The first time I read those words was up in one of my favorite gumbo limbo trees deep in the Everglades. My new father-in-law Busimanolotome Osceola gave me "Leaves of Grass" as part of a wedding gift. Getting daddy's "blessing" however for the marriage of his first born-- the "First of the New Seminole" (as Nokosee likes to remind me with a finger pointing into the sky and his voice dropping an octave or two to register the gravitas of the position)-- to a white chick wasn't easy. He had big plans for the boy and none of them included getting his son hitched up to me. If you read my books, you know I had to prove my worthiness by going on something the Chief cooked up called a "walkabout" around the Everglades. Alone. With no food or water. By the time I returned to the tribe a couple of days later, stark naked and covered in mosquito bites, the only thing I had on my mind was killing the old bastard. But I didn't-- I fainted from lack of food, loss of blood (the mosquitos got it), and dehydration while firing shots from an AR-15 at his feet. Perhaps things would have been different if I hadn't fainted but the fact is we grew much closer than I ever expected. Anyway, he told me Whitman pretty much speaks for the New Seminole. Especially that part where Walt/Busi asks us to "... stand up for the stupid and crazy..."). I'm pretty sure he was talking about himself. He knew the New Seminole was based on a cockamamie plan: returning South Florida to its rightful caretakers, the New Seminoles, by any means necessary. That's basically an unwritten requirement for anyone wanting to join up with us. You gotta be a little bit nuts. Like me.
Holatte-Sutv Turwv Osceola.