. . . . . . .
Ah-hem. Where to begin?
I sing myself electronic.
You know why Sitting Bull was a star? It was because he had a
good public relations man.
Reality is a rubber band you can pull in any direction.
I clinched my fists and scream. “Shut up, shut up, shut up. I want
you to shut up and go away. What do you want? Who sent you?”
A blonde flight attendant walks past us, and we both smile at
her as if nothing is wrong. He looks away, rueful and uneasy. He
nervously bites a loose fingernail. Finally, he pulls his wide lips
together, until his mouth resembles an egg. “You should have
remembered that for every action there is a reaction. I don’t know
how much that vulgar display of alchemy cost you last night when
you were in the swimming pool. But I think you lost Grandmother’s
respect. She said you always act like ‘Puss ‘n Boots’.”
I wrote the above lines in a 1994 story, “The Chaos of Angels,” homage to Walt Whitman, including its masculine tone and overt haughtiness.
My narrator is a bullfrog, “Bull.” He’s seated next to a Choctaw businesswoman on a flight to Dallas. Bull blathers about everything he sees, much like Whitman in “Song of Myself”: “squaw,” “darkey,” “negro,” “red girl,” are no exceptions. Bull says:
Some of us lived like crayfish.
Some of us lived like turtles.
Some of us lived like coiled snakes end to end.
Some of us lived like people.
“The Chaos of Angels,” referenced here, originally appeared in Callaloo, Volume 17, #1 Native Heritage Issue, Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. It later appeared in Evidence of Red from Salt Publishing (UK, 2005).