Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 13 . . .

Thanks to Custer

     by Ed Bennett

The old Paiute told me

how the west was won:

that Custer died for our sins

with his silly long hair streaming

and he, screaming like

Buffalo Bill’s wayward brother.

Wild Bill Hickock

covered his bets

but not his back,

and Doc Holiday was righteous

because he killed no Indians,

only white men,

and the enemy of an enemy

is a friend.

He dreamed Paiute dreams

as he spoke

of long marches with smallpox blankets,

railroads eviscerating buffalo,

starvation reservations

and fire water tasted before

they would let them into Betty Ford.

He stopped his ramble,

stood at the empty dust arroyo,

hills blasphemed with cell towers,

turned away saying:


he died for your sins,

but not enough.”

Ed Bennett is a Telecommunications Engineer living in Las Vegas. Originally from New York City, his work has appeared in the Manhattan Quarterly and The Patterson Literary Review where he was a finalist for the 1997 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award. His most recent work appears in New Verse News, The Externalist, VIMMAG, and Philadelphia Poets.

© 2009 Ed Bennett