Hintsa’s ghost: a murder poem in three parts



let us start at the beginning

let us correct what we all know


let us admit the myth


let us concede:


good people seldom change the world


with a few notable exceptions

it is the narrow

it is the shallow

it is the cold hearted

who rape

who steal

who push countries across boundaries

products into arms

brandy into mouths

with a bible


let us start at the beginning…


maybe it will help




having shot the man

hands high in the river

the escape failed

they pulled at his teeth

they tried to cut off his ear

they were digging for the souvenir

they were digging for the totem


of course the best was not from the body


today the family run a farm and lodge


on the bed a pamphlet

of family ancestry but

on the bed nothing

nothing at all

about hintsa


or his ghost




the story is left behind

the autobiographies are written

the mythology is nearly set

the brushing


very nearly



the con is forgotten


the con is ignored:


the murder of a king.


sir harry smith


sir benjamin durban


the men who swept clean

the men who could see

the day the cattle would die.


after all of this

after hundreds

and hundreds

of years

they are,


all we have left


what a terrible

and strange


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