl.
And let it sing.
Reed Adair Bobroff is Diné from Albuquerque, New Mexico and a Theater Studies major at Yale University. Primarily a spoken word artist, Reed is also the founder of Spoken Roots: an organization teaching poetry in underserved and Native American communities as a tool for identity development, grief counseling, and substance abuse and suicide prevention.
From The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. Copyright © 2015 by Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Nate Marshall. Used by permission of Haymarket Books.