Montana Authors Project

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We followed the sun west for hours, climbing mountain passes, crossing river after river, until we spanned the final bridge into Missoula. Even the air smelled different—the rotten egg stench of pulp mills…or, as often, the clean, rich redolence of the Clark Fork river. Missoula lives under a canopy of trees, and I found myself half ducking the first few weeks, conscious of feeling something always hovering overhead, turning to look up and up through the limbs of giant firs, sprawling maples and oaks. (295)…

On a flat top along the Stillwater Toward where it is winter all of the time, From the Bear Tooth Mountains, a mighty buffalo bull is slowing toward death, Many arrows are sticking out of his massive body, Stands waiting to charge as he sticks his Bloody tongue up his nostrils, waves his tail, straight up.…

There were nine empty stories of exam rooms, operating rooms, extended care rooms, and offices, plus a cafeteria and kitchen still glinting with stainless-steel counters and shelves, all connected by a labyrinth of seemingly endless hallways... But it was the older section of the hospital...that became the ultimate destination for dare fulfillment. It was creepy enough from the outside, the Spanish-style architecture crumbling from age, broken windows, a weathered stone cross at the top, all the classic dark-and-stormy-night elements. Any teenager could tell you that a place like that just had to be worse on the inside. (77)…

Mongrels have gone home. We slop toward the car. Every year a few less live who know the Salish hymns. The mud is deeper. Snow has turned to rain. We were renegade when God had gills. We never change.…

Dupuyer, unlike Ringling or White Sulphur Springs, seemed never to have had the least hesitation about its livelihood since the first wagon master wearily overnighted on the site sometime in the 1870's…. The country rimming it to the west was found to be fine for sheep, and a local rancher named Oliver Goldsmith Cooper became president of the potent Montana Wool Growers Association. Before the turn of the century, a quarter million pounds of fleece were being shipped from the Dupuyer Creek ranches each year. (186-187)…

In this land lived a part of the Nez Perce tribe called by the other Nez Perces Wal-lam-wat-kin. Those Injuns had lived in this valley as far back as they knew, but in time the white men seen this land and wanted it. In this valley the grass on the hills was never known to fail stock in the winter in the memory of Injun or white man....Those Injuns did not want to leave this land, but the white men started to come in small numbers at first and later more and more of them....General Howard was ordered to remove these Injuns out of the Wallowa Valley and force them on the Lapwai reservation. (205)…

We dated country style. On winter weekends, he'd pick me up in the battered four-wheel-drive and we'd spotlight for rabbits, driving for hours over the rough frozen prairie with a flask of whiskey between us. In summer, we took the shale ridge road overlooking the Missouri River, edging the truck around washouts and through creek crossings, stopping to explore long-abandoned homesteads. (196)…

To say Some Crows are riding upside down And falling into money Where the aborted live In the policies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That's why the Maker showed the water beings At the edge of the Big Horn Mountains As the long otter lives on in white clouds Trickling down the veins Next to the star that is light.…

Back then Big Timber still had the only water park in Montana, and it sat right alongside the interstate. When we passed, I craned to see the strange toothpaste-green looping slides as they towered out of a field house cement vats of too-blue water. The place was packed.... Everything was heightened the way it always is when summer is slipping away to fall, and you're younger than eighteen, and all you can do is suck your cherry Icee and let the chlorine sting your nose, all the way up into the pockets behind your eyes, and snap your towel at the pretty girl with the sunburn, and hope to do it all again come June. (259)…

You could love here, not the lovely goat in plexiglass nor the elk shot in the middle of a joke, but honest drunks, crossed swords above the bar, three men hung in the bad painting, others riding off on the phony green horizon. Hugo, Richard. Selected Poems. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1979.…
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