They call them Starlight Tours.
It’s a bit of cop humor,
dark with an innocent veneer
that can pass muster over radios.
The Tours are reserved for
First Nations People who may have
had a little too much to drink.
Weaving down the sidewalk
or pissing in an alley,
sometimes just sitting at the bus stop
is enough to catch the unwanted
attention of a Tour director.
It’s like a game of good cop bad cop,
Only now they are Tour driver and Tour director.
Really, it’s funny.
Except now it’s January, in Saskatchewan.
Negative 20 degrees at night, with wind.
Sky clear with such razor sharpness
you can see the Milky Way glowing
from the beginning of time.
Still, you know how kids are,
hats, parkas and boots won’t do for them.
Out for a night of drinking and pool,
maybe get lucky with a girl, who needs
to be weighed down with winter gear?
It’s just stuff to lose along the way for a
bar hopping, pool sharking, hound doggin’ man.
At 2am the bars close and lots of young men
hit the streets, more or less drunk
but that’s less interesting to the cops than
where they are from and their bloodline.
While cruising around for the next 2 hours
clearing the streets of drunk white boys
and sending the drunk red boys to lockup
they keep their eyes open for a potential passenger.
Tonight the Starlight Tour is open for business.
After stopping a couple of boys to check ID’s
and stories, the perfect passenger shows up.
Too young to be legally drunk, a warrant in his name,
and from the right side of town.
This boy has booked passage on the Starlight Tour.
When his body is found between town
and the power station there are a lot of questions
from one side of town, not much interest on the other.
Well, you have to understand, this boy isn’t the
first one to show up dead in a field in winter.
But seeing how it’s the dead of winter and he’s
an Indian well, it’s obvious, just another drunk
Indian who couldn’t find his way home so he froze
to death. “Accidental death” cold calculated words,
that signify judgement, indifference, hatred.
Words that signify acceptance of Starlight Tours.
Yes, it is okay to take a drunk boy miles from town,
beat him, leave him to die with his summer shoes on.
Raw mindless hatred brings us to our knees.
Bloodless cruelty brings us to the end of civilization.
Cold calculated words bring us to senseless death,
to murder by accidental death,
to wry smiles about Starlight Tours,
to the end of a life, a boy’s life, a mere cipher in
the eyes and minds of a dead culture, dead people,
zombies really, capable of only laughter when
a drunk Indian is killed by smirking cops on their Starlight Tours.
A boy is dead. His name is Neil Stonechild. He won’t see 18.
Surely we can all see the humor in that.