Sherman Alexie Quotes

Quotes tagged as "sherman-alexie" Showing 1-16 of 16
Sherman Alexie
“...there are some children who aren't really children at all, they're just pillars of flame that burn everything they touch. And there are some children who are just pillars of ash, that fall apart when you touch them...”
Sherman Alexie, Smoke Signals: A Screenplay

Sherman Alexie
“All of the Indians must have tragic features: tragic noses, eyes, and arms.
Their hands and fingers must be tragic when they reach for tragic food.

The hero must be a half-breed, half white and half Indian, preferably
from a horse culture. He should often weep alone. That is mandatory.

If the hero is an Indian woman, she is beautiful. She must be slender
and in love with a white man. But if she loves an Indian man

then he must be a half-breed, preferably from a horse culture.
If the Indian woman loves a white man, then he has to be so white

that we can see the blue veins running through his skin like rivers.
When the Indian woman steps out of her dress, the white man gasps

at the endless beauty of her brown skin. She should be compared to nature:
brown hills, mountains, fertile valleys, dewy grass, wind, and clear water.

If she is compared to murky water, however, then she must have a secret.
Indians always have secrets, which are carefully and slowly revealed.

Yet Indian secrets can be disclosed suddenly, like a storm.
Indian men, of course, are storms. The should destroy the lives

of any white women who choose to love them. All white women love
Indian men. That is always the case. White women feign disgust

at the savage in blue jeans and T-shirt, but secretly lust after him.
White women dream about half-breed Indian men from horse cultures.

Indian men are horses, smelling wild and gamey. When the Indian man
unbuttons his pants, the white woman should think of topsoil.

There must be one murder, one suicide, one attempted rape.
Alcohol should be consumed. Cars must be driven at high speeds.

Indians must see visions. White people can have the same visions
if they are in love with Indians. If a white person loves an Indian

then the white person is Indian by proximity. White people must carry
an Indian deep inside themselves. Those interior Indians are half-breed

and obviously from horse cultures. If the interior Indian is male
then he must be a warrior, especially if he is inside a white man.

If the interior Indian is female, then she must be a healer, especially if she is inside
a white woman. Sometimes there are complications.

An Indian man can be hidden inside a white woman. An Indian woman
can be hidden inside a white man. In these rare instances,

everybody is a half-breed struggling to learn more about his or her horse culture.
There must be redemption, of course, and sins must be forgiven.

For this, we need children. A white child and an Indian child, gender
not important, should express deep affection in a childlike way.

In the Great American Indian novel, when it is finally written,
all of the white people will be Indians and all of the Indians will be ghosts.”
Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie
“1
Cain lifts Crow, that heavy black bird
and strikes down Abel.

Damn, says Crow, I guess
this is just the beginning.

2
The white man, disguised
as a falcon, swoops in
and yet again steals a salmon
from Crow's talons.

Damn, says Crow, if I could swim
I would have fled this country years ago.

3
The Crow God as depicted
in all of the reliable Crow bibles
looks exactly like a Crow.

Damn, says Crow, this makes it
so much easier to worship myself.

4
Among the ashes of Jericho,
Crow sacrifices his firstborn son.

Damn, says Crow, a million nests
are soaked with blood.

5
When Crows fight Crows
the sky fills with beaks and talons.

Damn, says Crow, it's raining feathers.

6
Crow flies around the reservation
and collects empty beer bottles

but they are so heavy
he can only carry one at a time.

So, one by one, he returns them
but gets only five cents a bottle.

Damn, says Crow, redemption
is not easy.

7
Crow rides a pale horse
into a crowded powwow
but none of the Indian panic.

Damn, says Crow, I guess
they already live near the end of the world.”
Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie
“And there are millions of teens who read because they are sad and lonely and enraged. They read becuase they live in an often-terrible world. They read becuause they believe, despire the callow protestations of certain adults, that books-especially the dark and dangerous ones-will save them.

As a child, I read because books-violent and not, blasphemous and not, terrifying and not-were the most loving and trustworthy things in my life. I read widely, and loved plenty of the classics so, yes, I recognized the domestic terrors faced by Lousia May Alcott's March sisters. But I became the kids chased by werewolves, vampires and evil clowns in Stephen King's books. I read books about monsters and monsterous things, often written with monstrous language, becuase they taught me how to battle the real monsters in my life.

And now i write books for teenagers because I vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen facing everyday and epic dangers. I don't write to protect them. It's far to late for that. I write to give them weapons-in the form of wors and ideas-that will help them fight their monsters. I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed.”
Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie
“The white woman across the aisle from me says 'Look,
look at all the history, that house
on the hill there is over two hundred years old, '
as she points out the window past me

into what she has been taught. I have learned
little more about American history during my few days
back East than what I expected and far less
of what we should all know of the tribal stories

whose architecture is 15,000 years older
than the corners of the house that sits
museumed on the hill. 'Walden Pond, '
the woman on the train asks, 'Did you see Walden Pond? '

and I don't have a cruel enough heart to break
her own by telling her there are five Walden Ponds
on my little reservation out West
and at least a hundred more surrounding Spokane,

the city I pretended to call my home. 'Listen, '
I could have told her. 'I don't give a shit
about Walden. I know the Indians were living stories
around that pond before Walden's grandparents were born

and before his grandparents' grandparents were born.
I'm tired of hearing about Don-fucking-Henley saving it, too,
because that's redundant. If Don Henley's brothers and sisters
and mothers and father hadn't come here in the first place

then nothing would need to be saved.'
But I didn't say a word to the woman about Walden
Pond because she smiled so much and seemed delighted
that I thought to bring her an orange juice

back from the food car. I respect elders
of every color. All I really did was eat
my tasteless sandwich, drink my Diet Pepsi
and nod my head whenever the woman pointed out

another little piece of her country's history
while I, as all Indians have done
since this war began, made plans
for what I would do and say the next time

somebody from the enemy thought I was one of their own.”
Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie
“Last night I missed two free throws which would have won the game against the best team in the state. The farm town high school I play for is nicknamed the "Indians," and I'm probably the only actual Indian ever to play for a team with such a mascot.

This morning I pick up the sports page and read the headline: INDIANS LOSE AGAIN.

Go ahead and tell me none of this is supposed to hurt me very much.”
Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Sherman Alexie
“I'm a freak with power.”
Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie
“So Lightning says to Mud,
“What would happen if I struck your blood?”
And Mud says, “Brother,
It would hurt,
And make me the mother
Of every living thing.
But, Fire Boy, you ain’t lifting my grass skirt
Until you burn me a ring.”
Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie
“Sure, we thought the acres
That we tilled were sacred,

But how could we have known
That wheat can haunt like ghosts”
Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie
“Walk the midway and hear the carnival barker.
Come see the freak named after his deceased father.

Come see the prince who wants to abdicate his throne.
Come see the son whose name is carved on a gravestone.”
Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie
“In all those stories, I could fly.”
Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie
“If you care about something enough, its going to make you cry.”
Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie
“The contemporary motto for the mullet-wearer is "business in front, party in the back" but the Indian mullet warrior motto was "I don't want my hair to get in my eyes as I'm kicking your ass.”
Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Sherman Alexie
“Can a book rightfully be called a book if it never gets read? If a tree falls in a forest and gets pulped to make paper for a book that never gets read, but there's nobody to read it, does it make a sound?”
Sherman Alexie, Ten Little Indians

Sherman Alexie
“Sharon was Apache, and I was Spokane, but we practiced our tribal religions like we practiced Catholicism: We loved all of the ceremonies but thought they were pitiful cries to a disinterested god.”
Sherman Alexie, Ten Little Indians

Sherman Alexie
“Can a book rightfully be called a book if it never gets read? If a tree falls in a forest and gets pulped to make paper for a book that never gets read, but there's nobody there to read it, does it make a sound?”
Sherman Alexie, Ten Little Indians