The Survivor

By Red Ghetto Rebel

June 13, 2016

Lower Brule, S.D.


The soul is the essence of a human being. It is the blank canvas to which color is painted on by the hand of fate. This fate is the world in which the soul is born into.
Within this world we all carry the colors that paint the landscape of our souls. We were once blank canvases ourselves, painted by the hands of family, community and environment.

Parents become the medium that dominates the painting, if they are dark their painting is dark, if they have color their painting has color, if they are grey their painting is grey.

We all interpret a piece of art differently because we all have variations of color within ourselves that, in some way, can relate to the message that the artist is speaking to. Where there is color we find interest and where there is darkness we find concern. In either case we become the judge and the critic or the lover of art.

This is just human nature.

A newborn is the canvas embracing light for the first time, embracing the colors that they see through the windows to their soul. They are strangers to this world, they are strangers to life. Born without color or shade they are as innocent as the fibers that are woven into their human embodiment.

If it takes a community to raise a child, it takes a family to paint their soul.

When an infant is neglected or born of abuse the first dark colors begin to take hold of the landscape and the personality of their picture. If the medium is violence the landscape and the subject is violence.

Love is the only color that covers violence. But only by the hand of empathy can love change the meaning of a darkened sea or a stormy day.

With this being said…what would the reservation landscape look like to a child? How would the colors of abuse and neglect look on the smile of a child born into the darkened wasteland of oppression?

These children weep through violence, cry through the night. Often broken by the blurred shame and the muffled vulgarity of the alcoholics and the drug addicts who worship poverty in the next room.

They are painted in this dysfunctional emersion medium of abuse. Beer cans and needles are the sacred objects kept in their homes. The kitchen table is where the seventh generation performs their immoral communion. Tomorrow night will be a repainted version of the night before. The colors remain the same.

As the moon slips past in the unforgiving night, the fire of reservation rages within the cluster lodges of violence. They cover their ears when the fights begin. They hide their eyes when their arguing vomits onto them the shades of black and blue of reservation normalcy.

Separated by paper-thin laws and moldy sovereignty, these survivors are traumatized every day and every night by the madness of the insane artists.

What crawls out from their darkened corners isn’t a monster but an evil selfish imp who drags their innocent souls behind them into their colorless misery.

Survivors are those who are scarred by this reservation cesarean, their canvas is cut and burned by the knife of drugs and the raging fire of alcohol. They often dream of silence, they wish for the light of family to give substance to their existence but only receive black oily depression dripping upon their landscape from the eyes of their mothers and from the insanity in the hearts of their many fathers.

They are drug from one mattress on the floor to the next. Staggering through the minefields of grey welfare as they follow their mothers to her next one-night stand, because if she stands for nothing she weeps for anything.

Like a pet they are painted with the brush of mediocrity, a figment of the imagination.

Their inanimate and colorless existence was painted on this great reservation mural by the hands of the immature children who birthed them.

There is no love and there is no future in this cesspool of oppression. They are living pieces of art whose value is measured in government assistance. Their worth is defined at the end of every month.

The little survivors only learn of this horrible truth when they see their own image through the blinding reflection of culture.


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