Daily Archives: October 1, 2020

Collision of Cultures

Jack posted this in February of 2006:

Last Friday Night

 

“It’s just too deep in the Rez

For a white-man style killing,” he says.

“A bullet each to the back of the head,

At Pueblo Pentada two brothers are dead;

Two Navajo brothers are dead.”

 

“It isn’t a skin-walker killing;

No feud, not a woman too willing.

A knife, a club, a thirty-ought-six

Is common enough and at least doesn’t mix

White man logic with Navajo tricks,

 

“No bullet each to the back of the head!

But at Pueblo Pentada two brothers are dead!

Two Navajo brothers are dead.”

 

From Bread Springs to Shiprock you’ll hear people say,

“No place is safe now!  You can’t get away!”

Nageezi to Yah Ta Hay

You’ll hear the Din’e people say,

.

“The killer’s from Pie Town or Santa Fe!

Some white, somehow, somewhere must pay

For a bullet each to the back of the head!

At Pueblo Pentada two brothers are dead!

Two Navajo brothers are dead.”

 

From Poems of the New Old West 

Copyright©2002, Jack Purcell

 

Note:

I wrote this a week or two after the killing.  At that time it wasn’t yet known who the killer was, nor why.  A while later that changed.  The killer was a neighbor, just down the road.  He fled the Rez to California, but was soon apprehended.

All of which changes little for the poem.  The two-week certainty that an execution-style killing in the center of Navajo country would never be perpetrated by Navajo had the accusations and demands flying fever-pitch.