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Blood Thirsty Savages

by Adrian C. Louis

Another Indian Murder

Beneath Mt. Rushmore's
heightened air, drunk redskins
were stumbling everywhere
dead but for the deed of dying.
Inside crossed ruins around the town
pallid priests in rich robes lounged
sucking the lobes and loins
of a God they were sure
could never have fathered such action.

Their rosaries can't lighten
the darkness at will
so prone before Jesus
and white history's swill,
I prayed that the Sioux become sober
and quit murdering themselves, their great nation.

But, that bitter December night, the granite shadows
of Lincoln and Washington descended the slopes
and infected all that was good below.
Two Oglala boys with baseball bats
scrambled the brains of a drinking buddy
and when they sobered
they could not recall
how they tried to plug the brain-seeping
holes with Kleenex while they prayed
to the Lord to let him live.


An enrolled member of the Lovelock Paiute Indian tribe and resident of Pine Ridge Reservation takes an unflinching look at the harsh realities of modern-day Native American life.


After being bombarded for a couple of decades with the prosy vapidities of post-modern verse, . . . it's a treat to come upon the gutsy, fleshy world of Adrian C. Louis. We can taste the beer and smell the exhaust of the pickup truck, and we can groove with the cosmos at the same time.

The Bloomsbury Review

Blood Thirsty Savages is a collection that reaches to the core of contemporary Native American life. . . . It is a work of profound honesty, and it ought to be read by everyone who cares to know the American heart.
— N. Scott Momaday, author of The Way to Rainy Mountain and House Made of Dawn, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Blood Thirsty Savages
is . . . American poetry at its most powerful . . . his best book yet.
— Leslie Marmon Silko, author of Ceremony and Almanac of the Dead