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The Alternate Last Samurai

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PART ONE:

The summer came with
Strange, white, men aboard large ships
Mounted with weapons

Fear spreads through Edo
The people hiding and the
Warriors ready

The ship then makes port
And off walks a tall white man:
Commodore Perry

Aboard are others
Men who thirst for women they
Haven't seen for months

One, Nathan, a young
Man with issues toward spirits
Liquid and surreal

Night falls on that day
Commodore's men prowl the streets
In search of something…

Hitoro and Ai,
Ride into Edo that night
When noises are heard

Curious, Ai leaves,
Horse saunters through alleyways.
A man approaches

Then, Nathan, now drunk,
Sees something he has not seen
Since America

The girl grips the reins
But the horse runs away from
Beneath her body

She falls to the ground
He grabs her collar and then
Grabs her kimono

Hand over the mouth
Pinned onto the earthen ground
Muffled cries echo.

Hitoro finds Ai
At dawn in the alleyway
Naked as a babe

The news spreads like fear
In the city of Edo:
Samurai's child raped!

Meanwhile, Commodore
Perry is furious with
The crew; Nathan hides

One week passes by
And the Commodore must leave
He heads for China

Nathan confesses
Dishonorably discharged
And dies in China

Commodore Perry
Returned in February
1854

Ai has been pregnant
She never wanted the child
But it's too late now

In March, spring arrives
And with it, a baby boy
Ai dies that morning

Her father approaches
An unassuming sailor
Near the Edo Bay

Hitoro warned him
As did other samurai
Of consequences

"Kill the Gaijin boy,
For he had killed your daughter,
Or you'll disgrace us."

But he could never
Forgive himself if he were
To slaughter a child

So he approaches
An unassuming sailor
One of Perry's men

Algren, a blacksmith
Makes weapons for the soldiers
And not much else than that

He's now presented
With something wrapped in rough cloth
It squirms in his arms

"Do not mention me"
Are the samurai's orders
Algren is perplexed

 

PART TWO:

America now.
The child, named Nathan, now lives
In Minnesota

Algren makes sabers
His wife makes the home and gives
Nathan dirty looks

Village children look
At Nathan and ask questions
"What on earth is he?"

The minister sneers
The townsfolk cast down their heads
Even dogs steer clear.

"Bastard child," they hiss
Whenever they find the chance
To just speak their minds

No one can trust him
No one seems to care for him
Except for Algren

1861
Algren mist fight in the war
His wife's glad he's gone

Now, Nathan Algren
Alone in Minnesota
Must cure his heartache

Nathan plays with swords
While Algren is off at war
Somewhere in the South

 

Unbeknownst to him
He is the legacy of
The world's best swordsmen

1864
A message comes to the house
Bad news: Algren's dead.

No one can trust him
No one seems to care for him
Now Algren is gone

Nathan becomes sad
Unsure of what to do now
His frustration builds

Takes to hurting cows
Smoking the cigarette and
Defacing the church

1868
Mrs. Algren can't take it
"Get a job!" she snarls.

Young boy takes a pen
And the boy joins the army
Lies about his age

7th Calvary
Closes in at Washita
Nathan can't stand blood

Nathan befriends Grant
The much older Irishman
Resembles Algren

Five years quickly fly
Algren, now a lieutenant
He's only nineteen

Lieutenant Colonel
Known as Bagley, took some two
Decades to reach that

Ghosts haunt Nathan with
Nightmares of dead Sioux people
And of racial slurs

Nathan can't take it
Takes to his father's old sins
Finds comfort in booze

Nathan feels older
In 1873
And leaves the army

Three years drag Nathan
Through San Francisco gun shows
Feels like thirty years

Nathan then becomes
A beggar for the bottle
Zebulon watches

Nathan is fired
In 1876
'Cause too drunk to work

Colonel Bagley and
A man named Omura then
Give him an offer

Work for six months with
The Japanese Army and
Receive three years pay

With nothing to lose
Nathan must take their offer
His fate is now sealed

PART THREE:

Autumn in Japan
Nathan arrives to glares like
In Minnesota

Tokyo erupts.
Mothers talk. Old men whisper.
Children ask questions.

Nathan hears "Gaijin"
Omura says not to worry
It just means "stranger"

"Samurai Scandal"
The word upon the streets that
Nathan wants to know

Graham, an Englishman
Talks about the samurai
But not the scandal

Nathan trains the men
They spit and curse at Nathan
Just like in his town

Omura orders
Nathan to take the soldiers
Right by a railway

"There are samurai"
He says. Nathan asks for aid
Omura shakes head.

Leads the men through town
As they head for the railway
An old woman stares

She's an old mid-wife
They exchange looks for a while
She knows who he is

Nathan is alone
With men that do not trust him
In the dark, dense woods

"Now hold your fire"
Orders Nathan from his horse
A gunshot echoes

Demons rise from mist
The army deserts Nathan
Within the shadows

Nathan is alone
Among a battalion
Of samurai men

Arrow through the horse
And the horse collapses right
Beneath his body

Takes his gun and shoots
But the samurai aren't fazed
By the gun bullets

Nathan out of shots
Finds a broken spear nearby
And an angry man

His samurai sword
Nearly slices Nathan's throat
Spear came in handy

The samurai falls
And bleeds to his death as a
Tiger shows his face

Flag with white tiger
On the spear that Nathan holds
In his tired hands

Then, Katsumoto
Mounts off of his horse, and walks
Toward Nathan Algren

He recalls visions
Of a white tiger that fought
And killed a great foe

Nathan collapses
Unto his knees, all while he's
Panting like a dog
Katsumoto then
Spares the life of the Gaijin
Takes him prisoner

PART FOUR:

Small Mountain Village
Sons flock toward the samurai
Save for two young ones

Katsumoto dumps
Nathan into Taka's care
She is resentful

Nathan discovers
That the samurai he killed
Had been her husband

Forced to stay in bed
Nathan becomes paranoid
And begs for sake

Taka won't comply
And does so for his own good
A mother's tough love

Her young sons worry
That the gaijin will explode
If he stays inside

It is winter now
Snow blankets the small village
Nathan walks outside

Children play outside
Samurai stroll by the old
Temple of Buddha

Nathan walks inside
Finds Katsumoto in there
Wants to learn his ways

He's given a sword
Used by samurai students
To hone their fighting

He practices with
The boys in the village square
Taka watches them

Ujio not pleased
By the foreigner's efforts
To learn bushido

Ujio decides
To put Nathan I his place
Fights him in a duel

The samurai cheer
When Nathan is defeated
Katsumoto sighs

Now, Ujio must
Train Nathan against his will
Beautiful karma

Nathan learns the way
Of the sword, all while helping
Taka with the house

A warrior that
Does women's work is quite strange
To the villagers

Then, at the temple
On a cold, snowless morning
Katsumoto waits

Nathan then arrives
With many questions to ask
Just like all young men

"Samurai Scandal:
Tell me everything you know.
Please, I beg of you."

Katsumoto turns
To look in Nathan's young eyes
And blue irises

Twenty-two years past
Since that one fateful in
An Edo alley

White man raped daughter
Of a revered Samurai
Forever tainted

 

A boy was then born
Eight months later in the spring
And was almost killed

Nathan hangs his head
Tells Katsumoto of life
In America

He wished to be dead
With all the slurs he'd been thrown
In both there and here

"Hitoro did, too,"
Katsumoto told Nathan,
"But then you killed him."

Nathan felt so old
As Katsumoto told him
Of this tainted tale

"You must choose, Nathan
Between your mother's family
Or your father's sin."

Nobutada comes
And tells his father that a
Play is performing

Nathan follows them
The father and his young son
Back to the village

The night then ensues
With the laughter of people
Though danger lurking

 

Suddenly, ninjas
Try to kill Katsumoto
But Nathan stops them

The ninjas run off
The village can now be safe
Despite the lost lives

Now the villagers
No longer call him "Gaijin"
Nathan earned their trust

PART FIVE:

The spring had arrived
With tiny pink sakura
Floating in the breeze

Nathan must return
To Tokyo down below
But is reluctant

He turns twenty-three
As he rides into the base
And finds different men

Bagley took over
During Nathan's long absence
The men are cocky

On the other side
Katsumoto asks to see
The young Emperor

Omura, fearful,
Has the samurai captured
And has him locked up

Nathan finds out
Contacts Nobutada and
Looks for Simon Graham
The Three men enter
Via lies, cheats, and some bribes
To look for their man

Katsumoto's found
His legs crossed and eyes shut tight
Within a small room

Nobutada and
Graham asked to leave the room
Katsumoto speaks.

"Take Hitoro's sword
And fight for the samurai.
Avenge your mother."

The two men escape
Only to discover that
Nobutada's dead

The event saddens
Katsumoto cannot grieve
A battle awaits him

He looks at Nathan
The young man has now found his
Opportunity

The night falls quickly
Two people hold each other:
Nathan and Taka

He says "Don't Worry."
Though Shiroyama awaits
Him in the morning

Taka gives Nathan
Hitoro's armor and
A glistening sword
PART SIX:

At Shiroyama
Soldiers outnumber the others
Over ten to one

As Bagley's barking
Nathan tells Katsumoto
Of the 300

So, the samurai
Evade enemy gunshots
Till they can fight back

The samurai shoot
Their arrows toward the soldiers
And start a fire

Omura takes out
A much more vicious weapon
Some new machine gins

And then, one by one,
Samurai fall to the ground
Katsumoto's hit

Nathan runs to him
Against the falling masses
Of killed samurai

Nathan can't stand blood
Despite that it surrounds him
Along with death stench

Katsumoto then
Gives Nathan a knife and asks
That he help him die

 

Against Omura
And Colonel Bagley, soldiers
Cease fire and bow down

Nathan takes the knife
And fulfills Katsumoto's
Final dying wish

Seppuku, it's called
And tiny pink sakura
Take his now freed soul

Emperor Meji
Is presented a treaty
The following day

Omura insists
That he signs the new treaty
With Americans

But then Nathan comes
And gives Katsumoto's knife
To the Emperor

Glances are exchanged
Between the men in the room
Meji shows his face

He offers the knife
To Omura that instant
"Kill yourself or leave."

PART SEVEN:

Nathan is unsure
If he should go back or stay
In his mother's land

 

Taka comes to him
And says she'll go where he goes
His choice is then made

He lives in Japan
With Taka and her two sons
And for many years

1889
Nathan dies in his bedroom
He was thirty-five

It was his liver,
The doctor said to Taka.
He had drunk too much.

Some decades later
Simon is in London with
Taka's eldest son

Within his hands is
A journal that Nathan kept
They read the pages

The two write a book
Based on the entries they'd read
And had it published

1907
The book is for sale; Its Name:
The Last Samurai