Long House Valley Poem

Original Text: 
Ortiz, Simon J. Woven Stone. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1992: 237-38.
1                                                                         the valley is in northeastern Arizona
2                                                                    where one of the largest power centers
3                                                                               in this hemisphere is being built
1Sheep and woman.
2The long brown and red land
3looming unto the horizon.
4                         Breathe in so deeply.
6a canyon.
7"Hello" and "Goodbye,"
8but always Hello
9and smile.
10The old rocks, millions of years old.
11A Mohawk camper trailer
12pulled behind a big white Cadillac.
13Tourists,
14the crusaders.
15A cop car
16flashing frenetic orange.
17Slowwww down. I can't
18even remember my license plate number.
19And then, suddenly
20the Peabody Coal Company.
22Open pit.
23Power line over the Mountain,
24toward Phoenix, toward Denver,
25toward Los Angeles, toward Las Vegas,
26carrying our mother away.
27A sign reads: Open Range.
28Bulldozer smoke and dust rise
29from the wounded Mountain.
30A PLAGUE ON ALL YOUR DAMN HORSEPOWER
32The old rocks, millions of years old.
33Horses grazing, quietly.
34A skinny black one throws his head
35at the sky, at the wind.
38and roadside flowers
39and cornfields and the sage
40and the valley peace,
41they are almost gone.

Notes

5] Tsegi Canyon, Navajo Indian Reservation, Arizona. Back to Line
21] Black Mesa and Kayenta mines, operated by Peabody Energy (the world's largest coal company) on Navajo and Hopi lands in Arizona. At present Peabody Energy claims to restore exhausted mined lands to traditional uses. Back to Line
31] Kennecott Utah Copper Mine, near Bingham Utah, now owned by RTZ Corp. The company has committed itself to cleaning up the blighted canyon. Back to Line
36] Yei weavings (Navajo, from New Mexico) depict healing ceremonies. Back to Line
37] hogans: homes of the Dine Navajo People, used specifically for ceremonial worship. Back to Line
Publication Notes: 
Ortiz, Simon J. A Good Journey. Tucson: Sun Tracks and The University of Arizona Press, 1977: 109-10.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2004