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1492: A Bad Poem for a Bad Day

Columbus sailed the ocean blue
     in fourteen ninety-two
and all the natives he did screw
    and tortured not a few.

For gold and God and Jesus too
    took slaves and then withdrew;
came back with ships and yet more crew
    and had a barbecue.

They burned the natives and they sliced
    and stabbed and chopped and diced;
they stole the land and raped for tryst
    and crucified my Christ.

--LCC, Columbus Day, 2017

Images from the work of Theodor de Bry, who illustrated the work of Bartolomé de Las Casas. Las Casas, according to historian Howard Zinn, is "the chief source--and, on many matters the only source--of information about what happened on the islands after Columbus came.... as a young priest [he] participated in the conquest of Cuba. For a time he owned a plantation on which Indian slaves worked, but he gave that up and became a vehement critic of Spanish cruelty" (Zinn, A People's History of the United States, 5).  


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