mercifulserpent: (Default)
"Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World"
Sherman Alexie

The morning air is all awash with angels
—Richard Wilbur, “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World”

The eyes open to a blue telephone
In the bathroom of this five-star hotel.

I wonder whom I should call? A plumber,
Proctologist, urologist, or priest?

Who is blessed among us and most deserves
The first call? I choose my father because

He’s astounded by bathroom telephones.
I dial home. My mother answers. “Hey, Ma,”

I say, “Can I talk to Poppa?” She gasps,
And then I remember that my father

Has been dead for nearly a year. “Shit, Mom,”
I say. “I forgot he’s dead. I’m sorry—

How did I forget?” “It’s okay,” she says.
“I made him a cup of instant coffee

This morning and left it on the table—
Like I have for, what, twenty-seven years—

And I didn’t realize my mistake
Until this afternoon.” My mother laughs

At the angels who wait for us to pause
During the most ordinary of days

And sing our praise to forgetfulness
Before they slap our souls with their cold wings.

Those angels burden and unbalance us.
Those fucking angels ride us piggyback.

Those angels, forever falling, snare us
And haul us, prey and praying, into dust.
mercifulserpent: (Default)
Mutually Assured Destruction, Sherman Alexie



When I was nine, my father sliced his knee
With a chainsaw. But he let himself bleed
And finished cutting down one more tree
Before his boss drove him to EMERGENCY.
Late that night, stoned on morphine and beer,
My father needed my help to steer
His pickup into the woods. “Watch for deer,”
My father said. “Those things just appear
Like magic.” It was an Indian summer
And we drove through warm rain and thunder,
Until we found that chainsaw, lying under
The fallen pine. Then I watched, with wonder,
As my father, shotgun-rich and impulse-poor,
Blasted that chainsaw dead. “What was that for?”
I asked. “Son,” my father said. “Here’s the score.
Once a thing tastes blood, it will come for more.”
mercifulserpent: (Default)
Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World
by Sherman Alexie

The morning air is all awash with angels…
—Richard Wilbur

The eyes open to a blue telephone
In the bathroom of this five-star hotel.

I wonder whom I should call? A plumber,
Proctologist, urologist, or priest?

Who is most among us and most deserves
The first call? I choose my father because

He’s astounded by bathroom telephones.
I dial home. My mother answers. “Hey, Ma,

I say, “Can I talk to Poppa?” She gasps,
And then I remember that my father

Has been dead for nearly a year. “Shit, Mom,”
I say. “I forgot he’s dead. I’m sorry—

How did I forget?” “It’s okay,” she says.
“I made him a cup of instant coffee

This morning and left it on the table—
Like I have for, what, twenty-seven years—

And I didn’t realize my mistake
Until this afternoon.” My mother laughs

At the angels who wait for us to pause
During the most ordinary of days
And sing our praise to forgetfulness

Before they slap our souls with their cold wings.
Those angels burden and unbalance us.

Those fucking angels ride us piggyback.
Those angels, forever falling, snare us

And haul us, prey and praying, into dust.
mercifulserpent: (Default)
Sherman Alexie

Requiem for a Pay Phone

                                                 a Fibonacci sequence poem


All

That

Autumn,

I walked from

The apartment (shared

With my sisters) to that pay phone

On Third Avenue, next to a sleazy gas station

And down the block from the International House of Pancakes. I was working the night

Shift at a pizza joint and you were away at college. You dated a series of inconsequential
boys. Well, each boy meant little on his

Own, but their cumulative effect devastated my brain and balls. I wanted you to stop
kissing relative strangers, so I called at midnight as often as I could afford to. If I talked
to you that late, I knew

(Or hoped) you couldn’t rush into anybody’s bed. But, damn, I still recall the misery of
hearing the ring, ring, ring, ring

Of your unanswered phone. These days, I’d text you to find you, but where’s the
delicious pain

In that? God, I miss standing in the mosquito dark

At this or that pay phone. I wish

That I could find one

And call back

All that

I

Loved.


mercifulserpent: (Default)
ON THE AMTRAK FROM BOSTON TO NEW YORK CITY

The white woman across the aisle from me says 'Look,
look at all the history, that house
on the hill there is over two hundred years old, '
as she points out the window past me

into what she has been taught. I have learned
little more about American history during my few days
back East than what I expected and far less
of what we should all know of the tribal stories

whose architecture is 15,000 years older
than the corners of the house that sits
museumed on the hill. 'Walden Pond, '
the woman on the train asks, 'Did you see Walden Pond? '

and I don't have a cruel enough heart to break
her own by telling her there are five Walden Ponds
on my little reservation out West
and at least a hundred more surrounding Spokane,

the city I pretended to call my home. 'Listen, '
I could have told her. 'I don't give a shit
about Walden. I know the Indians were living stories
around that pond before Walden's grandparents were born

and before his grandparents' grandparents were born.
I'm tired of hearing about Don-fucking-Henley saving it, too,
because that's redundant. If Don Henley's brothers and sisters
and mothers and father hadn't come here in the first place

then nothing would need to be saved.'
But I didn't say a word to the woman about Walden
Pond because she smiled so much and seemed delighted
that I thought to bring her an orange juice

back from the food car. I respect elders
of every color. All I really did was eat
my tasteless sandwich, drink my Diet Pepsi
and nod my head whenever the woman pointed out

another little piece of her country's history
while I, as all Indians have done
since this war began, made plans
for what I would do and say the next time

somebody from the enemy thought I was one of their own.

Sherman Alexie
mercifulserpent: (Default)
damn. there are so many quotes i loved in this movie. only, i can't put them here because i want everyone to go see it and have it be a virgin experience, untainted with prior ideas about intonation and meaning and wahtever.

but this was def one of the better parts.

Thomas Builds-the-Fire:
How do we forgive our fathers. Maybe in a dream?
Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often, or forever, when we were little?
Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage, or making us nervous, because there never seemed to be any rage there at all.
Do we forgive our fathers for marrying or not marrying our mothers, for divorcing or not divorcing our mothers?
And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?
Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning, for shutting doors, for speaking through walls, or never speaking, or never being silent?

Do we forgive our fathers in our age or in theirs?
Or in their deaths, saying it to them, or not saying it?
If we forgive our fathers what is left?


dude. that is an AWESOME MOVIE.

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