Recipe for a Reztini
Two parts cheap gin or vodka
One part of your youth
Garnish with a strip of dried salmon or jerky
Shake it in the backseat of a Pontiac
doing 70 mph on Dead Man’s Curve
Jedi Mind Trick
DUKE SKYTHUNDER TRIES
A JEDI MIND TRICK ON
This is not the land you were looking for.
Thomas Two Fists
whittled a guitar from a tree
that had fallen during a storm
and killed a shaman. He carved
the tuning pegs from the bones
of a white buffalo.
he used the long gray hair of
old Indian mothers who had lost
their children and grandchildren
to alcohol and drunk driving.
Two Fists travelled from
reservation to reservation
and powwow to powwow
singing the blues.
Wherever he went,
Indians wrapped themselves in old blankets,
dreamed of forgotten homes and wept
dreamed of forgotten homes and wept.
Said the shaman to the young man:
See that soaring eagle?
Your spirit is like that eagle,
the body its shackle.
Pitiable, earth-bound, broken-winged creature!
Yaak c’ededliinen ts’en ciił:
sgulak t’ak ‘aen?
Nuh enk’aaze’ lae sgulak,
naaytah enk’aaze’ tl’uu.
Tege, nen’-ut’aa kunelyaesi, tlok’- ts’enla’ kohnesi!
Raven and the Butterfly
Raven watched a caterpillar crawling on a branch.
It made a cocoon and transformed into a beautiful butterfly.
Raven was jealous for six months.
Saghani Ggaay ‘Eł Lahys’ibaay
Saghani Ggaay gguux dzuuts’i ‘aen uus zucene’.
Gguux dzuuts’i ggux hwnax tsii ‘eł zdlaen kasuundze’ lahts’ibaay.
Saghani Ggaay lae ts’ae gistaani na’aay.
A man wanted to control his anger,
so frightful even grizzly bears feared him.
A shaman told him to insult and beat a log
with a stick until he was exhausted.
When the weary man returned and asked,
“What lesson have I learned?” the shaman replied,
“Be like the log.”
(Literally “The man who gets angry”)
tsaani lii koht’aene.
C’ededliinen koht’aene yaa nitezet ‘eł tson decen
kae sen xał k’e tsaa.
Koht’aene na’idyaa ‘eł yaa
“Yidi uzadalts’et?” c’ededliinen yaa,
John Smelcer is the author of a dozen books of poetry, including Songs From an Outcast, Tracks, and Raven Speaks. His short story collection, Alaskan, edited in part by J.D. Salinger, received a gold medal in the 2011 eLit Book Awards as the best short story collection in the nation. His novel, The Trap, received the James Jones Prize for a First Novel and was named a Notable Book by the New York Public Library and the American Library Association. His stories, poems, interviews and essays appear in over 400 periodicals. Learn more about the author at his website.
See John Smelcer’s poems, published in Asymptote’s January 2012 issue, here.