Sherman Alexies poems are based around his life as it was and is rather than what he wishes it was or could have been. His poems release the truth of his feelings and life, on an Indian reservation, rather than hiding it under a blanket of shame. Identity crisis, poverty, hunger, alcoholism, sexual frustration; all of these are issues which plague Alexie in his childhood and early adulthood. Issues which are reflected in his novel Reservation Blues.
""I wonder what it's like to be a half-breed kid? How do you think it feels to have a white mom or dad? It must be weird"" (Reservation Blues, 82). One of the major issues that seem to come into many Indians" lives is identity. One reason is because their heritage has become very mixed. Indian men and women have children with white men and women, the children grow up on the reservation and question who they are and where they belong. Young Indians wanting to be a part of the world outside of the reservation, the ultimate goal being to move away and make a lot of money.
An excerpt from, "The Mice War" (One Stick Song, 60).
O, Lord, this is how I remember my war with the mice.
Who, in the beginning and in the end, only wanted to be mice,.
While we were two Indian boys, my cousin and I.
Who, in out beginning, in our end, wanted to flee the reservation.
Money may be the root of all evil but it can still fill an empty stomach. Poverty and hunger come hand in hand. These problems are not uncommon on an Indian reservation, and sadly occur to most of the families.
The Hunger Psalm, 1973 (Alexie, One Stick Song, 59).
After the Indian money was gone.
And we had eaten the last of the food.
Our mother and father drove into the city.
And pawned their wedding rings.
Praise, praise, praise the left hand.
In Reservation Blues, hunger is illustrated many times in the lives of the main characters: Thomas, Junior, Victor, Chess and Checkers. " those who dreamed in childhood of fishing for salmon.