Motels, gas stations, fast food parlors, food markets, some boring big-box stores and oddly placed traffic lights. This carries into the town plaza with its coughing and congested traffic and junk selling shops. The once grand and mysterious old town has dissipated from the pressures of the modern world - like many of the old town centers of this once gregarious country.
Once you cross over the cattle guard into actual Pueblo land not much has changed. An old-looking, new unbalanced white aluminum trailer house is propped up near a poorly placed casino looking auspicious amongst the grandiose cleft of Taos Mountain. But... the old Pueblo is still alive and is circled, not unlike sentinels, by cheap government houses from the bygone Reagan era (his first Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt called the Pueblos "failed socialist societies...")
Every Pueblo is this way - a grand illusion nestled in pity and terror like some Greek tragedy.
I live among these elements - a five story adobe hand-shaped, hand-built building facing the sunrise so I can watch the traveling sun's path. It's reminiscent of the Toltec buildings of the Chalchihuites; it's like a walk through the walls of Troy under framed skeletal structures of once useful drying racks which run in between alleys of the perpetual colonnades of the Parthenon.
I see it everyday - this abstraction of truth and the falsity of reality. Wrestlers of the juxtaposition in my heart and my mind circles like a Sumo wrestler. The extreme modernity and the humanistic nature of the past. Opposition clothed in tattered loincloths made of money and broken promises. Nobody said it would be easy being a Pueblo Indian of the 21st century forged of clay, plastic bags and watered down with blood dreams.
Taos Pueblo had dances this weekend. What's new, right? (Heehee) DANCE, DANCE, DANCE!
Dances in the Pueblo this time of the year are based on borrowed dances.
It's mostly the young, in a dust storm, on the race track where they imitate the romantic past; These dances recount the events seen by the old-timers when the world was still angry from birth; when warriors still made attempts to count coup on each other; before the times of the Spaniards - their churches; their horses. To the plains nomads the Pueblo peaks and the horned mountains must have been like a beacon guiding them to the light of the western sunsets. Noble names like the Kiowa, Cheyenne, Comanche, Apache, Pawnee - all these boys wandered into our village drawn fatally to ritual rites of Dionysus on the edge of the black-sagebrush sea.
Comanche dance ("messy-feather dance"): Two lines of dancers are followed by singers with hand drums, throbbing echoes against Pueblo walls and led by two young men dressed in finery of the plains nobility: war bonnets, roaches, eagle-feather staffs, leggings, bells, richly feathered, wooden lances wrapped in beaver pelts, spears pointed with old bayonets, heroics of a bygone era, beaded buckskin dresses and Comanche finery. Makes you wonder if these Pueblo farmers like the horses and buffalo more than corn.
The belt dancers - two warriors painted red and white in oppositional portraits of scenes of war and freedom - are leashed like "dogs of war" by woven belts and restrained by two superior young maidens in crowns.
The afternoon pageantry of days of old. As the President of these United States of America was wondering what to wear for his inauguration ball, my people danced stories. A dance older than this country while dressed like the ancient warriors. Complicated and remote, Mr. President, you will never see the likes of this place. It's more complex in this state of mind than the Romans.
Hiding scalps hung in icy cold walls, bayonets taken from American soldiers, worn down bandoleers from ancient battles against the conquistadors.
|Getting ready to time travel/dance with arrows.|
|Dance of the new; dance of the old; no time just now.|
We're not afraid. Our children know how to dance. Dress the warrior and sing the warrior songs.
Girls must never fear to dance with arrows.
Boys must never fear their nakedness.
|Perfection is to dance with no worries.|
We Taos Pueblo men and women at the end of "la Camino Real" are still here teaching fear, love, the hunt and dressing for the old to fight the encroaching world at the end of the cattle guard to the entrance of the American Parthenon - birthed from the horns of Mycenae.
With love on a the day of remembrance,