Friday, August 19, 2011

Waxing Poetic, the Second: I Could Totally Be His Groupie, or In Love with People I've Never Met


I stumbled across this poem while searching something else this morning, and of course, I fell in love with it as I do all of Alexie's work. Right now I'm in the middle of rereading the Vampire Chronicles again, but I think I may be working my way through all of Alexie's books again after this. I swear I could just fall into his books and poetry and live there under his ash-blasted skies and strange sun. I've told Anna before that if he ever showed up at our front door, I would not be held responsible for my actions. Of course, all he would have to do is read me his poetry all night...





Go, Ghost, Go by Sherman Alexie

At this university upon a hill,

I meet a tenured professor

Who's strangely thrilled

To list all of the oppressors --

Past, present, and future -- who have killed.

Are killing, and will kill the indigenous.

O, he names the standard suspects --

Rich, white, and unjust --

And I, a red man, think he's correct,

But why does he have to be so humorless?

And how can he, a white man, fondly speak

Of the Ghost Dance, the strange and cruel

Ceremony

That, if performed well, would have doomed

All white men to hell, destroyed their colonies,

And brought back every dead Indian to life?

The professor says, "Brown people

From all brown tribes

Will burn skyscrapers and steeples.

They'll speak Spanish and carry guns and knives.

Sherman, can't you see that immigration

Is the new and improved Ghost Dance?"

All I can do is laugh and laugh

And say, "Damn, you've got some imagination.

You should write a screenplay about this shit --

About some fictional city,

Grown fat and pale and pretty,

That's destroyed by a Chicano apocalypse."

The professor doesn't speak. He shakes his head

And assaults me with his pity.

I wonder how he can believe

In a ceremony that requires his death.

I think that he thinks he's the new Jesus.

He's eager to get on that cross

And pay the ultimate cost

Because he's addicted to the indigenous.




2 comments:

Anna Schubarth said...

~swoon~

obsessive compulsive dawn said...

i know, right? sherman alexie is just, well, ~swoon~ i could read him forever! i just wish he'd come to tallahassee...