Issue 20 – Spring 2011 – Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie


Love Sonnet, Constructed By Wikipedia

1. Love is a universal construct related to affinity.
2. Affinity, in etymology, is the opposite of infinity.
3. Love and ego are incompatible.
4. A group of female college students smelled T-shirts that had been worn by male students for two nights, without deodorant, cologne, or scented soaps. Overwhelmingly, the women preferred the odors of men with dissimilar genomes.
5. The human tongue can distinguish only among five distinct qualities of taste, while the nose can distinguish among hundreds of substances, even in minute quantities.
6. Most love songs are addressed directly to the person being admired. Changes in style mean that few songs survive more than fifty years.
7. Vocalization and percussion are the most important aspects of traditional Native American music. Vocalization takes many forms, ranging from solo and choral song to responsorial, unison and multipart singing. Percussion, especially drums and rattles, are common accompaniment to keep the rhythm steady for the singers.
8. If a snake’s rattle absorbs enough moisture in wet weather, it will not make noise. Iron rain falls on some planets. There are many factors that go into how long a human can survive without water and the will to do so is one of them. The inner earth may hold more water-unattainable as of yet-than the seas.
9. The Petrarchian sonnet is a verse form that typically refers to the concept of unattainable love.
10. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” is a song written and recorded by American country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams in 1949. With evocative lyrics, such as the opening lines “Hear that lonesome whip-poor-will/He sounds too blue to cry,” the song has been covered by Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Little Richard, Dolly Parton, and Elvis Presley, among many others.

11. Intimacy requires an ability to be both separate and together participants in an intimate relationship. Murray Bowen called this “self-differentiation.” It results in a connection in which there is emotional range involving both robust conflict, and intense loyalty.

12. The Medal of Honor is bestowed by the United States Congress on members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the Unites States.” Due to the nature of its criteria, it is often awarded posthumously (more than half have been since 1941).
13. In 2006, the latest year studied, Native American men were dying at the highest rate of all people. 
14. “Lovers ever run before the clock.”


The Cutting Room Floor

I made a movie about a poet,
But was foolish enough to cut
The scene where he, the poet,
Explained that his life was measured
By counting: letters in a word,
Words in a line, Lines in a stanza,
Stanzas in a poem. As he, the poet,
Spoke of this, we saw, in close-up,
One finger counting and tapping
His other fingers. Why did I cut
This lovely little scene? I don’t know!
But I regret my editorial decision,

And wish that I could remake the movie,
Include the missing moment, and screen it
At the local multiplex. But I can’t do it,
Can I? Can one put the movie back

On the easel and repaint it? 
Would that taint the original? I guess
All I can do is turn this poem
Into the inevitable sequel.


They are tearing down one exit

To replace it with another.

In the meantime, there will be

No exiting or entering.

I suppose this could take years.

I’ll mark the time

By scattering pine seeds

Between the concrete plates.

Then it will be a race

Between the jackhammers

And the trees.



Sherman Alexie is the author of, most recently, Face, poetry, from Hanging Loose Press, and War Dances, poems and stories, from Grove Press. He lives with his family in Seattle.