This tattoo belongs to Lena, who also has a coffee spoon tattoo from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:
I’ve always been drawn to Sherman Alexie’s prose, and after reading “Jesus Christ’s Half-brother is Alive and Well on the Spokane Indian Reservation” (from The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven), one line just resonated with me over and over. I love both the strength of women and music (the optical illusion is both a woman’s silhouette, and a musician playing a saxophone), but even more so, I love the words that flow around it. Being half white and half Navajo, I’ve always felt as though I was walking a fine line; in Arizona, I was too white to be Indian, and in Pennsylvania, I was too Indian to be white. I’ve existed in a liminal space for so long, that I often feel like an illusion myself, and see this tattoo as embracing the in betweens that make us individual, while I also acknowledge that privilege does exist, and half the time I am permitted that luxury.
Been sober so long it’s like a dream but I feel better somehow and Auntie was so proud of me she took James and me into the city for James’s checkup and James still wasn’t talking but Auntie and James and I ate a great lunch at Woolworth’s before we headed back to the reservation. I got to drive and Auntie’s uranium money Cadillac is a hell of a car and it was raining a little and hot so there were rainbows rainbows rain, bows and the pine trees looked like wise men with wet beards or at least I thought they did. That’s how I do this life sometimes by making the ordinary just like magic and just like a card trick and just like a mirror and just like the disappearing. Every Indian learns how to be a magician and learns how to misdirect attention and the dark hand is always quicker than the white eye and no matter how close you get to my heart you will never find out my secrets and I’ll never tell you and I’ll never show you the same trick twice.
I’m traveling heavy with illusions.
- “Jesus Christ’s Half-brother is Alive and Well on the Spokane Indian Reservation” (from The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven) by Sherman Alexie