The Business of Fancydancing (2002)
Seymour Polatkin: I deserved a better life than I was born into. But I made it better with nobody's help, including shit from you. And I got no help from any of these goddamn Indians here. I had to do it myself.
Aristotle Joseph: You write about these goddamn Indians! Telling me you did it yourself! These Indians that you write about, they're helping you every day, each and every one of them; every house, every story, every poem. They're helping you. Telling me you had nobody. We've been helping you since you were born.
The Interviewer: Hello, Seymour Polatkin? Polatkin. That's a very interesting name, where does it come from?
Seymour Polatkin: It's Russian.
The Interviewer: Yes, I know that, where does it really come from?
Seymour Polatkin: Well, I'd tell you but I don't want to get into a long and detailed discussion about colonialism and the missionary position.
The Interviewer: That's amusing.
Steven: It's not for me.
Seymour Polatkin: How do you know that?
Steven: Because white people don't call each other at three in the morning.
Seymour Polatkin: Only a white person would say something like that.
Steven: Funny how that works, isn't it? You being a racist jerk and yet still finding the need to get me naked.
Seymour Polatkin: I just pretend you're Custer.
Seymour Polatkin: I'm Seymour Polatkin. I'm the President of the Native American Student Alliance. Well, white people call us an alliance but I like to think of us as more of an army.
Agnes Roth: Well, I'm also Jewish.
Seymour Polatkin: Jewish and Indian? Damn, so you got like tribal numbers tattooed on one arm and death camp numbers on the other?
Agnes Roth: That's not funny!
Seymour Polatkin: No but it's ironic.
Seymour Polatkin: I told my grandma, 'I'm, I'm two-spirited, I'm, I'm gay.' And she went, 'Ohhh, I had a gay chicken once, you know?' And I said, 'Really?' She said, 'Yeah, I had a gay chicken once. I bought this new rooster for my hens. It was real beautiful, I shoulda know it was gonna be trouble, it was too pretty. It had white feathers with gold tips and I put it in with my hens. And it strutted around, and it went over to the hens, then it just sat down beside them. Wouldn't mount them. So then I thought, my chicken, it's gay. So, I went and got a new rooster and I put that new rooster in with the old rooster and whatya know that old rooster goes up to the new rooster, wiggles its tale in front of it and squats on the ground. So, then I knew I had a gay rooster. So I ate it.' That was my grandmother's way of saying that chicken is still just a chicken. And that it didn't matter that I was gay or not.
Seymour Polatkin: Learn to trust the source of a river and never its mouth.
Seymour Polatkin: But we did love them. Held tightly to their alcoholic necks and arms as we drove back home. Stole the 6-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 sister and I lay awake after we finally arrived home and listened to my mother and father dream. Breathe deep in their sleep and snore like what you might want me to call drums. But in the reservation dark, it meant that we were all alive and that was enough.
Aristotle Joseph: Man, you like it out here don't you? Playing Indian, putting on the beads and feathers for all these white people. Out here you're their little public relations warrior. You're a super Indian. You're the expert and the authority. But at home man, you're just little Indian who cries too much.
White Motorist: ...You think, maybe you guys could help with a ride or something? I think it ran out of gas.
Mouse: Hey Ari, I think this guy thinks we're Sacagawea.
Seymour Polatkin: God, how did we make frybread sacred? This stuff is so bad for us. Indians are too fat, you know?
Agnes Roth: Yeah but it's so good.
Seymour Polatkin: I don't know what that means at all so don't ask me. I'm so full of baloney. I recognize you. You're the one who sends me all those dirty pictures of yourself. I like the little Red Riding Hood outfit the best. How long have you been married? Oh yeah? Does she know you hang out with gay poets? I know, that land bridge thing. Yup, I get mistaken for Asian all the time. I cut my braids off when my parents died. That's why I don't have long hair.
[to fans at a book signing]
Seymour Polatkin: If we ever need money we can get jobs hanging off rear view mirrors.
[joking with Agnes]
Agnes Roth: It's your ambition that made the rez a prison.
Seymour Polatkin: ...I think about the straight life sometimes. Sometimes I wanna be the Indian guy who brought you home to the rez. Sometimes I wanna be the Indian who stayed behind. And sometimes, I wish there was cute little boy or girl who looked like me and you.
Seymour Polatkin: And inside was this great big dictionary. And I tried not to cry, I didn't want to but I did. And my mother, she leaned in close and she said, 'Seymour, you can get out of this place.' And that's all she ever gave me, my life and that dictionary and my sister's ring. So don't tell me what I can write and don't tell me what I can remember and don't tell me how to live. I'll be a hard ass whore if I wanna be.