John Wayne

Kevin McKenzie


I am reminded,

Of course,

Of an incident not too long ago

Between these same cowboys and Indians.


A studious general warns his captain

“don’t follow them over the ridge!”

And the captain leads his eighty men

In languid pursuit of native warriors.


The Lakota chief lures the captain

Over the ridge with his infantrymen

And their cavalry and their guns

And their thirst to destroy the lone savage


The general, it seems, knew there could be many

Over the hill

And that many human beings are hard to kill

But the captain only saw the one.


The one, the chief, let’s call him Red Cloud,

Knew, it seems, that being native and red

Was reason enough for these soldiers to follow him

To kill him and any others like him


So Red Cloud crested the ridge

And so did eighty soldiers

And so did two thousand braves

Coming from the wood on the far side


The captain died, the general was fired,

And Red Cloud won the deed to his tribe’s

Ancestral home, if only for a little while

Until gold was found there

Euphemism Campus Box 5555 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790