49ers / 49s

Some poetry
by Chris Hibbard

(Author’s note: In a Blackfoot Creative Writing class offered at the University of Lethbridge, I was introduced to what are traditionally known as ’49ers or ’49s’. These are short poems with English lyrics that used to be sung at pow-wow celebrations, particularly among First Nations’ war veterans. I took a crack at making some of my own.)


I’ll never be the one for you
But I’ll pretend I can if you want me to
And when you later tell me to go away
I’ll just pretend it’s not okay


The day the world went up in smoke
Meant that someone had pushed the button
The day the world went up in flames
The button was forgotten


Isn’t it fantastic?
They gave us room and board
They’ll even us give us food and water
If we say it’s from their Lord.


Sign my snarling doggy mister
Won’t you do it for me
He’s not so mean if you know what I mean
He’s just a death machine


Have you taken your pills today I asked
She said I think I did
These pills she bought to increase her memory
But she can’t remember where they’re hid


~ by Chris Hibbard on October 31, 2008.

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