Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Geronimo in Exile (Edward Dorn: Recollections of Gran Apacheria)


Geronimo (Guiyatle), Apache: photo by Frank A. Rinehart, 1898 (Boston Public Library)

The longest continuous run
of external resistance:
the Apache Wars.

Without significant intermission
from the Seventeenth Century onward
can only be attributed to
the superiority of Native
over Alien Thinking.

Yet they had not invented Mind
and as we know
their domain was by Mind over-ridden

In all the treaties
the Native assented the Thinking

And never, and
have not yet discovered
the Predictive Mind.

-- Edward Dorn: The Whole European Distinction, from Recollections of Gran Apacheria, 1974

(Goyaalé,"one who yawns", born Gila River Arizona, 16 June 1829, died Fort Sill, Oklahoma, 17 February 1909): "This portrait of the historical old Apache was made in March, 1905. According to Geronimo's calculation he was at the time seventy-six years of age, thus making the year of his birth 1829. The picture was taken at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the day before the inauguration of President Roosevelt, Geronimo being one of the warriors who took part in the inaugural parade at Washington. He appreciated the honor of being one of those chosen for this occasion, and the catching of his features while the old warrior was in a retrospective mood was most fortunate": description and photo by Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952), from Curtis: The Apache, the Jicarillas, the Navaho, 1907 (Northwestern University Library/Library of Congress)


Geronimo, head chief of the Chiricahua Apaches, identified in 1887 newspaper photo caption as "now on the war path in Sierra Madres": here seen in studio portrait, holding a rifle and wearing boot moccasins, a breechcloth, and scarves around his neck. (From photographer's notes: "Genuine age 50 to 55. Rather polite fellow, thought cunning, far seeing. Perfect photo for newspaper in every respect. Three squaws -- most cow cunning on reservation, small squint eyes = looked sideways, spoke Spanish
): photo by A.T. Willcox, July 1885 (U.S. Department of Defense/Department of the Army/Office of the Chief Signal Office/National Archive)

File:Apache chief Geronimo (right) and his warriors in 1886.jpg

Chiricahua Apache chief Geronimo (right) and a small group of his warriors
: photographer unknown, 1886 (Arizona Historical Society)

File:Scene in Geronimo's camp II.png

Scene in Geronimo's camp, before surrender to General Crook, 27 March 1886: Geronimo and Natches mounted, Geronimo's son, Perico, standing at his side holding baby: photo by A.S. Fly, 1886 (Library of Congress)

File:Six tribal leaders.png

Six tribal leaders: (left to right) Little Plume (Piegan), Buckskin Charley (Ute), Geronimo (Chiricahua Apache), Quanah Parker (Comanche), Hollow Horn Bear (Brulé Sioux), and American Horse (Oglala Sioux) on horseback in ceremonial attire: photo by Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952), c. 1900 (Library of Congress)

File:Indian chiefs headed by Geronimo.jpg

Indian chiefs, headed by Geronimo, passing in review before president Theodore Roosevelt at his inauguration, Washington, 4 March 1905
: photo by Keystone View Company, 1905 (Library of Congress)

File:Chief Geronimo I.jpg

Chief Geronimo, Apache leader, holding bow and arrows: photographer unknown, c. 1904 (Library of Congress)

File:Chief Geronimo II.jpg

Chiricahua Apache Chief Geronimo at Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York
: photo by Charles G. Dudley, 1901 (Library of Congress)

Eyes like two bits of obsidian
With a light between them

-- Edward Dorn: from Geronimo, in Recollections of Gran Apacheria, 1974


tpw said...

Dear Tom:
Great photos, as usual. My favorite is Geronimo in the pumpkin patch, which we used a number times in our publications when I was with the National Museum of the American Indian. I don't know how to include it here, so I'll email to you.

doowman said...

After two weeks of trying to finish the condensation that is "The Killing of Crazy Horse" who should flash before my eyes but Hollow Horn Bear and American Horse. Yikes! But please, bring more TC and we’ll see who we were and who we might be.

Elmo St. Rose said...

I think Ed Dorn was a little
premature in saying in Gran
Apacheria...that we would never
look that good, as good as the
Apaches in the field a year or two
before they surrendered.

On the contrary. We really know how
to look good, for example: The
Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition...and a myriad fitness

However to look as good as they
did using what they had(very little) was a higher level of
ecological intelligence.

So who's going on a picture shoot
today...somewhere there's a few
eco warriors who are also not nuts.

Ed Baker said...


... & then John Wayne, Kirk Douglas &
Burt Lancaster tell "just-what-was"

the last time I visited the Smithsonian Institution's
American Indian Museum

Tim Tingle was in the courtyard telling/performing

stories from Red People Memory..

"Crossing Bok Chitto"

"blew me away"

y'all can .... via ...
Cinco Puntos Press' 4 c-d



TC said...


Great photo of "He-who-yawns" as stout family man with his brood in the pumpkin patch. Many thanks.

I'd put up a a link to it, but the last x number of times I tried linking to my incoming mail, I ended up staring the blank end of Technology in the face.

(The Predictive Mind has always eluded me also, but alas in my case that's not from a position of Beauty and Power...)


Who we were sometimes scares me and who we might be next leaves me quaking in my bandages, but I think you're right, those are the best reasons to keep on digging and learning, while we yet can.


Well, my take on what Ed was trying to picture there -- something about the Beauty of the Soul shining out from the physical form -- is something no amount of gym time will ever provide.

To me all the present-day white-world buffed-up fitness-machine gods and goddesses and all the SI swimsuit Belles of the Brainless Ball pretty much add up to just so much recycled eyeball-trash.

(But of curse those are just my own ancient tarnished and cracked eyeballs talking.)


You got that right, as usual.

Those attitudes of the past still hang in the air as lame ironic jokes, eg. the "comic" Indian-hung-while-praying scene in the ever-clever, ever-empty Coen Bros. new trash remake of the old True Grit trash.

(I suppose I am guilty of habitually favouring the trash of yesteryear to the trash of the present -- but again, that's spoken from a belly-on-the-ground position, the one adopted after the cowering-on-one's-knees position simply hurts too much to sustain.)

PS. Why does all this remind me that John Wayne's autopsy revealed something like seventy pounds of animal matter lodged in his intestines?

Now what's the difference between tripe and trash, again, America?

Ed Baker said...

notice the street car tracks?

they're bearing right down Pennsylvania Avenue ... on the way the The White House

the left takes you down Constitution Avenue
an to the Mall

anyway regarding John Wayne's intestines
(and you can google this)
the average American male is carrying in his intestines
about 20 pounds of shit! some of it in there

depending on his age
we's a culture of Gluttony, Greed, and Ignorance...
...all in the name of Politically Correct Religion-Nationalism

bottom line..
Garbage In Garbage Out

now off to fry up some dead pig-fat (bacon) and a couple of chicken fetuses some drop-dead lard biscuits fried-up frozen white taters-totters
wash it down with 14 cups of coffee with 12 teaspoonsful of white sugar and sit back with a 1/2 pack of Lucky Strikes
and watch the FOOTBAL..

I think that The Patriots are gonna kick-the-shit out of The Redskins ...again.

(hey this computer just red-lined "teaspoonsful" !

took the "s" out!





Eyes like two bits of obsidian
With a light between them

(a memorable education for Johnny)


light coming into sky above black plane
of ridge, silver of planet next to leaf
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

visual arrangement as point,
which element made to

picture world, some sort of
plane, corresponds to

grey-white of sky reflected in channel,
shadowed green pine on tip of sandspit

TC said...

Ed, they're getting dumber, but you're getting smarter.

Great that Johnny's back home, Steve.

visual arrangement as point,
which element made to

picture world

Several of the images of the exiled Geronimo in his later role as cultural property, a hood ornament on Teddy Roosevelt's inaugural parade and so on, cause one to wince. But only for an instant. Then we see the resistant spirit of the old warrior emerge, transforming the power dynamics. His dignity, even in humiliation, takes command.

One passage from Edward Dorn's Recollections of Gran Apacheria that had been part of the post, situated beneath the photo of that parade -- and then was removed for the sake of symmetry (predictively!) -- is germane, as we are reminded by Jennifer Dunbar Dorn, who knows more than anybody about this great poem and its author.

"When Geronimo was in Washington for the Inauguration of Roosevelt he was interviewed at the Indian Hotel by S.M. Huddleston of the Dept. of Agriculture. Geronimo signaled through Geo. Wratten that he wanted to know where Huddleston lived, and was surprised and disappointed to learn that Huddleston lived in only *one* house on only *one* street. Ugh! he said in gruff disgust and signaled that if *He* were to live in the city, *He* would live in every house in it!"

For those who may not have previously encountered it, Gran Apacheria is a salient document of a period when American poetry briefly became an agency of intelligent vision. Central to the visionary contribution of Edward Dorn was his understanding of the importance of a spirit of resistance in keeping up the vital signs.

The longest continuous run
of external resistance:
the Apache Wars.

Without significant intermission
from the Seventeenth Century onward

The against-the-grain or resistant tendencies in Dorn's work have, unhappily, been intermitted, in American poetry, or what remains of it, in later epochs.

Ed Baker said...

where's this Indian Hotel here in D.C. ?

Never heard of it..

what section of the city is/was it in?
we talkin' here 'bout an
American Indian (Hotel)

and not a
New Delhi Indian (Hotel/restaurant)

it s important to me to find this Indian Hotel
go down there

next full moon

rattle my
Rain Stick

(the beads/seeds in side travel from end to end when
flipped &

it REALLY DOES sound like "rain" it s Magic!

Anonymous said...

I liked this a great deal -- the poem and the pictures -- and think I basically get it and the oppositions the poem sets, up, but if you could possibly provide some guidance regarding the phrase Predictive Mind, that would be helpful and appreciated. I've gone in a couple of directions on this; one of them was pretty funny, actually.

TC said...


Dunno about the Indian Hotel. Maybe Somebody Out There, or Up There, does, though?


In Gran Apacheria, Dorn defines the White World, or European/American, "Predictive Mind", as "the highest mutation of force" -- a determinate, abstracting way of conceiving and describing and arguing, instrumental to cultural/political dominance; he contrasts this to the "Thinking Earth" of the Apache, whose "leading ideas/come directly from the landform".

Dorn thought any understanding of any people or any culture, its way of being and thinking, its way of life, in short, began with the attempt to understand its ongoing living relation to the place from which it derives.

Ed Baker said...


"Thinking Earth" PLACE

that's IT precisely...

every thing begins&ends in

Mother of Stone Girl "Thinking Earth"

Dorn and diPrima terrific points / counterpoints

TC said...

Okay, just for the record: Geronimo was interviewed exactly once, by S.M. Huddleson (not Huddleston), the niece of the US Cavalry officer to whom Geronimo had surrendered.

The interview occurred at the Capitol Hotel (not the "Indian Hotel"), where Geronimo was quartered during the inauguration proceedings.

See this.

And here, corrected, is the E.D. passage from Gran Apacheria, again:

"When Geronimo was in Washington for the Inauguration of Roosevelt he was interviewed at the Indian Hotel by S.M. Huddleson of the Dept. of Agriculture. Geronimo signaled through Geo. Wratten that he wanted to know where Huddleson lived, and was surprised and disappointed to learn that Huddleson lived in only *one* house on only *one* street. Ugh! he said in gruff disgust and signaled that if *He* were to live in the city, *He* would live in every house in it!"

Ed Baker said...

Thanks TC

everything REALLY
in the de:tails


dig it

we used to go
almost EVERY Sunday


the Capitol Theater

a movie and a stage show

I DO BELIEVE that the Capitol Theatre had a hotel over it

This theater/hotel was about a block dwn from The White House...

a VERY Famous restaurant was next door
& on the corner across Pennsylvania Avenue was the first bank in D.C.. as I recall a Riggs Bank..

there was on the old version of the dollar bill
a scene of that corner was on the obverse...

they got an huge ONE there...

I remember seeing Her Nibbs Georgia Gibbs at the theater and a guy who was a quick-change artist doing a Charles Dickens (story) routine..

a REAL live orchestra used to rise up in front of the stage..maybe a 20 piece orchestra..

once when we were there Harry Truman was also there
I didn't see him then but I did see him walking near the white House one day ...
walking with one other guy ... in a black suit.


I got tears in my eyes ...

Ed Baker said...

here's that Riggs Bank

and the famous restaurant
The Ebbit's Grille

which became The Old Ebbit's Grille
maybe it was spelled Ebbitt's

Anonymous said...

Hi again and thank you. That makes sense and is a lot clearer and more concise than some of the things I read. I also read about the Huddleson interview this morning and related the anecdote you included to Caroline over lunch today. It's a great story.

Ed Baker said...


since you mention Teddy Roosevelt
they had some of the stuffed dead animals he "hunted" and killed hanging on the walls

after the movie/show we used to get something to eat there..

this was around 1952-3 or so

I'm told "they" made an upscale VERY expensive tourist trap eatery out of it...