We headed south at Counselors, NM, 17 miles west of Cuba
the quiet red rock, pastoral beauty
Rains have turned Navajo land green, but
off the highway, fracking for oil is everywhere, even in
the velvety, hut-like hills Di-né call The Black Place.
Coal in the soil colors the mounds that look like
whales or hundreds of igloos in grey rock
Red soils layer yellow, dappled with green on the cliffs
The badlands beautiful from El Niño surface water
The elder named Daniel mentioned Georgia O’keefe
to give us two white women context
I thought of her Joseph Stieglitz in NY
making his fortune on her paintings of these hills
wild flowers and cow bones, her craggy face
The bright-blue pipes in a ditch were for water from elsewhere
to aid the ransacking process,
all would go elsewhere after resurfacing
The toxic cocktail infuses almost a mile into the earth
a mile out in two directions, releasing wasted gas
methane, dirty fuel, poisoned water
in the process. Oil trucks like wooly mammoths rampage
soft dust roads. Trucks rush with the toxic crude, create traffic
on the path-like roads used by families,
farmers, and school kids in buses. Many passed us that day.
Each landowner or allottee is given a one-time check. It’s
not enough for the ruination of sacred land,
a people, their history and future.
Exhausted from the bumpy ride and the sorrow, heading back
I ask Daniel questions about the sixties, the seventies
in Navajo Land. Two elders can talk like that. He tells me about
his brother hanging out with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in Taos
I imagine one helluva good-looking Navajo man
I tell him about getting wasted on acid the night
I had a job capping LSD for Augustus Owsley Stanley III,
the chemist who first brought LSD to California.
We go back in time just for fun. I tell him
how we had to buy rubber gloves in the morning to finish the job.
He sent an email saying the image of the white powder
on my finger tips will be in his mind a long time and that I was
a good story teller. Such high praise from a Navajo I won’t forget,
nor will I forget the fracking stations,
the squat, toad-like silos of oil, gas,
and the misleading term “produced water.”
A euphemism for water now poison,
awaiting injection back into the Rez.
There is a creek that will burn if you put a match to it,
a woman from Di-né Cares tells us.
Hey, Big Oil Bullies, That can’t be called “not-harmful.”
And most LSD takers are pro clean air, and sane and safe alternatives.
Just sayin. We all might consider fighting for this one.
Thank Goddess (and probs the girls and Michelle) the Prez
put cajones and backbone
on this at last, but as he says, there is a point at which it will be too late.
Take the quiz. What is fracking? Which states have the most?
Which states send the most dangerous oil trains to the coast?
Which same state could fuel the nation with wind and solar? Hint,
hint: you’re in it.