Layli Long Soldier

WHEREAS a friend

WHEREAS a friend senses what she calls cultural emptiness in a poet’s work and after a reading she feels bad for feeling bad for the poet she admits. I want to respond the same could be said for my work some sticky current of Indian emptiness I feel it not just in my poems but when I’m on drives, in conversations, or as I lie down to sleep but since this dialogue is about writing I want to be correct with my languageness. In a note following the entry for Indian the Oxford dictionary warns: Do not use Indian or Red Indian to talk about American native peoples, as these terms are now outdated; use American Indian instead. So I explain perhaps the same could be said for my work some burden of American Indian emptiness in my poems how American Indian emptiness surfaces not just in writing but often on drives, in conversations, or when I lie down to sleep. But the term American Indian parts our conversation like a hollow bloated boat that is not ours that neither my friend nor I want to board knowing it will never take us anywhere but to rot and if the language of race is ever truly attached to emptiness whatever it is I feel now has me in the hull, head knees feet curled, I dare say, to fetal position—but better stated as the form I resort to inside the jaws of a reference;