Bascom Affair: the case of the wrong Apache


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If somethin’ happens to ya’

don’t let the situation fool ya’

an’ make sure ya’ get the facts straight from the start.

Too many times we’ve seen it happen,

when the tongue begins its flappin’,

that the truth an’ what is said turn out ta’ be quite far apart.

There’s an Arizona case

which became a big disgrace,

cuz’ two men went about it both half-cocked.

Johnny Ward’s adopted son

an’ some cattle were on the run,

they were took right off his land an’ left him shocked.

So he mixed up some facts

on which Apaches left the tracks,

an’ he told this tale of falsehood to a Second Lieu:

George Bascom was the name

of the Second Looey who would gain “fame”

cuz’ he didn’t wait ta’ find out what was true.

Ward said it was Cochise

that shattered his family’s peace,

by absconding with his boy, an’ his beef.

So Bascom had a message sent,

come sit an’ talk within a tent,

yet it was only a trap ta’ catch the chief.

But Cochise could not be grabbed,

yet six braves of his were nabbed,

so the chief set his tribe on the warpath.

First, Cochise tried an exchange,

Bascom refused… mighty strange,

since it sparked a twelve-year war: a real bloodbath.

In just one week fer’ sayin’ “no”

sixteen whites to death did go,

an’ Bascom hung the six braves in reply.

From eighteen-sixty till seventy-two

this war would not be through,

an’ a heap of lives were lost over a lie.

Major General Howard,

quite the opposite of coward,

came out ta’ see if he can bring some peace.

So he met with the chief,

it was time ta’ end this grief,

an’ he bound the promise with the great Cochise.

The poor abducted boy

faced a life without joy,

he’d been taken by a different Apache band.

He resurfaced ten years late,

with a life he learned ta’ hate,

he was the symbol of the tension in the land.

Felix Tellez had been his name,

it was changed ta’ hide the shame,

the moniker he chose was “Mickey Free.”

Though years beyond his return

the anger still did burn,

cuz’ no one gave Cochise an apology.



8 thoughts on “Bascom Affair: the case of the wrong Apache

  1. poeturja September 9, 2016 / 7:48 pm

    An incredible poem, JW. A very adept way of presenting another piece of shameful history…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Cathleen Clark September 10, 2016 / 3:46 am

    Well, I had a comment written and WP locked up on me… I’ll try to remember…
    I admire your ability to take actual events and turn them into a lyrical poem, my friend. And I loved your choice of narrative style on this one. Well done, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jwtatfbc September 10, 2016 / 3:48 am

      The ominous WP lock-up. Sorry to hear it, Cathy. But thank you for the response. You know how much I respect your talent and your opinion, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary Cathleen Clark September 10, 2016 / 3:53 am

    As I respect your talent and opinion, Partner in Poetry. 😊
    And I do envy your ability to craft a poem and story together. I can’t do that. You have a sharp mind, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jwtatfbc September 10, 2016 / 4:00 am

      Thank you again, my friend. But all your readers know you’re a hell of a storyteller..and that’s not easy. And after all the times I’ve crashed and burned in previous professions, I’m happy I can still think…much less be told my mind is sharp (haha).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Cathleen Clark September 10, 2016 / 4:02 am

        You must not have hit your head too many times. 🙂
        I’m off to bed now, my wonderful friend, good night and sweet dreams.

        Liked by 1 person

      • jwtatfbc September 10, 2016 / 4:05 am

        Good night and sweet dreams to you as well, Pretty Lady.

        Liked by 1 person

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