This Is About the Stories, 2014

*Update– We have a nice write up here by David Strand of Vanguard Seattle 

Here are some photos of our process in creating This Is About the Stories inspired by Sherman Alexie’s poem Influences. 

For more on the process please join us:

6pm Thursday, January 29th
at Seattle Public Library’s Central location
for an artist talk and poetry reading by the poets.
Sherman Alexie, Lia Hall, Cedar Mannan, Daemond Arrindell, Maura Donegan, Jeannine Hall Gailey, and Carol Milne

Cedar Mannan & Lia Hall
“This Is About the Stories”, 2014
Neon, animating transformers and mixed media
48″ x 42″ x 132″


We waited in the car

outside the bar

my sisters and I

“for just a couple drinks”

as we had heard it

so many times before

as Ramona said

like all Indian kids

have heard


from their parents, disappeared into the smoke and laughter of a reservation tavern, emerging every half-hour with Pepsi, potato chips, and more promises. And, like all Indians have learned, we never did trust those promises. We knew to believe something when it happened, learned to trust the source of a river and never its mouth. But this is not about sadness. This is about the stories


beneath the sleeping bags

between starts

to warm up the car

because my parents trusted me

with the keys.

This is about the stories

I told my sisters

to fill those long hours, waiting outside the bar, waiting for my mother, my father to knock on the window, asking Are you warm enough? Are you doing all right? We’ll be out soon, okay? Sometimes, we refused to open the locked doors for our parents, left them to gesture wildly and make all of us laugh because there was nothing else left to do. But this is not about sadness. This is about the stories

I created

how I built

landscapes and imaginary saviors.

Once, I dreamed a redheaded woman,

gave her name and weight

and told my sisters

she would rescue us

from our own love

for this mother and father who staggered from the bar always five minutes before closing, so they could tell us later At least we left before last call. But we did love them, held tightly to their alcoholic necks and arms as we drove back home, stole the six-pack they bought for the road and threw it out the window, counted mile markers and coyotes standing on the edge of the road. But this is not about sadness. This is about the stories, those rough drafts

that thundered the walls

of the HUD house

as my sisters and I lay awake

after we finally arrived home

and listened

to my mother and father dream

breathe deep

in their sleep, snore

like what you might want me to call drums

but in the reservation dark

it meant we were all alive

and that was enough.

One thought on “This Is About the Stories, 2014

  1. Pingback: City Arts Magazine June Issue | NOBLE NEON

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