Rough Days in Chain Saw History…


I recently read Sherman Alexie’s short story, “War Dances,” which included some of the most humorous material I’ve read so far this year. Alexie, a Spokane Indian, writes a lot about his alcoholic father and his foibles. He wrote a short poem about one incident:

“When I was nine, my father sliced his knee
With a chain saw. But he let himself bleed
And finished cutting down one more tree
Before his boss drove him to EMERGENCY

Late that night, stoned on morphine and beer,
My father needed my help to steer
His pickup into the woods. “Watch for deer,”
My father said. “Those things just appear

Like magic. “It was an Indian summer
And we drove through warm rain and thunder,
Until we found that chain saw, lying under
the fallen pine. Then I watched, with wonder,

As my father, shotgun-rich and impulse-poor,
Blasted that chain saw dead. “what was that for?”
I asked. “Son, my father said, “here’s the score.
Once a thing tastes blood, it will come for more.”


Alexie goes on to explain the many embellishments he made to the actual story to satisfy the demands of his poem, but it is a funny story and good poem nonetheless. It reminded me of a somewhat similar “incident” during a childhood visit to my Granddad’s property in West Virginia… Read the rest of this entry »