Jump Ship/I Sailed With Columbus


“I Sailed With Columbus” 

When I was eight years old, in 1992

I first learned about Christopher Columbus

and I sang along with my class

“In fourteen-hundred and ninety-two

Columbus sailed the ocean blue”

and we drew pictures of him

and we had a party to celebrate

the 500th anniversary

of 1492.

Ten years later, I graduated from high school

and I joined Columbus

and his crew

and it was such an honor

to sail around the world with him

finding new places to discover.

The little money we earned never lasted,

spent at brothels and bars

but we believed so much in Columbus

and so much in what we were doing

we felt like rock stars,

the money didn’t matter,

God was on our side!

A few people we didn’t know 

got a lot of the gold

that we brought home

but I felt blessed to even be a part of the voyage.

It was my duty to God and to country.

Even after I left the great explorers crew

I happily helped pay for his voyages

as he sailed off to discover new lands.

After spending some time

reflecting on the voyages

that I took part in


I realized that,

though I have two eyes

I had failed to see

the humanity

of the people

in the places we ‘discovered’


in the places we invaded

and conquered,

these places we terrorized

and pillaged for gold

and for human beings.

Though I can unfortunately

never forget

the song that I learned

as a youth

about Columbus sailing the ocean blue,

my support for Columbus

and his voyages

is through

and, though I cannot undo

the things I’ve done

if I ever pick up a weapon again

I will be fighting alongside the Taino

not Columbus and his men.





. (The handwritten haiku/tanka is shorter version of this longer poem I wrote a while back reflecting on my ‘travels’ more than a decade after coming home from a beautiful land we still violently occupy)

About soitgoes1984

I live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean in the Hawaiian Kingdom which is currently illegally occupied by the American government. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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