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Monday, June 28, 2021


by Peter Neil Carroll

He was soft-spoken, it seemed
when we first me, this son of
the Osage nation, introduced 
to me by a mentor we shared.
They were drinking Bourbon
at the hotel bar, headquarters
of the annual historical convention
at Chicago’s posh Palmer House.
Bullhead was about 30, though his
smooth skin may have made him look
younger. He knew a lot more history
than I did, but he was still seeking a job.
We met again a few years later, young
instructors, similar interests, but he was
still untenured looking for a safe niche.
He told me he had a plan to get promoted.
After the usual delays, he presented his plan
to the giants of our profession. Why not,
he asked, offer a course on Native American
history equivalent to ancient or medieval history?
Insults began before he finished. Dumb idea.
Worthless. How could Indians who spoke  
Algonquin be compared to Cicero or Duns Scotus?
Besides, a new course would reduce enrollments.
Bullhead interrupted the outrage and withdrew
his proposal, walked quietly to the door, then
slammed it shut like a blast of an atom bomb.
No one ever changed their minds, spoke regrets. 

Peter Neil Carroll is currently Poetry Moderator of His latest collection of poetry is Something is Bound to Break (Main Street Rag Press). Earlier titles include Fracking Dakota and A Child Turns Back to Wave which won the Prize Americana. His poems have appeared in many print and online journals, recently in Cultural Weekly, Freshwater Poetry, Plainsongs, and BigCityLit.