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  • Kamden Quadrangle
  • Ray Young Bear (bio)

Kamden Quadrangle


The Black Eagle Child Settlement, at daybreak, serves as a conduit     for the boy psychics who are known locally as Two Brothers or We si me ti a ki.     When “1333 Appomattox” is announced as being the potential whereabouts, the moon’s     pallid memory turned green over the melting frost-covered lawn. Here, before     the address     was jotted down, Edgar dreamt his heart underwent a Bud Light     transfusion. As lava sculpted his arthritic veins, a Mountain Ram     was visually conjured, which was being agitated by a three-legged dog     the boys named Ours.


When the dirt cliffs broke, bright tan chunks landed near the standoff     where Edgar [End Page 52] held his son, Listening Bear, tightly. Then, he zoomed the telephoto lens     on the Ram’s hooves clacking over the purple railroad track rocks. For safety     he ran to a house, the one that isn’t there anymore. This includes the adjacent earth lodge     and its name-giving songs. With his son still in his arms, Ours slammed against the doorway.     And a moment before the blessing of place and numbers, Selene related     a Wolverine in her sleep was being chased away from a childhood yard     by a loud Black Duck.


So before Kamden Quadrangle stirs to the Euro-staccato of Saturday     morning profanity and tv cartoons, a pot of hot water was already “stove-standing.” And then a map off the Internet was reexamined twice. Before     the boys’ oatmeal cooled, an ocean-submerged Boar in its role as savior was also     described: With obsidian teeth tied as arrow tips, “Andrew Caleb” practice-aims     a long bow at a picnic bench. Those present [End Page 53] by speakerphone learn he’s lonely     for blue conical shells appearing beneath the sand-speckled     froth.


Further, as the boys’ backpacks were being adjusted by Selene,     they reflected that Andrew seeks sun-warmed flesh. For its sacredness. But     the words whispered into a walkie-talkie puzzled them: “A coast-to-coast     impalement.” As Edgar attempted to explain what the archer-pig’s words     could mean, the older boy related a hand from the bench signaled     an ok, “like this.” The after-trail of his small but quick hand     left an imprint in our minds of a dark needle spiraling out from the orange     serrated clouds, symbolizing impermanence perhaps for someone by     9 a.m. est. [End Page 54]

Ray Young Bear

Ray Young Bear was born on the Meskwaki Tribal Settlement near Tama, Iowa. His work includes three books of poetry, most recently The Rock Island Hiking Club, and two books of prose. A new collection of contemporary and traditional poems, Manifestation Wolverine, is forthcoming. Ray and his family are also singers and performers with the Meskwaki Woodland Dancers, a group he and his wife, Stella, co-founded in 1984.



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pp. 52-54
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