. Homage to the Cultural Contributions of Native Americans Columbus bumped into this wondrous land— Out of his ships came a little band To offer up thanks on the golden sand. Chris found three things that can wreck your brain, Each one endemic to this domain: Tobacco and syphilis and cocaine. As soon as Chris planted the Spanish flag An Indian gave him a heavy drag From a pipe filled with Virginia shag. The voyagers put up a wooden fort, And an old chieftain who was a sport Offered Columbus a line to snort. An Indian princess in native wrap Sat in Columbus’s spacious lap And gave the explorer a dose of clap. Soon things were spreading in all directions— Coca leaves, pipes, and the crew’s erections Produced new addictions and strange infections. After recrossing the Spanish Main Columbus came back to the King of Spain And spoke to his master in language plain: “They’ve got a brown weed that is swell to smoke, And a white powder you sniff, called coke, Though used in excess they can make you choke.” Said Chris, while he puffed on a big cheroot, “As for the women, they’re really cute, With morals as light as an oaten flute.” The captain soon paid for these novelties— Tobacco smoke caused him to cough and wheeze; Abuse of cocaine made his nostrils freeze. But one thing especially fueled his rancor— Columbus developed an ugly chancre, And cursed the day that he had dropped his anchor. And so the Old World got a set of curses That filled up the hospitals and the hearses, And what is more, and what's even worse, is Columbus got blamed for these three new vices. Although he found gold and exotic spices The wealth he brought home only jacked up prices. Demand grew for doctors and funeral sculptures As plagues turned poor folks into food for vultures. How nice to be open to other cultures! —from Masquerade, 2005 . . Joseph S. Salemi has published five books of poetry, and his poems, translations and scholarly articles have appeared in over one hundred publications world-wide. He is the editor of the literary magazine TRINACRIA and writes for Expansive Poetry On-line. He teaches in the Department of Humanities at New York University and in the Department of Classical Languages at Hunter College.