When My Brother Was an Aztec
The year we moved off / the reservation /...more
a / white / boy up the street gave me a green trash bag
fat with corduroys, bright collared shirts
& a two-piece / Tonto / costume
turquoise thunderbird on the chest\
shirt & pants
Poetry as turgid with metaphors, as disturbing, raw, and, a veces, humorous and sly and naughty doesn't happen often, but in this collection WHEN MY BROTHER WAS AN AZTEC Natalie Diaz manages to travel this bumpy terrain with such a sure hand that the result is staggering. Perhaps a part of the intensity of her writing is that as a woman born and raised on an Indian Reservation - and that, without parody intended, is why she writes like a necromancer, an augurer, a sorceress ...more
I didn’t so much like the ones about the eponymous brother and his meth habit. Which is maybe because some drug usage is sort of squicky to me, but also, I ...more
My brother’s shadow flutters from his shoulders, a magician’s cape.
My personal charlatan glittering in woofle dust and loaded
with gimmicks and gaffs.
A train of dirty cabooses, of once-beautiful girls,
follows my magus man like a chewed tail
helping him perform his tricks.
He calls them his Beloveds, his Sim Sala Bimbos, juggles them,
shoves them into pipes packed hot hard as cannons and Wham Bam
Ala-Kazam! whirls them to smoke.
Sometimes he vanishes their teeth then points his broke ...more
Fierce and fragile is the world created in Natalie Diaz's debut collection. The poems chronicles the challenges, heartbreak, hunger(s) and means of survival growing up on the reservation. Varied in form (ballads, pantoum, abecedarian...) and consistently strong, these poems explore hunger and history, weakness and courage, in both ...more
"A lot of the images that I’ve grown up with, that’s kind of how I filter the world, through those images, and images carry meaning for me. A lot of the words I use – that’s the way we talk here [Fort Mohave Indian Reservation], that’s the way I’ve learned to express myself or at lest to try to express myself.”
Hearing these words from Natalie Diaz, author of When My Brother Was an Aztec, in an interview on public radio, immediately caught ...more
Every single poem in here is moving and thought-provoking and startling. The whole thing is incredible, I'm so glad I stumbled onto this. I hope for more solo poetry books from the author someday soon...like a lot more.
The opening poem that gives the title of the collection is describing this brother as a pure Aztec god, Huitzilopochtli, performing Aztec human sacrifice, morning after morning, on his own parents, ripping their hearts out of their chests over and over again. The poem also introduc ...more
Natalie Diaz’s When My Brother Was an Aztec is a poignant, well-crafted exploration of addiction, family, and Native American existence the United States. Moving between verse and prose poetry, Diaz draws us into what life is like for the family of an addict; how the lines between hate and love are muddied, both eventually giving way to exhaustion. This central theme is echoed in the collection’s title, which also serves as the title of the first poem in the collection, “When My Brother was an A