On Custer's Penis and Sitting Bull's Bloody Arms

So I feel Richard Brautigan’s (1935-1984, R.I.P.) ghost hovering over me this cool Colorado morning, on this July 4th, while reading about a battle in Montana in 1876, perhaps a mythic, blood-stained centennial. He lived and wrote late in his life outside Livingston, Montana, and is one of our under-appreciated writers. So the Wind Won’t Blow It All Away (1982) and Willard and His Blowing Trophies (1975) are both little classics. Some of his poetry is knockout, too, especially the Donner Party poem. He’s good with one liners, as in, “All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds.”
On the plains east of Brautigan’s writing home of the 1970s, Custer made his last charge, and they share a common love of long hair and funny hats. Nathaniel Philbrick’s The Last Stand has some juicy tidbits about the Little Bighorn, if you’re a morbid-onlooker like myself. Although not reported at the time, so as not to upset his wife, when Custer’s body was discovered on Last Stand Hill, his penis had an arrow jammed up it. (Lucky shot.) Philbrick describes Sitting Bull’s Sun Dance ceremony where he gouged 50 pieces of skin from both arms and was covered in blood, passed out in the Sun Dance lodge, when he received a vision that foretold a victory over the 7th Cavalry. (Lucky dream.)

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