diving into bedlam

ghost dancers chanting
‘I see my father, I see my mother, I see my brother, I see my sister,
sunset plagued by acid rains
we hang our heads
father Ponderosa, mother sky, brother bear, sister cloud

shuffling melanin-starved
albino possums gnaw
tapestries, original people’s
homes, bulldozed for neon
oh Anglo Saxons
ghost skeletons chanting
‘I forget my father, I forget my mother, I forget my brother, I forget my sister’

Sitting Bull plays cards
Custer fusses with bleached
locks, holds peacemaker
hot phallus ready to scalp
Sitting Bull pulls on Annie Oakley’s
Winchester birds rush out
the shysters are snake oil
men, suckers born every minute
white man, black man, red man, yellow man
brown man – woman, child, granny and papa

Wall Street New Amsterdam Dutch panicked
earthen ramparts against those red people
Pipe of Peace, Hoboken
Governor Kieft unleashed
Bedlam, massacred Hoboken people
every treaty signed, broken
parchment Devil’s deal
Faustian bargains
oh melanin-starved
bleached skeletons
you cut mother earth
coal, copper, iron, gold
uranium cached mountains high

Dutch West Indies strapped
slaves to wagons, fortified those walls
Bedlam, Walled Streets
now the poison of the land
star spangled banner
of next bedlam lost white
skeletons trampling
lands never sanctified
ghost dancers call,

This is to be my work—Yo’yoyo’!
This is to be my work—Yo’yoyo’!
All that grows upon the earth is mine—Yo’yoyo’!
All that grows upon the earth is mine—Yo’yoyo’!
Says the father—Yo’yoyo’!
Says the father—Yo’yoyo’!
E’ya Yo’yoyo’!
E’ya Yo’yoyo’!

Henry Ford strapping labor to metal
Andrew Carnegie galvanizing labor to slag
sackers, steady hands 100 proof
Cornelius Vanderbilt sunken eyes railroad man
John Jacob Astor mountains of furs
John D. Rockefeller oil for blood
Edward L. Doheny there will be blood LA oil field

A’te lena ma’qu-we—Ye’ye’ye’!
It was the father who gave us these things—Ye’ye’ye’!

Ina’ he’kuwo’; ina’ he’kuwo’.
Misu’nkala che’yaya oma’ni-ye,

Mother, come home; mother, come home.
My little brother goes about always crying,

Ŭñchi’ ita’zipa michu’-ye,
Grandmother, give me back my bow,

Hañpa wecha’ghe,
Tewa’qila-la he,
Tewa’qila-la he.
Wa’ñbleni’chala he kaye lo,

I made moccasins for him,
For I love him,
For I love him.
To take to the orphan.

Paul Kirk Haeder has been a journalist since 1977. He's covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/community journalism situations in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's been a part-time faculty since 1983, and as such has worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, as a private contractor-writing instructor for US military in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Washington. He organized Part-time faulty in Washington State. His book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his autobiography, weekly or bi-weekly musings and hard hitting work in chapter installments, at LA Progressive. He blogs from Waldport, Oregon. Read his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam, coming out Jan. 2020 from Cirque Journal. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.