The Long Walk Home

I went to the mirror and saw with contempt
at my brother and sister - I must repent,
while the redskin and the media all take requests
blue and white plead the 5th for the freezing deaths.
Stone-cold frozen in the dead of night,
I stand aloof from both red and white.
Is there any difference between their hate and mine?
Is it a matter of circumstance or only of time?

Abandoned on the outskirts, I stand alone;
So I try on his moccasins for the long walk home.

You went to the mirror, saw the white-man as enemy
and though I may appreciate the poetry                    
they won't be the ones who'll get you in the end.   
You shake hands with the enemy while you stab your friends,   
wheel 'em and deal 'em and then you do it again  
Cause once it starts, it really never ends...     
In an urban jungle the horror the horror -  
Get your feather, get your gun 'cause it's holy war!
My brothers can't you see the un-nameable beast

that kneels in the sweatlodge ready for the feast?      
We went to the mirror and saw a victim.

though even jumping Jesus couldn't convict him.
So a nation is woken from its slumber serene
and we take to the streets... through our TV screens.
In this bizarre rite of forgetfulness
we pay our prayers and we say our debts.
A blue wall which we're immune to?
Let the gangs do the dirty work for you?
Saw it on the CBC? ... ah for God sakes!
How long Lord ... til Sleeping Giant awakes?

 

We went to the mirror and as expected
saw our scapegoats killed and then resurrected.
A society divided and yet strangely consistent...
Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde's assistant-
What you see ain't always what you get.
Monkey see and then monkey forget.
The white man's burden is a heavy load - 
Yeah? So give back the silver and the land you stole.
Well it's hocus pocus and then filiocus...
we've seen the beast and baby, it's us.

You went to the mirror and saw a symptom,
so you painted your face and you banged your drum -
Whoa, round and round the circle we go;
and the thugz join the elders for the show.
The picture betrays problems deeper than race ...
kids without a culture, the native without a face.
Land claims, freezing deaths, residential schools 
gangs, drugs and welfare and the ship of fools
Lord save us from the enemy we cannot see -
both my kookum and the Posse - set my people free!

I went to the mirror shattered and broken.
Hear the still, small voice that's seldom spoken -
for expecting I came and was not disappointed-
a child is born another lamb is annointed;
around the sacred circle, a place is now vacant;
from amongst us a son has been taken.
For the one who has eyes to see
the priceless sacrifice, his lonely victory:
May he find warmth, may his spirit rise free;
And may the ghost of Neil Stonechild rest in peace. 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

This poem is a re-write of the song Benjamin as Mirror, which was about the racist
murder of 15 year old Benjamin Hermansen by neo-nazis in Oslo in 2001. 
The original has been re-interpreted here in memory of the infamous " freezing deaths" of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada, and especially in memory of Neil Stonechild who froze to death on November 24th, 1990, after being abandoned on the outskirts of town by Saskatoon police.  Other victims of this police viloence  were Darell Night who survived his ordeal, on January 28th, 2000, and Lawrece Wagner (January 29th, 2000) and Rodney Naistus (January 30th, 2000), who did not.

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