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I have Bipolar 1 with high manias. I’m not using bipolar as an excuse...just as an explanation. I actually have done a few things on your list - hitchhiking, snorting cocaine and public nudity. I have abused the ones who love me most...and as I’m very intent not to abuse them again...I’m afraid I will. I haven’t been manic for 19 years and I really want (and work towards) not experiencing all that destruction again in my lifetime.

But I really agree with you about black licorice.

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Thank you, Ree.

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Powerful final two lines; gonna be chewing for a bit longer...I would pay a gazillion centavos to go snorkeling again. My ex aerial dancer wife's three auto immunities keep us from Mother Ocean.

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Thank you!

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Feb 6, 2023Liked by Sherman Alexie

Ditto! I love the turn the poem takes after the list.... only thing I might do is a hot air balloon , except I have become afraid of heights. Contradictions.

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No balloons for me!

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Jan 30, 2023Liked by Sherman Alexie

Oh no, it makes me so sad that you will never get the joy of eating black licorice. If I ever meet you in person, I will help you right that wrong.

Seriously now: what a great poem. That list is so well constructed. It meanders like life does. Then halfway through, the poem shapeshifts into something very compelling and thought-inspiring. It forces to reflect on oneself. Great job.

And then that last stanza. It's so good. The words, the messaging, the imagery. Wisdom shut and eyes opened. That is so extremely well found and written. I'm in awe.

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Thank you, Arjan. To be fully accurate, I have tasted black licorice once. That was enough!

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Jan 30, 2023Liked by Sherman Alexie

Oh, how sad...

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Yes, I have a few friends who are black licorice acolytes and they also feel sad for me!

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Jan 30, 2023Liked by Sherman Alexie

Smart people, these friends.

But really very serious: I am still awestruck by that last stanza. It has rocketed into my box of favorite poetry (parts).

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Thank you so much. As I noted elsewhere in these comments, it was quite amazing to see how much happened when I rewrote "shut wisdom" into "wisdom shut."

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Jan 30, 2023Liked by Sherman Alexie

The concept is blowing my mind. It certainly feels as if people act too much with their wisdom shut. As a non-native english speaker, I am not completely sure the difference affects me. But the rhythm is indeed different. Thank you for bringing this beautiful poetry to us.

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Jan 29, 2023Liked by Sherman Alexie

What I like about this poem is your own self-knowledge. I think I remember something you said early in your career that unlike many assumptions held about native Americans you don't have any special relationship to Nature or Wilderness - you like cities. Correct me if I'm wrong - or maybe you've changed your mind about that.

One of my favorite authors of all time is David James Duncan, who oozes rapture with the natural world. Our world needs both of you - authors who are true to themselves, not trend-setting.

Or -to quote Bob Dylan's song, "Forever Young", which is much on my mind these days: "May you have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift"

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David is a longtime friend. And, yes, we reverse the expected wilderness roles of Indian and white dude.

I am still very urban! But there is wilderness here, as well. I found a dead bee on the sidewalk a few days. Why did it come out of hibernation to die alone? To see the wilderness in the city, you need a close-up lens.

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Jan 28, 2023Liked by Sherman Alexie

I suggest you snorkel or learn to deep dive as you will witness a marvelous underwater cosmos.

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I see the videos of snorkeling and diving and they're gorgeous. The in-person experience must be miraculous. But I'm still not going to do it. I'll stick with the videos!

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Jan 28, 2023Liked by Sherman Alexie

Awesome!! I knew a professor who assigned writing our own "I am . . ." poem. I like your style. And, a huge ewww to black licorice. As for climbing ice falls, hmm, I have done this - only for a few years until I saw a major fall of a fellow climber. Left my equipment at the scene. Keep on writing, I am always touched by it. A repressed, Indian Catholic?? Hmmm. I can't comprehend Indian or Repressed Indian but I can, as most, a repressed Catholic. How about a longtime lapsed Catholic atheist?

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I think that writer knew way too many crazy Indians and I just appeared repressed in comparison.

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Jan 28, 2023·edited Jan 28, 2023Liked by Sherman Alexie

The sound of your cadence or rythym voice oddly makes me feel safe not sure why it’s so familiar but your writing made me cry today - was so nostalgic and emotional - so thanks for producing tears & safety

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Thank you, Mae.

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Jan 27, 2023Liked by Sherman Alexie

Those bulls you won’t run with? They gored me at the end. This poem took my breath away. So good.

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Thank you, Leigh!

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Jan 27, 2023Liked by Sherman Alexie

I have to agree with the vast majority of your list. Though snorkeling is an amazing experience, the old women green sea turtle that swam directly below me will stay with me for as long as I have memory. And I would love to be able to say I won't disappoint, dismay, or dispirit those I love and that love me. But I know it will happen. Black licorice???

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I only learned to swim a few years ago. And by "swim" I mean "not immediately drowning."

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Snorkeling in warm saltwater is not swimming, it is floating. It’s probably the closest thing to being in the womb.

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Jan 27, 2023Liked by Sherman Alexie

C'mon, Sherman, loosen up. Now I have to cross Sammy Davis, Jr. off my bucket list. At least you left off Disneyland.

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Ha!

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Jan 27, 2023Liked by Sherman Alexie

In the midst of daring things....black licorice!!! 😆

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Hahaha!

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Way cool!

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How absolutely BEAUTIFUL. And touching, hitting several sensitive nerves. I'm with you all the way from skydiving to poaching rhinos, to public nudity. Black licorice, though? You haven't truly lived until you tried it. And threw up. And tried it again.

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Jan 27, 2023Liked by Sherman Alexie

I love how you still surprise us when your writing does a sharp turn into deeper, darker truths.

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Thank you, Gael!

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Good one! Love where you went with your non-bucket list.

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Non-bucket!

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