* listen *

Buffalo gals, won’t you come out tonight,
Come out tonight, come out tonight,
Buffalo gals, won’t you come out tonight,
And dance by the light of the moon?*

These dreams, they sing to me
in startling and feral ways
that reveal me
as I learn to dance by the light of the moon.

These dreams, they free me
to fly with black capped Mother Chickadee
as she glides through the wind
and sends me home again to her nest
like a cinder on the air of dawn.

These dreams, they open me
to the lust of Sister Coyote’s call.
I hear her laughing at her lovers
and then calling them back again,
kicking her long legs out and singing.

These dreams, they heal me
by Father Jay who dances
to a lonesome chirping tune
with an echo that comes down
from the rimrock on the second beat.

These dreams, they carry me
on the broad back of Brother Horse
whose long black mane is tied by willow bark
that flows as he runs through the night
like tumbleweed, as fast as the wind.

These dreams, they wrap me
in a blanket spun by Grandmother Spider
who weaves lightening through
the black and white rain while
her shuttle thrumms through the warp.

This poem is a reflection of some of the beings, images and phrases from Ursula K. Le Guin’s story Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come out Tonight

“Isn’t that stealing?” the child asked, worried.
“Yes,” Coyote answered, trotting on.

Image credit: Fox by Judy Jordan

* Buffalo Gals is a song written by John Hodges, a traveling minstrel who may have adapted it from a traditional American folk tune. It was published in 1844. The lyrics refer to the dancing girls who performed in bars, concert-hall dives and brothels of the Buffalo, New York Canal District, which, at that time was the western terminus of the Erie Canal and the site where canal and freighter crewmen received their wages. Wikipedia.

Opening music to voice recording: Buffalo Gals sung by Guy Carawan (1958)