A dreamlike encounter with three feral dogs. Probably this was during the early 1980s or late 1970s. On the near southwest side of Chicago in the ruins of what had been the Union Stockyards. I was browsing thru piles of old lumber hoping to collect enough to board up the windows of an enclosed porch (to make it even more enclosed, keeping out some of the cold). I was a few hundred yds from a large building that had only been razed about maybe 60% - part of the remains were yet three or four stories high, but with no external wall. From that building I heard barking and howling so I put myself on alert and kept a stout stick in one hand because the sounds of the dogs scared me (but not sufficiently to run me off). After a few minutes I saw a trio of what appeared to be identical dogs. Whether they came from the site of that barking and howling I will never know. They were not typical urban feral dogs, not skinny or filthy or mangy or battle torn, no they seemed in perfect health – robust, muscular, confident, even poised. They walked along in single file as if they had some destination in mind, not looking around or smelling the ground or even the air. They ignored my presence (thank God) as they passed and walked away. As soon as they were a comfortable (for me) distance away, I gathered up my stuff and ran to my car and left that area.
Later, whether in a dream or while awake I cannot say, I perceived those three wild dogs as representing remnant indigenous humans who had survived centuries of attempted genocide by colonizers and had actually thrived in the ruins of the colonizers’ society.
Then to compose a song I combined the 3 dogs with another symbol of indigenous survival – a tumbleweed aka pomme de prairie I had seen growing thru a crack in the cement pavement of a city street.
I dreamed the city was ashes
I dreamed the countryside was dust
I saw an old woman sweeping up
She said they ain’t killed all of us
I ain’t going to tell nobody what 3 wild dogs showed me
But they showed me something I heard about from tumbleweed
I was walking down the street I saw tumbleweed growing up through the concrete
She said my seeds find the cracks and my roots find the earth
Okay I’ll tell everybody what 3 wild dogs showed me
They showed me something I heard about from Tumbleweed
It might be after a long time or it might be very soon
You made us live on your edges
But we will survive your ruin
We will thrive in your ruins
end of song
So that is where the alias troischiens (three dogs twah shahn) comes from.