by Chris Hibbard

Author’s note: A method of creative writing I picked up in a Native American Studies Creative Writing class at the University of Lethbridge, imitatios involve selecting some piece of writing, then rewriting it but staying true to the feel, theme, rhythm, or meaning of the original piece.



Introduction to the original work:

The Caretaker
by Robert J. Conley

at the ancient indian burial grounds
ghoulish would-be archaeologists
from nearby university dig
for artifacts – – and bones.
(label a people “primitive”
and it’s legal to rob their graves.)
but when the sun goes down
a slight, grey-haired old man slips out
(has indian blood in his veins)
& darkly makes his nightly rounds
moves their markers, re-ties strings
and puts dirt back in the holes they dug.
it doesn’t stop them,
but it slows them down.

© 1975 Robert J. Conley
From 21 Poems, Aux Arcs Press.

and my imitatio:

The Janitor
by Chris Hibbard

In the backyard of our history
Writers flock like vultures
From ivory towers tear
For secrets – – and blood.
(call a man “a curiousity”
and it’s o.k. to rip out his history.)
but once the shadows are endless
a stooped, black-eyed young man appears
(his Cherokee spirit alive)
& dances around his traditional lands
changes their observations, borrows their pens,
and piles work on work they’ve already done .
they will come back
he will still be “curious”.


Introduction to the original work:

The Farm
by Sherman Alexie
Pt. 9: “Charlie the Cook”The Farm

I have not seen a black man in years. Not a black woman. Not a Mexican man, though their blood is often mixed with Indians, too. I have not seen another Indian man. I have seen only white men and Indian women. There are rumors. The Indian women have refused to procreate, and instead, they are killing the Indian men. It would be easy. In each cell, five women to each man. There are rumors. Indian men are becoming sterile. We have fathered too many children. There are rumors. The revolution is about to begin. Indians will rise against our jailers. We will never touch each other again. We will allow ourselves to die as a people, rather than live as we do now. There are rumors. A large army of sympathetic outsiders, white, black, brown, and yellow, are preparing to storm the Farm. They will free us. There are rumors. All of the cancer is gone. It has been completely destroyed. Our jailers will soon open the doors and let us free. They will give us medals of honor as we leave.

© The Raven Chronicles 1997

and my imitatio:

I have not seen the sunshine in years. Not a bluebird. Not a puffy white cloud, though their shadows often make the room darker. I have not seen another man like myself. I have seen only doctors and guards. There are whispers. The animals have stopped mating, and instead, are killing each other. What have we done? In this cell, there is just me. There are whispers. They think I have started it. They think I made the animals turn. There are whispers. The animals are taking over, organizing. Animals are revolting against us. We will never be at the top of the chain again. We have allowed ourselves to die as a people, rather than learn from our ancestors. There are whispers. A great mass of animals are forming outside, bear, coyote, elk, preparing to break in. They will kiss us. There are whispers. All of the humans out there are gone. They have been annihilated. The doctors will soon open the doors and let me free. They will give me electric shocks until I leave.

~ by Chris Hibbard on October 31, 2008.

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