Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Tension on the Reservation…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Children,Liberation Fantasies,Life & Death,Native Americans,Travel — Bob at 5:53 am on Saturday, July 20, 2013

July 16, 2013


I’m unemployed

Uncertain about my chances

My son and I

In an ancient Chevy van

Take off to see America’s West

Driving by day

Sleeping in the van at night

Cooking our meals on a three-burner

Coleman stove

A can opener the essential tool

I am thirty-five

My son is six

We are on a Great Adventure

We will be gone for five weeks

Many small towns won’t let you park

To sleep overnight

We have to hunt in the dark

For a both safe and legal spot

Harder than you think

We cross many rivers

Sunlight glinting off of them

Stop to swim in them

Freeze our damn nuts off

See animals everywhere

Deer, possum, rabbits, raccoons

Fox, coyotes, armadillos, buffalo

My son thinks the world is a zoo

Late one night

In simmering Arizona

In the middle of a desert

We coast through a ghost town

Silently looking

To park, eat, sleep

The days broil

The nights shivery

The ragged metal sign said:

Hualapai Indian Reservation

There were bullet holes in the sign

With our near empty gas tank

Too late to hunt

For another town

We see no one

The road breaks into gravel

Shacks with collapsed roofs

Rusted cars scattered

Occasional street lights

But no people appear

On this Indian Reservation

I spy an old foundation

Sagebrush and a single streetlight

Options few, I pull in

We set up our usual dinner routine

My boy and me

Alone in the quiet of the night

I open a card table

Haul out the green stove

Fill the tank with white gas

Open two folding chairs

Set the two-mantle gas lantern

On our shaky table

It hisses a greeting

I light the fragile mantles

With a long wooden match

The match’s yellow flame

Brilliant in the blackness

All around us

Several tin cans opened

Paper plates ready

Water in the cups

Pots of tasty food

Bubbling on the three burners

Beef stew, corn, carrots

Boiled potatoes

I stir and serve

Another night on the road


From nowhere

Absolutely nowhere

A battered pickup truck

Roars into the lot

Half a dozen men

In the front

In the back

All drinking beer

Not smiling

 I can see

They are Indians

And we are on their land

White men on their land

Trespassing on

The Reservation of the Hualapai

My son keeps eating

I sit still as a stone

Knowing our possible fate

Our chances of escape

Are Zero

My small son is not afraid

He has not yet learned

To be afraid

At times like this

I wait

A very tall man

Jumps out of the back of the pickup

Black hat

Long black hair

Spilling over his shoulders

Jean shirt, jean pants

Broad shoulders

Dark skin

Cowboy boots

He stares at both of us

Beer can in his fist

Slightly wavering

Leaning on the pickup

No one speaks

The radio not playing

Silence in the blackness

Surrounding all of us

On their Reservation

My son is blonde

White blonde hair

White pink skin

Like his beautiful mother

Nothing like me

We could be two strangers

Sitting together

At the card table

The tall Indian approaches us

Still slightly wavering

He stands at the edge of the table

He towers over the table

He doesn’t speak

My son keeps eating

He is not afraid

The Indian looks at my son

He turns and looks at me

My dark brown eyes

Dark brown hair

Olive skin

Clearly visible to all of them

In the bright yellow light of my

Hissing Coleman lantern

Setting his beer can on our table

He says to me

In a deep voice

I’m an Indian! 

My son looks up at him

I look up at him

I reply

With defiant conviction

I’m an Indian, too!

The tall man looks down at me

Tilts his head


Deep lines creasing his face

Dark brows bunched

Dry lips frowning

We sit in the silence

All eyes on the two of us

Slowly, he nods his head

Doesn’t smile

Grabs his beer

Staggers back to his pickup

The big motor howls

Breaking the silence

All of them vanishing

As if erased by the wind

Into the night

On their Reservation

Invisible Indians once more

My blonde son keeps eating

I breathe


Publishing News!

Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him!
Vol. One: A Savage Heart and Vol. Two: Fighting Words

Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine.

Please visit my new website: https://www.dontgoquietlypress.com
If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return and contact info.
I will get your books to you within ten days.
Here’s complete information on how to buy my books:

Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words
My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.

Robert M. Katzman
Don’t Go Quietly Press
PO Box 44287
Racine, Wis. 53404-9998 (262)752-3333, 8AM–7PM

Books cost $29.95 each, plus shipping

For: (1)$3.95; (2)$5.95; (3)$7.95; (4)$8.95 (5)$9.95;(6) $10.95

(7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9)$13.95 (10)$15.95 (15)$19.95

I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. Schools should call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books. Also: businesses, bookstores, private organizations or churches and so on.

My Fighting Words Publishing Co. four original books, published between 2004 and 2007 are now out-of-print. I still have some left and will periodically offer them for sale on my new website.


Comment by Helene

July 20, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

oy 🙂 This one left me smiling. Loved going on the trip through your words and then….you were an Indian too.

Comment by Sheryl Rak

July 21, 2013 @ 2:20 pm


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