Saturday Poem

Powwow Ghazal

Can you hear the drums? Can you hear the drums?
Tonight, the reservation is aflame with drums.

Who's that drum group? They're good, but they're kids.
They have no idea how their lives will change with drums.

And what about those drummers? O, they're old school.
They're everybody's elders. They've gone gray with drums.

O, listen to that singer! He's equal parts joy and hurt.
His hands and vocal cords are bloodstained with drums.

Damn, look at that fancy dancer spin in circles.
She's weeping! The girl is going insane with drums.

Who's the head man dancer? He's been sober for ten years.
Now he only gets drunk, stoned, and dazed with drums.

Who's the head woman dancer? That's a grandmother.
She speaks in sermons. She offers us grace with drums.

That jingle dancer, ah, she's a reservation beauty.
Talk to her, cousin, because you can get laid with drums.

That nostalgic Indian is wearing blue suede shoes.
He's the Indian Elvis, mixing his pomade with drums.

Hey, look at that tribal cop with a shiny badge and gun.
She wants to solve a crime. She's Sam Spade with drums.

But don't forget that powwows can be dangerous too.
You better duck or get punched in the face with drums.

Do you have a question? It can be answered here.
There is nothing that can't be explained with drums.

No, I'm lying. Indians are glorious deceivers.
We love to obscure, obfuscate, and exaggerate with drums.

During powwow, even God wants to sing and dance.
So God makes thunder, lightning, and rain with drums.

Nobody has gone to bed yet. We've been awake for days.
I sometimes think that every Indian is made with drums.

by Sherman Alexie
from Blackbird; Vol.8 No.2; Fall 2009

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email