Chief Jay Strongbow is Real

His war dance began when wounded ,
Desperate, he’d rally—proud warrior

The show is real, dammit, the native American
will make that comeback, always fighting

harder when down, then full of fist-chops,
he’d punch, Handsome Jimmy Valiant

the rival’s white hair was bloody and disheveled—
Valiant was formally a partner, as champions

They fought Mr. Fugi and Professor Toru Tanaka
a tag-team battle of racism. The bout was over

when we enacted The Indian Removal Act
colonial conflict, disease, discrimination

because that was too real, dammit—the money
is what it’s about. Value

Last year at Standing Rock, Junior
Wrestler Delany Lester won

the 152 pound class in a pin.
No one will remember Delany

And who was Luke Joseph Scarpa?
He was a fake, an actor within

the theater of our absurdity. It’s all fake
Chief Jay Strongbow will beat the white man.

Photography © Glenn Bowie

Timothy Gager is the author of thirteen books of short fiction and poetry, including two novels. His latest Chief Jay Strongbow is Real his first book of poetry since 2014. He has had over 400 works of fiction and poetry published and of which eleven have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has been read on National Public Radio. He’s hosted the successful Dire Literary Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts since 2001.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters. Glenn is also the official photographer for the Newton Writing and Publishing Center.