These letters I print across the page, the scratches and scrawls you now focus upon, trailing off across the white surface, are hardly different from the footprints of prey left in the snow. We read these traces with organs honed over millennia by our tribal ancestors, moving instinctively from one track to the next, picking up the trail afresh whenever it leaves off, hunting the meaning…
lose what we never had.
At the farm town junior high, in the boys’ bathroom, I could hear voices from the girls’ bathroom, nervous whispers of anorexia and bulimia. I could hear the white girls’ forced vomiting, a sound so familiar and natural to me after years of listening to my father’s hangovers.
“Give me your lunch if you’re just going to throw it up,” I said to one of the girls once.
I sat back and watched them grow skinny from self pity.
Back on the reservation, my mother stood in line to get us commodities. We carried them home, happy to have food, and opened the canned beef that even the dogs wouldn’t eat.
But we ate it day after day and grew skinny from self-pity.
There is more than one way to starve.
What Gives Us Our Names - Alvin Pang
Remarkably simple book with extremely complex ideas.
This is the only fear I have left.
“When the heart is not enough it finds another room. Water does this. Traffic slows for rain. Let the tangled roots come and teach you sprawl, moral substitution, efficiency: every weed leans towards the ungraspable. In time fingers write their own music whether or not they are slender. Breathe. Make your own gravity, pull down sunlight. It takes longer than years to cross the door.”
— Other Things and Other Poems
(new and selected poems, with Croatian translation)
by Alvin Pang
Alvin Pang— lovely poet, lovely human being. If you don’t have any of his work in your library, rectify immediately. That is all.
I need to read him.