I SEE RED

I relate to Rich Mullins on a number of levels, not on others, but what I could have done and would have done in a heartbeat if God had ever made it clear to me it was His calling would have been to live, serve and love on Native American or (in Canada) First Nations land with a people whom I deeply appreciate and respect. Rich chose to live and serve in such a way for a number of reasons, but in terms of genuine care and compassion, I deeply appreciate that he did so.

I am in no way ignorant of historical sin, tribe vs. tribe atrocities, many cultural customs we (Christian whites especially) consider outright demonic among indigenous culture. But I will tell you bluntly- “civilized” people of Euro-ethnic stock have quite the checkered past which in my view is certainly equal to and in some cases MORE evil than any I have found in “savage” culture.

“To whom much more is given, much more shall be required”. Indeed.

My personal study of history leads me to the opinion that those with the greatest military might and desire to gain ever more power, land and wealth tend to scourge the earth and it’s people the most completely.

All this to say there is in all my years only one time I wish I had put my own foot down about a lyric we changed on a REZ Band song, creating what I think was a truly good lyric and song… but I let the original lyric and title go, somehow not even saving a single copy.

For many reasons, this lyric should have ended up on one of our records with strong accompanying music.

The other day my longtime friend Jon Trott dug out a load of very old cassettes, several rough mixes from REZ Band, circa 1987… and I had thought this lyric was gone forever. I think it has it’s flaws, but I stand by it and perhaps will set it to music at some point.

God forgive us, God have mercy on our nation of colonists.

-Glenn

I SEE RED
glenn kaiser
1987

Ghosts of a thousand nations
Crying in the wind
And the faces
Are getting paler
As -our- tribal truth sinks in
We tore the threads of humankind
Brought the faith
So dipped in blood
Some places urban ghetto streets
Are lined
With true Americans

First the balm
Then the bullet
And the lie
That killed them dead
First the balm
Then the bullet
I see red

We used the land of the Spirit
We claimed it to possess
They gave thanks for it’s sustinence
We squeezed it ’til it bled

Concentration-Reservation camps
Smallpox blankets
For their beds
We left them hungry
In their bellies
By the war we fueled and fed

First the balm
Then the bullet
Then the lie
Up in our heads
First the balm
Then the bullet
And I see red

The sickness
Of our race
To conquer
Even exterminate
Too many histories
Tell the tale
Of the women, children that we killed
The power
Of the white man
And the slaughter of the brave
They were civilized with injustice
In marked and unmarked graves

Sometimes at night
I hear the wind
Of a past I cannot change
Faces flash before me
Entire nations burn in flames
The dignity of mankind’s dreams
Has the scent of mockery here
There were savages on both sides
Misery and tears

And the balm
And the bullet
Far too many
To count the dead
When the balm
Then the bullet
Bled them dead

I see
I see

I see red
Red
Red
Red
I
See
Red

I see red

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