I’ve watched people in my life be in one tribe or another, teachers, mothers, sisters, catholic, christian, Buddhist and I’ve always been reluctant to join any. My aunt has been vegan for over a year now and she whole-heartedly loves her new tribe. I am a vegetarian that likes to eat tuna fish sandwiches on occasion, so even that tribe stirs up some hesitancy. The thing is I don’t really mind being tribe-less. For now it suits and when it doesn’t I hope I get a warm welcome, like at a vegan potluck.  FSG has just come out with a beautiful book, The FSG book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry, and on the back cover is a quote from my favorite twentieth-century writer.  As a poet he says,

True poets don’t belong to any country. For them the only borders that ought to be respected are the borders of dreams, the trembling borders of love and lovelessness, the borders of courage and fear, the golden borders of morality.

Included in the book is, Alberto Blanco, a Mexican poet, translated by Ilan Stavans.  W.S. Merwin once said about Blanco,  “Everything streams into his words, so many tributaries feed into the flow of his poetry. His knowledge of chemistry, his work as a visual artist and jazz musician, his grounding in Chinese literature and Zen Buddhism–all of these combine to give his poems a tone and perspective unlike any other Mexican poet.”  Here is the beginning of,

My Tribe

The earth is the same
the heavens are different
The heavens are the same
the earth is different

From lake to lake,
From one forest to another:
Which is my tribe?
–I ask–
Which is my place?

Perhaps I belong to the tribe
of those with no tribe;
or to the tribe of black sheep;
or to a tribe whose ancestors
come from the future:
a tribe yet to come.

But if I am to belong to a tribe
–I tell myself–
let it be a large tribe,
let it be a strong tribe,
a tribe where nothing and no one
is left outside,
where everyone,
everything and always
have a holy place.

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2 Responses to tribal

  1. cute! i think i’m in a lot of tribes…not sure if thats good or not lol

  2. Jess says:

    Ah my little nomad, I sometimes wonder if there’s any geographic location that could claim you, let alone a tribe call you its member. If anyone has mastered the art of enjoying the world of others without applying for permanent citizenship, it is you, my dear. I say you’re too good for just one tribe!

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