Today's poem is by Sherman Alexie

Happy Holidays!


Indians love fireworks.

We make millions selling illegal ones to white folks.

Well, not millions for each of us, but you know what I mean.

A working definition of tolerance: When Indians make money from white
              folks celebrating their independence.

Ever have a bottle rocket fight? I've got a burn scar on my left thumb.

Reservation rumor: an M-80 firecracker was as powerful as a 1/4 stick
              of dynamite. Wasn't true, but we pretended it was true when we
              threw them into ant piles.


White eggs come from white chickens; brown eggs come from
              brown chickens.

Have you ever hidden an egg in your home for the Easter hunt, and
              then been unable to find it for days or even weeks afterward?
              A few years ago, we hid an ostrich egg (an ostrich egg!) in our living
              room and never found it. It still hasn't gone bad enough to find it
              by smell. Every so often, I look for it.

When I was a child, I cracked open a bright green painted egg
              and discovered a chicken fetus inside.

My high school girlfriend raised chickens. "About every fifty eggs or so,"
              she said, "you drop a fetus into the frying pan."

Sunnyside up, with lots of Tabasco, and four triangles of buttered toast.
              White Jesus comes from white people; brown Jesus comes from
              brown people.


Pine trees, pine trees, pine trees.

My family didn't have indoor plumbing until I was seven years old.

We lived in an epic, and gorgeous, pine forest.

Therefore, pine tree = poverty.

Therefore, poverty = epic and gorgeous.

There is some sort of bad logic in this, but I don't remember the name for it.


I am asked this question at least a dozen times every year: "Do Indians
              celebrate Thanksgiving?"

That's like asking: "Do Jewish people celebrate Oktoberfest?"
              The answer is: "Yes, Indians celebrate Thanksgiving."

I just emailed a Jewish friend to ask about her feelings on Oktoberfest,
              and she wrote, "Never thought about it. No way I'd buy
              a BMW, though."

The best thing about humans: Our ability to forgive. The second
              best thing: Grudges.

About 70% white meat and 30% dark, with canned cranberry sauce. And
              no, I don't care how good your homemade cranberry sauce is.


On a New Year's Eve when I was five or six, my mother, drunk
              for the very last time, punched an older Indian woman in the face.

My mother hates it when I write about this.

Once a friend told me, "I heard your mother singing in church today. It
              sounded like the river at night." A nine-year-old Indian boy said
              that about my mother! Where is that Indian boy? Did the poet
              in him survive?

I am vaguely Catholic, so for the rest of this poem I will fast.

My wife, two sons, and I celebrate the New Year by drinking root beer
              floats. I hereby establish the root beer float as the official Native
              American New Year's Eve drink. It should be the only drink
              allowed for Indians on New Year's.

Ain't gonna happen.

I want to combine Catholic Lent and the Jewish Day of Atonement,
              and begin each year with six weeks of apologies.


Dear Ants that I slaughtered with M-80 fireworks, I am sorry for my rage.

Dear Chickens-to-Be that I dropped into frying pans, I am sorry for my hunger.

Dear Family Outhouse, I am sorry that I failed to recognize your primitive beauty.

Dear Enemies, real and imagined, I am sorry for my grudges.

Dear Mother, For having written so many poems and stories about you,
              I am sorry.

Dear Universe, I am sorry for all the times that I believed myself to be
              the sun around which all of these planets whirl.

Copyright © 2014 Sherman Alexie All rights reserved
from What I've Stolen, What I've Earned
Hanging Loose Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Support Verse Daily
Sponsor Verse Daily!

Home    Archives   Web Weekly Features    About Verse Daily   FAQs  Submit to Verse Daily   Follow Verse Daily on Twitter

Copyright © 2002-2014 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved