Tag Archives: Sherman Alexie

We writers are the worst kind of cruel,

Because we worship our own stories and poems,
And what human can compete with metaphors?
Writers stand still and yet vacate our homes
Inside our fantasies. We are word-whores,

With libidos and egos of balsa wood.
We’d have sex with our books, if only we could.

Sherman Alexie, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Marriage”, Face

Yes, I hate blown glass art and I happen to live in the blown glass art capital of the world, Seattle, Washington. Being a part of the Seattle artistic community, I often get invited to galleries that are displaying the latest glass sculptures by some amazing new/old/mid-career glass blower. I never go. Abstract art leaves me feeling stupid and bored. Perhaps it’s because I grew up inside a tribal culture, on a reservation where every song and dance had specific ownership, specific meaning, and specific historical context. Moreover, every work of art had use–art as tool: art to heal; art to honor, art to grieve. I think of the Spanish word carnal, defined as, ‘Of the appetites and passions of the body.’ And I think of Gertrude Stein’s line, ‘Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.’ When asked what that line meant, Stein said, ‘The poet could use the name of the thing and the thing was really there.’ So when I say drum, the drum is really being pounded in this poem; when I say fancydancer, the fancydancer is really spinning inside this poem; when I say Indian singer, that singer is really wailing inside this poem. But when it comes to abstract art–when it comes to studying an organically shaped giant piece of multi-colored glass–I end up thinking, ‘That looks like my kidney. Anybody’s kidney, really. And frankly, there can be no kidney-shaped art more beautiful–more useful and closer to our Creator–than the kidney itself. And beyond that, this glass isn’t funny. There’s no wit here. An organic shape is not inherently artistic. It doesn’t change my mind about the world. It only exists to be admired. And, frankly, if I wanted to only be in admiration of an organic form, I’m going to watch beach volleyball. I’m always going to prefer the curve of a woman’s hip or a man’s shoulder to a piece of glass that has some curves.’

Sherman Alexie, footnote 3, “Vilify”, Face (2009)

‘What’s so funny?’ asked Peone.
‘Catholic cops are funny,’ said Lester.
‘You were listening?’
‘Yeah.’
‘Yeah? Catholic Indians are funny.’
‘There’s lots of Catholic Indians.’
‘There’s lots of Catholic cops.’

Sherman Alexie, Indian Killer

You have to treat your car with love. And I don’t mean love of an object. You see, that’s just wrong. That’s materialism. You have to love your car like it’s sentient being, like it can love you back. Now, that’s some deep-down agape love.

Sherman Alexie, “One Good Man”, The Toughest Indian In The World

As for romance, Frank had dated a few women over the years but found them to be too inconsistent and illogical, so he dated a few men and found them to be even more random and frightening.

Sherman Alexie, “What Ever Happened To Frank Snake Church?”, Ten Little Indians

[F]rank knew he was guilty of arrogance and misanthropy, but he compensated by being kind to strangers and tipping really well at restaurants.

Sherman Alexie, “What Ever Happened To Frank Snake Church?”, Ten Little Indians

She’d wanted to completely shave her head: I don’t want long hair, I don’t want short hair, I don’t want hair at all, and I don’t want to be a girl or a boy, I want to be a yellow and orange leaf some little kid picks up and pastes in his scrapbook.

Sherman Alexie, “Flight Patterns”, Ten Little Indians

We didn’t domesticate cats. They domesticated themselves. But not totally, you know? You take a good look at any house cat, and you can tell there’s eventually going to be a day when it goes back wild, you know? When it reverts to its true nature. You fall over and die in a house with your dog, and your dog will lie down beside your dead body, maybe right on top of it, and starve to death. But a house cat will feast on your eyes as soon as its stomach starts growling.

Sherman Alexie, “Lawyer’s League”, Ten Little Indians