Natalie Diaz and Rigoberto González
Posted in 2014-2015 Readings and Talks
November 18, 2014
Seminar 5:30 PM | Lannan Center (New North 408)
Reading 8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge
Abecedarian Requiring Further Examination of Anglikan Seraphym Subjugation of a Wild Indian Rezervation
Angels don’t come to the reservation.
Bats, maybe, or owls, boxy mottled things.
Coyotes, too. They all mean the same thing—
death. And death
eats angels, I guess, because I haven’t seen an angel
fly through this valley ever.
Gabriel? Never heard of him. Know a guy named Gabe though—
he came through here one powwow and stayed, typical
Indian. Sure he had wings,
jailbird that he was. He flies around in stolen cars. Wherever he stops,
kids grow like gourds from women’s bellies.
Like I said, no Indian I’ve ever heard of has ever been or seen an angel.
Maybe in a Christmas pageant or something—
Nazarene church holds one every December,
organized by Pastor John’s wife. It’s no wonder
Pastor John’s son is the angel—everyone knows angels are white.
Quit bothering with angels, I say. They’re no good for Indians.
Remember what happened last time
some white god came floating across the ocean?
Truth is, there may be angels, but if there are angels
up there, living on clouds or sitting on thrones across the sea wearing
velvet robes and golden rings, drinking whiskey from silver cups,
we’re better off if they stay rich and fat and ugly and
’xactly where they are—in their own distant heavens.
You better hope you never see angels on the rez. If you do, they’ll be marching you off to
Zion or Oklahoma, or some other hell they’ve mapped out for us.
From When My Brother Was an Aztec (Copper Canyon Press, 2012)
Read more about Natalie Diaz
— Rigoberto González
Expletive, flower: spine supple as a stem, nose crushed into the blanched
corolla, profile flat as a postcard, cicada eye. Pubic hair, roots: lady,
you will always know how to squat. The bus revs its rattling engine
as it waits among the rows of her corneas. Perhaps prescience
is a female trait. Wear these other costumes next: gypsy, medium, witch.
Intuition. In family myths, your grandmother knew before marriage
that her husband would outlive her by twenty-four years. Vision in fever
during adolescent menstruation. Not hallucination, not dream as she
sat on a cyan grave, watching her children wail. She knew they were heirs
by the wilted lilies on their clothes. She knew she was dead by the smell
of trapped alcohol and salt. All corpses wiped cleaned that way. Her solace
was she’d never breast-feed any daughters. But deep inside the echoes
of the future fetus kicking, she sensed one of her sons would chromosome
a girl: O ticking talisman, O exalted seer of the sorrows yet to come.