Ira scribbled, it seemed to the Alpha Centaurii, prolifically. If only they had been able to visit his Rosebud reservation trailer, they would see dozens of these pieces scratched on cardboard boxes, walls, stray pieces of paper stuck in a hole to keep out a draught, anyplace, in fact, he could write what was bothering him and he had no paint available, at least in those colors he was feeling, to paint on cowhide or canvas. Having bummed around extensively in North America, walking down various kinds of streets of dreams, he naturally ran into a number of scams set up to catch the affluent where they were weakest. So when he got around to it he wrote them a letter of warning. Would they listen? Hardly. But he had to get it out of his heart and guts anyway, or he wouldn’t have relief. This fantasy happened to complement a Christmas card that pictured a row of 300k-and-up “American Dreams”--the very kind of neighborhood he knew he would never be allowed to live in if he lived a dozen lifetimes. Hadn't security guards run him off the premises? It was someone’s dream, but a nightmare for everyone else who for one reason or another--being Indian, he had a problem--couldn’t share the dream.

<3>Ballad of the Street of Dreams

A Guided Tour for the Affluent of America

by I. Sulkowsky

Come and stroll a lane of dreams,

where nothing quite is what it seems!

The scene you see is apt to float

Like mirages of a misty moat.

Refrain:

The hour’s late, the sky is red,

The Lord is coming, yes, He who bled!

No mercy will He bring with Him

for those who don’t invest in Wisdom...

for those who don’t listen to Wisdom.

The titles to all the castles you see

belong to owners absentee;

The flowers in the flower box?

They don’t need water, just like rocks.

The fountains spout right from the ground.

Artesian wells? Or pipes unsound?

The street is silent, without birds,

it’s eerie, strange beyond words.

See those people? Phantoms all,

the same stuff used in every wall;

And those lawns--you need not mow;

They’re made from strips of green Astro.

Dreamless people tour the lot,

they think that happiness is bought,

someone else’s grief and pain

turned into their private gain.

Someone else’s anguished night

somehow transmutes to their right;

Never mind the blood and tears

each flower and each sidewalk bears!

Each window, broken, stares on back,

haggard, worn with care and lack;

Each door is hanging loose, ajar,

no bitter wind is given bar.

Each tumbled chimney, sagging roof,

is met by eyes that gaze aloof;

Each rutted lane and weedy yard

is greeted by a heart grown hard.

The widow, orphan, aged pair

go unseen, they seem not there;

The lonely cripple, sick shut-in--

designer furniture within!

Hear that dying rattle in the room?--

Chopin to an ear entombed;

Mansions raised to others’ dreams

nightmares turn and horror streams.

Mocking all who stroll and pass,

the residents greet rich and crass;

They know they’re really there.

These visitors? Mere vapor, air!

The roses? They spring from hearts

trampled, torn, and pierced with darts;

The very soil is the same

that once soaked up a brother’s blame.

Cain, we read, lived on this road;

His brother’s worth turned to a goad;

He struck and Abel lost his life,

and Adam’s home collapsed in strife.

“Who is my brother?” is still asked

now by those who pass with lifted brow;

They use no club, no knife, no gun,

Yet the murder still is done.

Indifference and selfishness

Can slay with the same deadliness;

They pass by others’ crying need

to indulge all these dreams that bleed.

They do not mark that someday soon

these dreams will turn red like the moon;

Illusions most think beautiful

will shift to judgment cups brim full.

And, so, be careful where you step!

That primrose path on which you

crept is razor thin, a sword

that will return via the Lord.

Definitely, when Ira wrote this, he was drunk. Religion, Native or Christian, did not darken his door very often, especially in such massive dosages as here. But the Alpha Centaurii had no such hang-ups as late 20th Century Lakota. One half religious, the other half defiantly not, the AC colony had adjusted to the split, and each side knew its rights and saw to it they were respected. The wall of the separation of church and state was alive and well in the colony, though the religious side had achieved this admirable parity of co-existence by gradually sacrificing everything essential to the Christian faith, keeping only a doctrine of the existence of a “Supreme Being.” Without a Gospel, without a kerygma of core Christian beliefs, they certainly could not celebrate an annual Birth of the God-Man Yeshua, or Christmas. They had completely forgotten it, and had only a wall to thank for their rather cheerless Geo-Domed reproductions of the Winter Solstice.

The “Street of Dreams” affected untold millions, just as the other subfiles had already done. These people saw they had lived all their lives on such streets, at least mentally. What had they cared about all those who couldn’t, for one reason or another, were excluded or could not share that “Dream”? Really not a fig! For, in their dreaming, they couldn’t see the others. They had been blinded by the Dream.

If “A Victorian Christmas” hadn’t already done the job, Ira’s “guided tour,” produced, wrenched their eyes open to the realities of their lives, lives in which they lived walled off from others less fortunate. The colony, even with its high standards, was riddled, they now saw, with inequalities that could not be excused with the notion healthy competition was, thereby, fostered. Dead-end jobs, glass ceilings, prejudices, biases, simple dislike and suspicion--they all did their part to separate and then push the unfortunate, the “Dream-challenged,” into ghettos of the mind and spirit where they slowly withered and died.

Ira had lived in ghettos all his life, imposed by others as well by himself. With the truth of what they had done to others now in their faces, the Alpha Centaurii were first shocked, then genuinely ashamed, and then the ones who really wanted to change, they changed. They began reaching out to the “Dream-challenged,” not just taking their cause for political advantage but actually stepping out from places and echelons of high privilege and going to where the Dream-less lived, sharing their conditions and doing all they could to improve them.

This subfile, too, launched a revolution. Now, with subfile after subfile producing radical changes in their lives, the ACs viewed a production of an event that struck just as deep as the “Street of Dreams,” wrapping up Ira Sulkowsky’s guided tour, via his paintings and doggerel, of the human predicament shared by everyone, from Adam and Eve to AC, the Lost Tribe.